Saturday, October 29, 2011

The peace protester and projection.

Projection is a natural thing that many, no all of us do from time to time. It has also been identified by Freud as a defence mechanism. A defence mechanism is a psychological process employed by a person to save them from anxiety and one could say to save their self image as a good person.

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For example a peace protester may have significant aggressive impulses inside him. He is disturbed by these impulse so they cause him anxiety and they do not fit with his own self image of what a good person is.

As a consequence his unconscious takes over and solves his anxiety. It gets him to project his aggressive impulses outside onto someone else or perhaps some organisation. This allows him to avoid his anxiety and maintain a good self image because in his conscious mind he has no aggressive impulses. Due to his non aggressive sense of self he becomes a pacifist and goes on peace protests, (Also because he is unconsciously frightened of his own aggression).


He sees the government as being very aggressive at least in part because he has projected his aggressive impulses out onto it.

Hence we have

“The lady doth protest too much, methinks”.
William Shakespeare (Hamlet)

And the icing on the cake comes when he can go on a peace protest and express his aggression towards the police (who he has also projected his aggressive impulses onto). This aggression does not cause him anxiety because in his mind he is being aggressive in the quest to achieve peace.

Peace protester



  1. So where does that leave altruism? Is there such a thing or are "good" people just projecting?

  2. I am being a little too harsh on peace protestors Linda. I like peace protestors. I think they do good things for the world.

    However the line of argument used here would conclude that there is no such thing as true alturism. No one ever does anything (for any length of time) without some personal psychological gain.

    I am not saying that I necessarily agree with such argument.


  3. haven't commented for a while so it's kind of "wholesale" comment :) (I mean this, and drugs , and some child raising stuff before)
    I am impressed how you can provoke me to re-think ideas so my Parent state is busy reshuffling its content :)

  4. Hello Zbig, I have also been a little absent from the blog here of late. Good to hear your Parent ego state is continuing to grow and reshape