Narcissus with Goldmund – Projections of desire

„Projection is the pursuit of one´s own wishes in others.“ – Sigmund Freud

The term “narcissism” comes from the Greek myth about Narcissus (Νάρκισσος, Narkissos), a handsome Greek youth who, according to Ovid, rejected the desperate advances of the nymph Echo. This caused Narcissus to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. Unable to consummate his love, Narcissus “lay gazing enraptured into the pool, hour after hour,” and finally changed into a flower that bears his name, the narcissus. The concept of excessive selfishness has been recognized throughout history. In ancient Greece the concept was understood as hubris. It is only more recently that narcissism has been defined in psychological terms.

Narcissus and Goldmund (Narziß und Goldmund; also published as Death and the Lover) is a novel written by the German–Swiss author Hermann Hesse which was first published in 1930.

 

Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others. It incorporates blame shifting.

 

Projection (lat. proicio) was conceptualised by Sigmund Freud in his letters to Wilhelm Fliess, and further refined by Karl Abraham and Anna Freud. Freud considered that, in projection, thoughts, motivations, desires, and feelings that cannot be accepted as one’s own are dealt with by being placed in the outside world and attributed to someone else. What the ego repudiates is split off and placed in another.

 

Projection tends to come to the fore in normal people at times of personal or political crisis but is more commonly found in the neurotic or psychotic in personalities functioning at a primitive level as in narcissistic personality disorder or borderline personality disorder.