Through a Jungian Lens

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Projections – Filling in the Empty Spaces and Darkness

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I finally got a photo of a Scarlet Macaw that I am satisfied with.  obviously, I was able to get quite close to this tame bird.  I have quite a number of photos of Scarlet Macaws from a distance in trees and in flight.  When I look at this fellow, I get a sense that he is more than aware of me, perhaps even an awareness of things that I think are well hidden from people in general.  When I look again, I see a mask for a man that is a bit of a Don Juan, someone who is sophisticated while playing the field, a playboy.  Yes, my imagination runs wild with all sorts of ideas.

But, I know that none of this is real.  This bird is simply a bird and none of the ideas running though my head have anything to do with the bird.  All of these thoughts are projections.  Knowing that, I can look at the thoughts, these projections and begin to learn a little more about who and what I am.

Here are a few words from Daryl Sharp on projections:

. . . projections repeat themselves whenever we try to explore an empty darkness and involuntarily fill it in with ourselves – just as we regularly fall in love with a pretty face without knowing who or what is behind it. (Sharp, Jung Uncorked:  Book Two, 2008, p. 49)

That pretty well sums up what this blog site is about, using photographs as a vessel to receive projections.  And as I mentioned in the last two posts, withdrawing projections is the key activity of alchemy in a psychological sense.  Psychologically, I can see value in doing this work.  However, saying that, this takes a lot of time and energy, time and energy that is limited.  So, how much time and energy do I put into this at the expense of the other aspects of my life, at the expense of my wife and children and grandchildren, at the expense of developing and maintaining friendships in community?  Trying to find an answer to this question is almost impossible.  All that I can say is “What if I don’t take the time to become more conscious of my self?”

I already know the answer to that question – “I self destruct!”  Whether it be loss of sanity or loss of will or loss of life, my wife, children, grandchildren and community would have even less of me.  Again, a few words from Jung on the subject:

Without consciousness things go less well. (Jung, CW 8, par 695)

Things are worse if I don’t do this work.  I am worse if I don’t do this work.  It is worse for those around me if I retreat from this journey in search of consciousness.  And, this journey in search of consciousness promises not to be an easy journey.  Yet, it is a journey that I dare to take, a journey into the unknown in hopes of making it known.


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