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Sunday, October 07, 2012


in the olden days men would see the face of God, why dont they any more?

             There is a powerful scene in Arthur Miller’s play After the Fall that captures what this experience of withdrawing our projections is like.  The scene takes place in Germany, in the shadow of one of the towers of a Nazi concentration camp.  Quentin, a man who is trying to come to terms with his many failures in life, is walking with a young woman he loves named Helga.  As Quentin looks up at one of the towers, Helga reads the emotion on his face and says, “Quentin, dear – no one they didn’t kill can ever be innocent again.”  He responds, “But how did you solve it?  How do you get so purposeful?  You’re so full of hope!”  Then Helga explains. 

            “Quentin, I think it’s a mistake to ever look for hope outside one’s self.  One day the house smells of fresh bread, the next of smoke and blood.  One day you faint because the gardener cut his finger off, within a week you're climbing over the corpses of children bombed in a subway.  What hope can there be if that is so?  I tried to die near the end of the war.  The same dream returned each night until I dared not go to sleep and grew quite ill.  I dreamed I had a child, and even in the dream I saw it was my life, and it was an idiot, and I ran away.  But it always crept onto my lap again, clutched at my clothes.  Until I thought, if I could kiss it, whatever in it was my own, perhaps I could sleep.  And I bent to its broken face, and it was horrible … but I kissed it.  I think one must finally take one’s life in one's arms, Quentin.”

             That is what is involved in living with a projection and in withdrawing a projection.  Being tormented by something that is really ours, but is horrible to look at.  Bending over to embrace its broken face.  Finally taking one’s life in one’s arms.  Which brings us back to the story told by Jung with which we started.   “In the olden days there were men who saw the face of God.  Why don’t they any more?”  “Because nowadays no one can stoop low enough.” 
" quote from

the last two paragraphs from paper... All of life is a projection. The key to much of the hatred, prejudice, violence and abuse that goes on in this world lies in the phenomenon of projection – casting our own unconscious contents into the world around us. Likewise, the key to much of the potential, promise, creativity, and courage that is left unrealized in life may result from the same dynamic – it is projected upon others and never lived out. As strange and as paradoxical at it may sound, I think there is a correlation between seeing the face of God and taking our lives into our own arms, including our projections. To do so offers both personal and collective rewards. And it will be easier to take our lives into our own arms if we are willing to bend, to stoop low enough
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