the replica of one’s own unknown face

Carl Jung (1875-1961)

Just as we tend to assume that the world is as we see it, we naïvely suppose that people are as we imagine them to be. In this latter case, unfortunately, there is no scientific test that would prove the discrepancy between perception and reality … In this way everyone creates for himself [or herself] a series of more or less imaginary relationships based essentially on projection … Unless we are possessed of an unusual degree of self-awareness, we shall never see through our projections but must always succumb to them, because the mind in its natural state presupposes the existence of such projections … Thus every normal person of our time, who is not reflective beyond the average, is bound to his [or her] environment by a whole system of projections.


The effect of projection is to isolate the subject from his [or her] environment, since instead of a real relation to it there is now only an illusory one. Projections change the world into the replica of one’s own unknown face. In the last analysis, therefore, they lead to an autoerotic or autistic condition in which one dreams a world whose reality remains forever unattainable.


© Sebastião Salgado (Rwandan refugee camp, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 1994)

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