Psychological projection is a limited concept

Psychological projection is a well-known defense mechanism used by humans to:

defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities… by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others.

The concept has some value as an analytical guideline but can also be highly misleading by pointing analyses in wrong directions.

One wrong direction is confirmation bias where an assessment of projection can lead to cherry picking and/or ignoring counter-evidence.

Another wrong direction can arise due to the false consensus effect, which “tends to lead to the perception of a consensus that does not exist.

From a FIML point of view, psychological projection is a macro and meso level analysis which fundamentally ignores the importance of micro information. (See Micro, meso, and macro levels of human understanding.)

From a FIML point of view, a great deal of human psychology can only be understood by analyzing micro-level interactions in real-time.

This is so because only a FIML-type of analysis can access the actual micro-data that go into the formations of actual interpretations. In contrast, meso and macro level analyses arrive “fully loaded” with the biases endemic to those levels of communication and understanding.

Like the psychological concept personality, the concept of psychological projection has general descriptive value in some situations.

These concepts become counterproductive and limiting, however, when they are accepted off-the-shelf as important insights into specific situations or the behaviors of particular people.

I am very confident that micro data generally will not support most ready-made meso and macro analyses of human psychology or behavior.

A modern contemplation of death

Unless the person is depressed, contemplation of death is considered a good—even essential—practice for Buddhists.

“Analysis of death is not for the sake of becoming fearful but to appreciate this precious lifetime.” —Dalai Lama

I had an experience with this contemplation recently.

A bad sign made me decide to see a doctor. She said, “Full disclosure, this could be serious.”

I was calm because I already knew that. The clinic took blood and did some other tests.

I went home and thought about what might happen. My ensuing contemplation of death had not been planned but it did “concentrate the mind wonderfully.”

In doing so, it relieved me of all of my usual worries and fears. For days I was able to float above my life and look upon (almost) every moment as unique and valuable.

I loved this state. Everything I don’t like about myself went away.

Then my symptoms disappeared and I realized I was not going to die soon, at least not from what I had thought.

And almost immediately my concentration changed and the stuff I don’t like about myself (almost all) came back.

The worst thing you can do

The worst thing you can do is trick someone into using their conscience to cause harm.

This not only causes said harm but also undermines the person’s moral sense, their trust in their own moral feelings. To say nothing of their trust in others.

This sort of mental jujitsu attacks the victim in the most important part of their mind, the part that guides them forward in a good direction.

Our ability to tell the difference between wholesome and unwholesome mental states is one power we never want to lose and never want to harm or undermine in others.

Examine closely all appeals to your conscience. Each one must be analyzed for hypocrisy, mendacity, who really benefits, and what the long-term consequences would be.

The science of psychedelics and religion

Very pleased to read about a study on psychedelics and religion: Religious leaders get high on magic mushrooms ingredient – for science.

I am not at all surprised that of the lucky people chosen for this study, “So far everyone incredibly values their experience. No one has been confused or upset or regrets doing it.”

I call them lucky because where else can you medical-grade psilocybin?

If anyone hears of another study like this one, please let me know! I want to join.

More on Buddhism and psychedelics can be found here: Are We Misunderstanding the Fifth Precept?

Edit: 3:30 PM: Research Shows Magic Mushrooms Can Offer Real Benefits in Depression Therapy. Quote:

A review of the research on combining therapy with the psychoactive component from magic mushrooms has concluded it’s not only a safe and effective way to treat conditions related to anxiety, depression, and addiction, it could be better than many existing forms of treatment.

Society is a cornucopticon

Cornucopticon is a blend of the words “cornucopia” and “panopticon.”

Society is a “cornucopticon” in that it provides a cornucopia of ideas and opportunities while at the same time being a panopticon that watches us day and night, thus also restricting our range of activities.

My partner came up with this blend word while we were on this subject last night.

Incidentally, bittersweet is a word that does not sound nearly as strong as it should. Since almost all experiences are to some extent bittersweet, one would think we would have more words describing this dual nature.

Disgust and sex

Disgust is a primary emotion.

The others are anger, fear, happiness, sadness, surprise. There is some controversy about how to group these basic emotions, but generally, expressions associated with primary emotions are recognizable across all cultures and are experienced by all functional human beings.

A new study has found that stress, which is probably interpretable as disgust in this case, was experienced by all of the (heterosexual) men being studied when viewing male-on-male kissing.

From the study’s abstract:

The results of the current study suggest that all individuals, not just highly sexually prejudiced individuals, may experience a physiological response indicative of stress when witnessing a male same-sex couple kissing.

The study is here: What do two men kissing and a bucket of maggots have in common? Heterosexual men’s indistinguishable salivary a-amylase responses to photos of two men kissing and disgusting images.

Co-author of the study, Karen L. Blair, says:

It is difficult to specifically state what this means. It could mean that participants found the images of male same-sex couples kissing to be equally disgusting as the disgusting images. It could mean that they had an anxiety response to the male couples kissing and a disgust response to the disgusting images, but that physiologically, we could not tell the difference between these two emotions. (Straight men’s physiological stress response to seeing two men kissing is the same as seeing maggots)

Make of this data what you like.

Just two months ago another study found that disgust plays a significant role in how people respond to people from other cultures or who look different.

An article about that can be found here: Multiculturalism fails due to “behavioral immune system”.

In my view, it is hard to argue with primary emotions. Our neocortexes may want us to be perfectly tolerant and judiciously blind to all human differences, but maybe that’s not actually possible?

Edit 07/22/17: “Yuck, you disgust me!” Affective bias against interracial couples

CNN guilty of extortion?

What happens when the press is judge, jury, and executioner?

CNN extorts amateur satirist who made video tweeted by Trump: if you make fun of us again we will harm you archive.is/o7izm#selectio… (Link to original)

Edit 9:30 AM: The Tweet below was deleted as the meme storm rose. Far as I know it is authentic.

This is what disturbs me most about the left—they always want to control your mind, your communications, your thoughts. And they always think they are fit to make those judgements.

Edit 4:15 PM: The latest from Project Veritas: CNN Producer Doubles Down on “Stupid as Sh*t” Comments About Voters