Why do people so often see in others what they desperately need to see in themselves?

June 26, 2006 | By | 1 Reply More

Earlier today, President Bush said it was “disgraceful” that the news media (i.e., the New York Times, LA Times & Wall Street Journal) disclosed his secret CIA program to illegally wiretap millions of financial records at the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (“SWIFT”) to search for terrorist suspects.  Likewise, last week, Bush said it was “disgraceful” for Democrats to call for troop withdrawals in Iraq even though Bush was, simultaneously, conducting secret discussions with the Pentagon to do exactly that.  Likewise, several months ago, Bush said it was “disgraceful” that the news media disclosed his secret NSA program to illegally wiretap tens of thousands of American phone conversations.  Likewise, two years ago, Bush said it was “disgraceful” for Cindy Sheehan and others to protest Bush’s invasion of Iraq even though Bush knew (or should have known) his invasion was completely based on fraud.

Do you see a pattern here?  Whenever Bush labels other peoples’ behavior as “disgraceful,” the facts indicate that other peoples’ behavior is entirely appropriate, and that Bush’s own behavior is disgraceful.  Bush is apparently unable to perceive his own faults on a conscious level, but he can’t stop his subconscious mind from perceiving them and resenting them; thus, he projects his faults onto other people so that he can freely criticize his faults without it reflecting badly on himself.


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Category: Politics, Psychology Cognition

About the Author ()

Grumpypilgrim is a writer and management consultant living in Madison, WI. He has several scientific degrees, including a recent master’s degree from MIT. He has also held several professional career positions, none of which has been in a field in which he ever took a university course. Grumps is an avid cyclist and, for many years now, has traveled more annual miles by bicycle than by car…and he wishes more people (for the health of both themselves and our planet) would do the same. Grumps is an enthusiastic advocate of life-long learning, healthy living and political awareness. He is single, and provides a loving home for abused and abandoned bicycles. Grumpy’s email: grumpypilgrim(AT)@gmail(DOT).com [Erich’s note: Grumpy asked that his email be encrypted this way to deter spam. If you want to write to him, drop out the parentheticals in the above address].

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    Classic Freudian "projection." See Wikipedia's entry here:

    [A] defence mechanism in which one attributes ("projects") to others, one’s own unacceptable or unwanted thoughts or/and emotions. Projection reduces anxiety by allowing the expression of the unwanted subconscious impulses/desires without letting the ego recognize them.

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