Soliton (saintbryan) wrote,
Soliton
saintbryan

Projections onto the screen of reality

For the past few weeks I've been focusing a lot of my attention on the psychological projections that I create throughout my daily life. If you're unfamiliar with the term, "projection" is a mostly unconscious process whereby your mind takes an internal situation- feelings, thoughts, desires and so on, and projects them "outward" onto the world. An example would be when you see something you dislike in another person, you are likely looking at what you dislike in yourself. The same goes for seeing traits or situations that you enjoy- you're likely seeing what you wish was a part of you. The other day I stumbled across an article by Brugh Joy on projection called "Projections onto the screen of reality." He introduced to me some new ways of thinking about projection. The new concepts mentioned in this paper seemed to connect a few conceptual dots for me. “Dots” being major trains of thought.

At the bookstore today, I picked up a book called “Black Swans,” which is about the predominance of low-probability, high-consequence events in our world. I wondered at how I had just happened to stumble across that book at a time when that very topic seemed to be extremely relevant to my thinking.  I've been thinking a lot about the idea that the most persistent principles in the universe are accident and error. Was my stumbling upon this book itself a low-probability, high-consequence event (an accident)? The thought occurred to me, “ or is this a synchronisity?” A synchronisity is the occurrence of two or more events which appear to be unrelated causally, but have a strong correlation in meaning. Did this event mean something? Or was it in reality a meaningless accident?

Consider this idea: meaning, as we usually think of it, is a mental construct. It's a construct in just the same way that stories or narratives are mental constructs. The narrative, meaningful, story-like aspect of your life (and of the advent of life on earth) is a mental construct. But what is the nature of this mental construct?

It occurred to me that I could have picked that same book up anytime, when it wasn't as relevant to me, and I wouldn't have noticed any significance. Or I could have picked up any book at this moment and likely found something in it that seemed relevant to what my mind was already focused on because my mind is at the moment filtering things through the frontal lobe's relevancy filter. Things that are familiar and relevant to my thoughts seem to pop out, and I am attracted towards things that might have familiarity to my brain's neural canals.

Brugh Joy's paper connected my "dots" thusly: “This phenomenon (projection) is actually an example of the operation of the principle of correspondence. When a pattern of forces is active in the Unconscious of an individual, and outer reality contains an event, person or action that even remotely resembles that pattern, the individual will “project” the unconscious pattern onto the outer reality.” It seems to be saying, to me, that (all of, or at least some of) our experience of narrative and purpose and meaning in life, and the confirmation biases we have are the results of projection.  The perception of synchronisity is the same operation of the principle of correspondence and selective perception, which is a significant operation of the forebrain.

I've always found that evidence of meaninglessness or the deconstruction of my ideas of narrative to be threatening. It makes me afraid that my life has no real purpose, and that there is in fact nothing resembling a higher intelligence guiding my life. It makes me afraid that there is in fact no protective guidance deep within me or without me, that I am not special, that I do not live in the apex of existence. It gives me the feeling of being bits of random dust floating through space, nothing more. Or as Bad Religion says it,

"
Your achievements are unsurpassed, you are highly-ordered mass,
But you can bet your ass your free energy will dissipate.
Two billion years thus far, now mister here you are,
An element in a sea of enthalpic organic compounds.
The world won't stop without you."

Or as the Buddhists say it, nothing is permanent.

Or as the Thelemites say it, the stability of the universe is change. Every change is the effect of an act of love. All acts of love contain pure joy. Die daily.

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