The concept of “projection”
All that we are, as self or identity, and all that we may experience, is “projected” or placed in space through the Central Nervous System (CNS), by our whole being. The CNS is a part of our whole, as is our reality that is projected through the CNS. “Actuality” here refers to the existence in fact and in space of our reality.
Consider vision as an example of projection by our whole being. Light bouncing off real things in the real world focuses upside down inside at the back of the eyes, stimulates the receptors (cones and rods) there at the retina that converts the focused images into nerve impulses. These travel through the optic nerves and reach the brain where vision is created and placed in space for us to have the experience of vision in a 3-dimensional space.
In similar ways, information from other sense organs of the body, is put together in the CNS to form the parts of our reality to do with the outside world. Our reality includes an accurate indication of the world, with a “functional” and effective sense of our being in the world, which allows us, as an identity or self, to seemingly do things and be there.
What about the “self” ? – the subjective aspects of our reality
Science has established “what we experience” as being made by the brain. Modern philosophy has embraced this; it is a part of our general understanding and world view, that the brain is the site for what we experience. In fact, there’s a famous diagram of Descartes’ (father of modern philosophy – “I think, there for I am”), from as far back as the mid-1600’s, of how vision is generated, as I outlined above.
But what about the self? With our sense of independence, will and separation from what we experience, including others, how can we be a product of the brain, secondary to an organ? What about our consciousness, life and deeper being? Where do they fit or come from?
These are important questions in understanding “projection”, and our part.
I pre-empt my point, that there is no brain without a whole being, whole self or the whole body. We are a part of our whole, “projected” through and not by the CNS.
The self is a problem.
The self is difficult to determine. While sentences that refer to themselves or “self reference” creates in some cases difficulties, described in philosophy as a paradox, the question “What is the self?” takes us directly to the problem of trying to refer to the actual self, that I call the “self referencing conundrum” (https://realityhc. wordpress.com/=self+referencing+ conundrum& =Search). The difficulty comes of “us”, as self or identity, being a part of the make-up or apparatus for having an experience. So that, trying to approach our self in the usual manner of determining things is impossible, like a camera trying to take a picture of its own film or digital sensor, even while we are our self !
To help proceed in examining our reality, we can make a distinction between the subjective and objective aspects of our conscious reality. Objective are those parts “easy” to explain and understand as produced by the brain (Chalmers 1986, Australian philosopher). Vision that I have mentioned and other experiences according to the senses belong to this group. Also included are the linear mechanical or computer-like functioning of the mind, such as filing, retrieving and analysing.
The subjective aspects on the other hand, include the self, consciousness, the experience itself (rather than what is experienced), deeper being, and the witness. In contrast to the “easy” and objective, Chalmers refers to the subjective aspects of our reality as the “hard aspects of conscious experience”, because it is hard to explain their existence and nature, as produced by the brain or some other thing. He suggests we consider those “hard” and subjective parts as fundamental or irreducible, so as to approach the subjective aspect differently than our linear reductive way that we usually try to grasp and understand things with our mind.i
The self as a part.
We cannot determine our self. This is because we are the self, and while we need a different setting to study or say something about our self (not how we feel or what we think but our actual self), rather than as fundamental, we can understand our conscious self as a part of our whole being. Both our self and what we experience, the subjective and the objective aspects of our reality, can then be considered as projection. Not as a product of the CNS, but of our whole. Projected through, and not by, the CNS.
In our “actuality”, our existence in fact, we occupy space as projection. And as such we may refer to our whole, and be in relation with him or her. It is a relation that, again, is not direct because our whole is beyond our reality.
Our part displaces its whole.
While to be our actual self is unfamiliar, as is to refer to our transcendent whole, as a part from within our whole, it is not impossible as referring to our self, in the direct determining way that we usually relate to the things we experience. Our reality of conscious experience and self displaces our whole, so that there is the rest of our whole that surrounds our reality. Our whole is transcendent of our self and experience, yet as a part of our whole, he or she permeates or is immanent in us.
Reality, an entirety, and All-Creation.
Furthermore, our whole is a part of Reality, an Entirety that is more than the sum of all wholes and parts, the one and only whole. I consider it All-Creation-God. In our whole being a part means we, as self or identity, are a part of Reality. However, our tendency to be identified with our self and with what we experience, isolates us in this part of our reality that also consists of a conscious that is conscious of, and a witness by which we are aware of, our self and our experience.
We must be our actual self, in the spirit of “Every thing of you and your experience, is a part of your whole” and open to the immanence of our whole and Reality, in our self.
The transcendence and immanence of the creator is a mystic and theological consideration about the nature of, and our relation with, the divine. But we, as self or identity, must “wear” this mystery; Reality and our whole is inherent in us, as one of their parts.
It is not an egotistical, or self emulating, because in our actuality is also a relation with a whole being and reality that are, as wholes, more than the sum of their parts – and we are considering our part in them.
i There is a new impetus to examine subjectivity, with the advent of AI (artificial intelligence) and its encroachment on so much of human activity with drones, un-manned vehicles, and language generation. What is it, to be human? Who or what is the true self? Is there free will? Is it a predetermined destiny where we have no choice but to enact our human programmes? In thus just reacting to our environment, what difference is there from AI?