Projection is one of the commonest psychic phenomena.
It is the same as participation mystique, which Levy-Bruhl, to his great credit, emphasized as being an especially characteristic feature of primitive man.
We merely give it another name, and as a rule deny that we are guilty of it.
Everything that is unconscious in ourselves we discover in our neighbour, and we treat him accordingly.
We no longer subject him to the test of drinking poison; we do not burn him or put the screws on him; but we injure him by means of moral verdicts pronounced with the deepest conviction.
What we combat in him is usually our own inferior side.
The simple truth is that primitive man is somewhat more given to projection than we because of the undifferentiated state of his mind and his consequent inability to criticize himself.
Everything to him is absolutely objective, and his speech reflects this in a drastic way.
With a touch of humour we can picture to ourselves what a leopard-woman is like, just as we do when we call a person a goose, a cow, a hen, a snake, an ox, or an ass.
These uncomplimentary epithets are familiar to us all.
But when primitive man attributes a bush-soul to a person, the poison of moral judgment is absent.
He is too naturalistic for that; he is too much impressed by things as they are and much less prone to pass judgment than we.
The Pueblo Indians declared n a matter-of-fact way that I belonged to the Bear Totem —in other words, that I was a bear—because I did not come
down a ladder standing up like a man, but bunched up on all fours like a bear.
If anyone in Europe said I had a bearish nature this would amount to the same thing, but with a rather different shade of meaning.
The theme of the bush-soul, which seems so strange to us when we meet with it among primitives, has become with us a mere figure of speech, like so much else.
If we take our metaphors concretely we return to the primitive point of view.
For instance, we have the expression “to handle a patient.”
In concrete terms this means “to lay hands on” a person, “to work at with the hands,” “to manipulate.”
And this is precisely what the medicine-man does with his patients. ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 131-132