(Confronting Goliath . . .)
An empowering perspective on the same projection would be to turn the force of the projection inward into a feeling of motivation to attain that which you want also, to be open to inspiration and advice from your friend on how they accomplished their goal, and to hold goodwill towards their hard-earned achievements. The locus here resides inside your psyche’s range of influence and is empowering you to take steps toward your goal, rather than expending energy resenting someone else’s. Projection, in this positive sense, is a mirror to your inner dynamics; a way of using your psyche’s innate ability to reflect itself in your environment to increase awareness and improve the quality of your life.
It is my belief that unhealthy projection is a major obstacle to basic human freedom. Unhealthy projection operates on the premise that the source of how you should feel, think and act lies outside of you. In other words, as long as you remain in an unconscious, automatic mode of unhealthy projection, you have surrendered your own psychological power and freedom to the designs or whims of external sources and events.
Perhaps the most influential of these external sources is what we call the “media.” An example from the past year of the profoundly castrating effect that unhealthy projection has on our basic human rights to creative expression and freedom of thought can be found in the intensity of the emotional charge centered around the release of the movie “Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace.” Please understand, I have long been an avid fan of the Star Wars epic, which emulates Joseph Campbell’s work on archetypes and the “Hero’s Journey.” But when I learned that people were camping out five weeks in advance waiting for tickets to the premiere, I was deeply upset. These people obviously experienced the archetypal charge that I do from these films, but they did not know how to use it productively. They were structuring their lives around an external source rather than using this external input to strengthen their own internal passion. I realized that the media encourages this shamelessly through advertising and propaganda, and that the result is a deeply effective subliminal form of manipulation. The media can be such a profound tool for inspiration and education (as the Star Wars epic itself has proven to be) that its lack of discretion saddens me greatly.
[Thankfully, there are media makers who refrain from such excess. I am grateful that my brother, Paul Todisco, an independent film director, uses the media’s influence positively in his feature film, “Freak Talks About Sex,” a touching, masterful story of a young man finding himself and clearing out his life so that he can follow his inner passion to become a writer. The main character portrays emotions, doubts and insecuri-ties we all experience and relate to.]
The media is a constant manipulative force in our lives these days. The increasing depersonalization of a contemporary life filled with automated telephone menus and a steady stream of invasive advertisements bombarding our consciousness from all directions continuously directs our awareness out-ward, claiming that fulfillment lies outside ourselves in commercial products.
This leaves very little room for the creative inner being, the archetypal core that is the truth of who we really are. I submit that we are fulfilled when we are the “archetypal hero,” and the rest of the time is spent trying to get there through whatever means are available, internal or external, whether we acknowledge it or not. The media provides potentially useful external outlets, such as Star Wars, that let us have archetypal experiences, and then irresponsibly injects propaganda that immediately diffuses the internal motivation and feeling of being alive that we get from these experiences. They then dissipate impotently and serve no benefit to our own individuality and creativity. This masterful form of oppression is more effective than attempting to squash the archetypal impulse altogether, because such severe oppression without outlet would never escape eventual outright rebellion.