projection

We are incredibly skilled at the (always) subconscious act of looking at or evaluating a thing in a very ‘us’-ish way.  Thus, it is all too often the case that:

  • the [re]view says more about the [re]viewer than of that which is [re]viewed
  • the name says more about the namer than of that which is named
  • the belief says more about the believer than of that which is believed
  • the doubt says more about the doubter than of that which is doubted
  • the defence says more about the defender than of that which is being defended
  • the dismissal says more about the one dismissing than of that which is being dismissed
  • the theory says more about the theorist than of that which is theorised
  • the interpretation says more about the interpreter than of that which is interpreted
  • the translation says more about the translator than of that which is translated
  • the governing says more about the governor than of that which is being governed
  • the instruction says more about the instructor than of that which is instructed
  • the legislation says more about the legislative body (or process) than of that which is legislated
  • the writing (or blog post!!??) says more about the writer than of that which is written
  • the comment says more about the commenter than of that which is commented on
  • and so on…
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14 Responses to projection

  1. Nice list, and I suppose the next question is what leads to that? If I’d tried to answer that a year ago I would have said it was because people are close-minded or ignorant because I’d have thought that perspective was “wrong”. Now I think I’d argue that we can’t help but see things from an “us-ish” perspective because I very much doubt there is any other perspective we could possibly have. I am starting to think that what makes life interesting is that we even have similar perceptions at all rather than why we are “wrong” all the time which seems to dominate discourse.

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  2. ((Ryan/Tildeb – see here an example of how to comment. Relvance, length, tone.))

    Ian,
    I basically agree. I don’t think ‘us’-ish (subjective) valuations/assessments are worthless. They are a great place to start. We go beyond them if/when we can of course (intersubjectivity), but good to note that we really can’t get to full ‘god-like’ (omniscient) objectivity :)

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  3. I do wonder if there is anything whatsoever beyond subjectivity. I think an argument could be made that the only reason our perspectives coincide at all is a combination of genetic pre-programming and socialisation. Meaningful objectivity is more than just agreement – and I kind of doubt it exists now.

    When I started in the theist/atheist debate I was a fairly hardcore on the god doesn’t exist because there is no evidence as opposed to (for example) gravity for which there is plenty of evidence. Now I think I am leaning far more towards the idea that not even gravity seems to exist so arguing about the existence of something far more conceptually detached like a god seems a bit pointless :)

    I just enjoy conversations that follow curiosity and lead somewhere rather than trying to be right or wrong. A good departure point for a debate between anyone should probably be “let’s both assume we have no idea what we’re talking about and proceed from there” lol

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  4. Ha, Ian, Yeah I’d say that (sticking just to what theologians call ‘natural theology’ – which is distinct from knowing God through the revelation of Scripture, etc.)…

    a) just as we rightly/reasonably speak (despite our ignorance) of Gravity (though itself not a physical ‘thing’) and other laws,
    b) so also we rightly/reasonably speak (despite our ignorance) of an ultimate God/Cause/etc. (though not itself physical or a part of the world – but rather the maker/sustainer of it at every point and moment)

    That gets one at least to Deism ;)

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  5. Haha. Honest critique: officially the most pointless post I’ve read on this blog lol. Captain Obvious Up To Eleven

    I don’t think there’s much point trying to put yourself up on a pedestal above your interlocutors, Dale ;) You know BOTH** that you yourself are heavily emotionally involved in your beliefs, that what you say at H&Ts or online says a lot about you as a person as opposed to what it is you’re saying AND** also that I am not a bitter and twisted old man who’s passionately angry at your triune god about something. I have simply come to understand all these supernatural concepts you are passionate about as being childish, dated and meaningless to me. To me – like Ian correctly says, IMHO. It’s highly subjective.

    So why do I comment on this blog?

    I am naturally going to engage and enjoy engaging with others who think differently to me like yourself, as I count them extremely valuable experiences in my life to be convinced of another worldview that opposes mine (like I was a few years ago) or to myself convince another that their worldview could do with a change (like I have done with some friends, BOTH** converting to Christianity AND** deconverting to a position of agnosticism, etc.). I don’t know many people who like to sit around with others who think just like them, tugging each other off all day..

    Why do I comment the way I do? Maybe that’s what you’re flustered about..

    You know me, Daallllee… :D :D :D (kind of) I enjoy a good light hearted banter just as much as a serious discussion. A little bit of taunting and poking fun mixed in with the genuine inquiry depending on my mood, the weather, how stressful/blissful life currently is… I mean look as this comment!

    ^^^^ Does this look like the kind of comment someone would write if they were trying to come across as being intellectually superior on any given topic??

    I just enjoy a good laugh, mate! In fact, more than ever I like my comments to say heaps about me as well as the topic of discussion! Why? Cos they’re my comments! Much like a band can have their own sound, I like to have my own vibe – “that right there is a Ryan comment”.

    If I was a lot funnier and had the time…. I think I’d write for Cracked.com hahaha.

    **just for you ;)

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  6. “That gets one at least to Deism ;)”

    Orrrrrrr naturalism

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  7. I’m not sure I follow :) I am hinting that we really have very little “right” to speak of (a) so even contemplating (b) seems like overstepping a bit as does deism or even atheism. Sadly most people who have been in this debate for a long time will read that as agnosticism but if so that is rather missing the point.

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  8. Ryan, I’ve never accused you (or anyone) of trying to appear intellectually superior. And I hardly mean to suggest that comments or songs should NOT say anything about the commenter or band. The post was noting times that the way-of-doing says more about the one-doing than the thing-being-done. Reviews of movies/songs are classicly more about the reviewer than the movie reviewed, etc.

    Ian,
    You don’t think that the steady behaviour of physical phenomena gives us a ‘right’ to speak about a law of gravity? Are you making a semantic point, or are you (unless I’m mistaken to a high degree of gravity – LOLPUN) purposefully putting yourself outside the physicists pale? :) My point is (even though both ‘gravity’ and ‘God’ are not themselves physical things – as if anyone has ever thought they were!?), we know precisely what realities we intend to speak of when we refer to both.

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  9. Yes but Dale, I’ve only heard you say that (“the way-of-doing says more about the one-doing than the thing-being-done”) when you’re talking with someone who thinks differently to you who is perhaps becoming marginally frustrated or passionate about their view. Your subtext reads:

    “Because I, Dale, can keep my cool (this time at least, cos I’ve seen you a little frazzled at H&T you little fireball you) therefore my worldview is actually moar better”

    You might deny that particular subtext exists at all, that it’s not your intention – which is fine. But I have a pretty good history with discerning subtext (call it a spiritual gift if you want ;D) and other people I know who’ve heard you say that sense the same subtext lol.

    Anyway – I have to disagree with that. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about people and their opinions, particularly with religious or political discussions – it’s that you have to see through the personality and take in the content as hard as that may be sometimes. I personally have learnt many things from frustrated and passionate men and women, young and old. I’ve also found most of the time when I’m talking with someone who’s getting frustrated, it actually says a lot about me as an interlocutor (you love that word) The fact that the other person feels like they’re banging their head against a brick wall means you’re the brick wall.

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  10. a few things:

    -I’d hardly pretend that I’m 100% free of sub-texts. Which relates to the point about emotions, too

    -I’m hardly interested in making dialogue free of frustration and passion. They’re great! I just think saying on topic and avoiding long (repetitive) rants will help convos be much more fruitful

    -I’m also OK with people saying ‘A’ and thinking ‘a’ (that they are right). Most of us don’t say something unless we think we’re right about not only it, but other things as well :)

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  11. I would ‘like’ that comment if I could.. sigh… let the readers vote man…

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  12. I’ll just quote your comment to maintain continuity among the other discussions:

    You don’t think that the steady behaviour of physical phenomena gives us a ‘right’ to speak about a law of gravity? Are you making a semantic point, or are you (unless I’m mistaken to a high degree of gravity – LOLPUN) purposefully putting yourself outside the physicists pale? :) My point is (even though both ‘gravity’ and ‘God’ are not themselves physical things – as if anyone has ever thought they were!?), we know precisely what realities we intend to speak of when we refer to both.

    Our available information about something like gravity far exceeds that of something like god yet discussions around god are often done with far more assertiveness than those about gravity. IMO that is backwards since we probably talk about gravity with too much certainty as it is. Of course we can talk about whatever we like – I have no issues with complex discussions of the Lovecraftian mythos even though that is manifestly unrelated to anything real but I wouldn’t discuss what it would be like to encounter a Shoggoth with the same degree of certainty as I would have a discussion about gravity.

    I am mostly trying to avoid a theistic discussion here but I think it is worth noting I legitimately have no idea what realities you intend to speak of when you refer to “god” whereas I can relate quite strongly to the idea of “gravity”. I don’t expect an explanation but in terms of certainty that suggests to me we probably can’t discuss them in the same terms.

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  13. This is the basis for modern psychology. Most of us over the age of 10 will look at this post and say “duh”.

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  14. agreed Rob. and well said Ian.

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