Friday, April 22, 2011

Projecting ourselves onto others

Miller-McCune’s story about conspiracy theorists got me thinking about projection. That’s the psychological mechanism wherein we each think the other guy is us. We believe that he/she has the same motives, same ideas, same approaches that we do. In other words, we project ourselves onto other people.

As a human being, I engage in projection just like we all do. It’s something I try to guard against because it doesn’t provide me with an accurate view of reality, and I believe that being in touch with the real world is necessary for me to practice goodness.

As a lesbian, I’m also the subject of tons of projection, specifically projection involving the fear that I’m part of a vast conspiracy to destroy other people, which brings me back to the magazine story. The Miller-McCune story cites studies hinting that conspiracy theorists may believe that everyone is out to get them because they themselves are out to get others, or more accurately: They believe in conspiracies because they’d be perfectly happy to engage in a conspiracy themselves. This has frightening implications for LGBT people and for the practice of goodness.

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