Thursday, January 17, 2013

Reflections on Projections - Part 2

Another Way of Looking at "Sexual Magnetism"

So what happens when a man projects his positive anima on a woman and a woman projects her positive anima onto the man?

Sanford explains:

"If both a man and a woman project their positive images onto each other at the same time, we have that seemingly perfect state of relationship known as being in love, a state of mutual fascination. The two then declare that they are 'in love with each other' and are firmly convinced that they have now found the ultimate relationship..." (P. 17)


"...the human reality of the individual who carries a projection for us is obscured by the projected image.  This is especially the case with the anima and animus since these archetypes are so numinous.  This means that they are charged with psychic energy, so that they tend to grip us emotionally.  Consequently these projected images have a magnetic effect on us, and the person who carries a projection will tend to greatly attract or repel us, just as a magnet attracts or repels another metal...." (p. 13)

Also, as M. Scott Peck suggests in The Road Less Traveled, "falling in love" represents the spontaneous and effortless collapse of ego boundaries. It is only when the ego boundaries are consciously extended to include the other person that the effort and actual satisfaction of love is realized.

As I have considered in other blogs, whatever may be happening "psychically" or "emotionally" when we "fall in love", I would assert that there is going to be a biochemical component to it.  And most people's bodies Love the Love Drugs in part because (as I have posited in "The Biology of 'Omnipotence'") they harken back to a much earlier time in life when one felt secure and in control of the sources of their nurturance (i.e. the "two who are one bond" with the "Mother").

Furthermore, without some other experience to compare to, and with so much media propaganda promoting the effects of "romantic love", most people identify as "love" the fascinated, sexually magnetized, feeling associated with mutual projection, and mutual collapse of ego boundaries, etc.  However, if the projection is not mutual, then the feeling, and therefore the experience on a biochemical level, will not be the same. 

Having first read Invisible Partners almost 20 years ago, I have been aware of this "false impression" of love ever since, and, for the most part, I have been determined to See Men, and even other people more generally for Who They Are. I have had almost 20 years to practice recognizing projections when they have occurred and coming into conscious relationship with those elements of myself, rather than continuing to see them in others or as others. To be honest, I cannot remember the last time I felt "fascinated" by anyone.  Interested, most definitely, but not "fascinated".  I have also mediated my tendencies to "judge" people.  My post here "The Difference Between Judgment and Discernment" speaks to my orientation towards seeing people for who they are and more generally seeing Reality for What It Is.

Furthermore, as I told a male friend of mine recently, I have intentionally not been "putting it out there" for men to become "fascinated"  with me or "sexually magnetized" towards me.  In other words, I have not been seeking or encouraging those kinds of "projections" through the way I act or dress. I have not been seeking those "projections" because I know they are Not True and because I know that no man is going to love "Me" unless he first Sees "Me".  Since reading Invisible Partners I have not wanted my intimate relationships to be based on the lies that projections are.  Consequently, I have not been in a truly "in love" state with anyone for the last 20 years. I may not have abstained completely from emotional/sexual intimacy, but I have intentionally abstained from the relative "high" of "being in love" based on mutual projection. 

However, that does not mean I haven't been Loving People, even deeply, I just have not felt "in love with" them, and I am perfectly okay with that. I do not need to experience the  "high" of "oneness" in order to justify a motive to actively care about another human being and to consciously choose to meet their "love needs" as I come to understand them.

What I want to reinforce here is that there is no possibility of actually loving someone Until we see them for who they are. And seeing people for who they are means, in part, seeing them as Ordinary Human Beings, as I discussed in Part 1 of this series.  What seems to be the "problem", if we are to define it as such, is that, compared to all of the distorted imagery around us everywhere, both positive and negative, being an ordinary human being loving another ordinary human being isn't really all that exciting.

However, I am convinced, given the opportunity, it could lead to other types of emotional experiences that we are not as familiar with, for instance, the feeling of deep security that comes from "true" intimacy.  The peaceful comfort of knowing that you are being seen by your partner and that you are both accepted for who you are as well as encouraged and supported to continue to grow, to reach your fullest potential as an individual. To have the pleasure of consciously choosing to meet your partners most important "love needs" and to experience them also consciously choosing to meet yours.

Again, as Paul Chappell points out in Peaceful Revolution: Lies have a lifespan.  Part of the reason "romantic love" fades is it is based on the lies that projections and spontaneous collapse of ego boundaries represent. But, as Erich Fromm points out in The Art of Loving, true love is based on a conscious choice to act in a caring, responsible, and respectful way, with full and accurate knowledge of the other person (pp. 26-29).

As if to taunt me after my last blog post, I started hearing Sade' singing "This Is No Ordinary Love..." in my head as I rode my bicycle away from my local internet hot spot.  On the one hand, it is a perfect example of how what might otherwise be an "ordinary love" has been creatively expressed/projected and exaggerated through the social media of music.  On the other hand, if what most people consider to be "ordinary" love is the kind involving projections, then maybe the song has a deeper truth to it, as it might be applied in my own life right now; i.e. I do not want the ordinary/common/projection-based love that it seems so many other people are seeking, and, therefore, I am looking for something that is "not ordinary"; i.e. love that is based in the Reality of Ordinary Human Relating.

Although I am not certain where my reading and writing will continue to take me down this particular path of consideration, I do know I have at least one more major insight to share (so far) in this series.  So, again, if you have been following along thus far, I encourage you to "Stay Tuned".


  1. Interesting stuff.
    1. These anima/animus projections may have a deep mystical quality I may not want to totally abandon.
    2. Do the anima & animus have to take care of each other, even within the same person? And if the projection is from a very healthy anima, that has been "taken care of" by the internal animus, what happens then?
    3. But the love you are speaking of seems to be the kind of love Ben Ralson speaks of when he says we have to "experience ourselves as love."
    4. This new kind of love you speak of may become a biological necessity in an overpopulated world, since the "old" kind of romantic love may have been nature's way of "fooling" people into a sexual union that advanced the species before Reality set in! :)
    5. I've sometimes thought that lots of these romantic songs -- like Sade's -- were really, at a deep subconscious level, perhaps, songs sung to the Divine, coming from a deep longing to be (re)united with the Divine; and yet the "vibe" of such popular romantic songs is quite different from the devotional kirtan.

  2. Hi, Chris. Thanks for sharing your comments. My next blog goes into more detail of how the anima presents itself within an man and how the animus presents itself within a woman, and, to some degree how they interact with each other in relationships between men and women. However, to address point 2: It is for a man to take care of is "inner woman", his "anima" and be in relationship with her, just as it is a woman's responsibility to take care of and be in relationship with her "inner man" or "animus". It is also about being Fully Conscious of these more "invisible" aspects of ourselves, that tend to be repressed, even by the fact that our bodies are differentiated as "male" and "female" respectively. I think you've struck something relevant with "Point 4" because, yes, there is a lot to be said for much of the "falling in love" experience to be a biological program whose sole goal is reproduction. So, yes, I think it is high time we find out new ways to love one another. I will be addressing "Point 5" to some extent in a future blog. Not sure how everyone is going to react to what I have to say, but still think it needs to be said. Thanks again for your comments!