My dog can’t talk.
I can’t decide whether I am relieved or frustrated by her muteness. She looks at me with those big brown eyes as if to say, “Hey stupid, didn’t you understand me?”
Sometimes she sneaks up behind my chair from where I often write, gently places her muzzle on my arm, and just rests it there. She won’t move until I acknowledge her. If I say, “Not now,” she looks back up at me as if to say, “Oh yes, now.”
Come to think of it, perhaps she doesn’t need words. Maybe words would be less effective for her than my projections onto her, but probably not.
Projecting ourselves onto one another is as much a fact of life as my dog that cannot talk. We are stuck with our projections, casting them upon the people and world in front of us. That is the lunacy inherent in political marketing games that trick us into believing we know the candidate.
We don’t know our political candidates any more than we know the plasma (or whatever it is) on our television and computer screens.
The more we think we know them the more we are projecting our own stuff onto them. That is what is so painfully laughable about the Obama Haters, they are vomiting what is inside their own head and hearts onto an image they think is Obama. We don’t know Obama, or anyone else that is a celebrity or public figure. Public intimacy is a delusion deepened by a marketing scam.
The real experts at it, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, had the ability to give the public an impression we knew them personally. The more we believed they were who we believed them to be, the more influential they became. The more vehemently we project ourselves onto others the more passionately we imagine we know them – the same with animals that don’t talk (although I will acknowledge the substantial relationship and mutuality that develops with a pet).
So here is a tip.
When there are people we have exceptionally vibrant reactions to, good or bad, it should be a red flag reminder to sort through our emotions toward them so we can discover our own fingerprints. Whether it is a public figure at celebrity distance, or someone we know in the flesh via a public relationship (doctors, teachers, ministers, business owners), look for the presence of our own angels and demons in the mix of emotion and judgments we have toward them. We are likely painting them with our own colors and broad brushes.
Judy Kahrl says
Yes, when I feel that little tweak in my chest, I ask myself is it me or is it really them? Most often it’s me.
Andrew workum says
I am reminded of a quote from a Kabbalah teacher: “when you think you’ve got it, you don’t.”
Cam Miller says
Maybe the dog does though