Projections

Question In T-6.I.9:3, Jesus says that he was attacked and killed because of other people's projections onto him. But aren't attacks on us caused by our own projections, rather than someone else's?

The Passage in Question:

As the world judges these things, but not as God knows them, I was betrayed, abandoned, beaten, torn, and finally killed. It was clear that this was only because of the projection of others onto me, since I had not harmed anyone and had healed many (T-6.I.9:2-3).

Answer: I think the explanation for others' attacks on us is more complicated than simply ascribing it all to our own projections, and leaving the projections of others completely out of the picture. It is true that our projection of attack outward causes us to perceive a vengeful world ready to attack us. But it is equally true that our attacker must have some projection going on in his mind as well; otherwise, he wouldn't have any motivation to attack us. So I think that in a typical attack situation, both parties are projecting onto each other, and both play a role in making the situation happen.

And there are apparently cases where a truly healed, non-projecting, non-attacking person can be attacked. According to the above passage, this was the case in Jesus' situation, a situation that was definitely not typical. Why, then, was Jesus attacked? What exactly was projected onto him? One explanation for why others attacked Jesus is in T-6.V(B).1:

Many thought I was attacking them, even though it was apparent I was not….What you must recognize is that when you do not share a thought system, you are weakening it. Those who believe in it therefore perceive this as an attack on them (T-6.V(B).1:5,7-8).

The reason that others attacked Jesus is because Jesus didn't share their thought system (the ego thought system), and therefore was weakening it—a huge threat to the ego. Those who believed in the ego thought system therefore perceived Jesus as a threat. They projected their own attacking motives onto him, seeing him as an attacker. And so, they attacked him.

Here is another passage which sheds more light on Jesus' situation:

I have said that the crucifixion is the symbol of the ego. When it [the ego] was confronted with the real guiltlessness of God's Son it did attempt to kill him, and the reason it gave was that guiltlessness is blasphemous to God. To the ego, the ego is God, and guiltlessness must be interpreted as the final guilt that fully justifies murder (T-13.II.6:1-3).

When the ego was confronted with Jesus' expression of guiltlessness, it killed him because guiltlessness is blasphemy to the ego, whose whole thought system is upheld by guilt. "To the ego, the guiltless are guilty" (T-13.II.4:2). Guiltlessness is the ultimate guilt, to be punished by death.

So in Jesus' case, his very guiltlessness prompted others' attack—his guiltlessness was perceived by their egos as an attack, a violation of the ego's laws. Jesus, as our first passage says, harmed no one and healed many. He was a wholly innocent man. But the egos of those who opposed him projected their attacking motives onto him, so that his very lack of attack was interpreted as an attack, an attack which fully "justified" their attack on him: the crucifixion. And obtaining this "justification"—which made their unprovoked attack on an innocent man look like a justified counter-attack on one who had attacked them first—was the very purpose of their projection of attack onto him. "Projection and attack are inevitably related, because projection is always a means of justifying attack" (T-6.II.3:5).

But Jesus turned this entire system of attack-counterattack on its ear. Others' egos interpreted Jesus' non-attack as an attack; in response, Jesus interpreted their attack as a non-attack — as a call for love. They responded to his love with attack; he responded to their attack with love. And this is the interpretation of others' attacks that he is offering to us. Being free of projection as Jesus was doesn't guarantee that we will not be attacked by others who are projecting onto us. But we can make the same choice Jesus made: we can choose not to see others' attacks on us as attacks, but as calls for love. We can choose not to see ourselves as persecuted, even when by the world's standards we are being persecuted. By making that choice, we take our place with Jesus among the saviors of the world.

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