NO MORE BS: Let us Stop Judging Based Upon Projection

LaughterI had to laugh today (20 April 2021); I received a comment based upon an article written, and the first words read were, “You do not know what you are talking about.”  I have been discriminated against for not wearing a mask, for being white, for what I know and don’t know, and always the discrimination stems from a judgment based upon the projection of the person speaking.  Judging based upon projection has become tiresome!

What is Judging?

Judging is the action of a judge.  A judge has several definitions especially apt to this discussion:

  1. To form, give, or have as an opinion, or to decide about something or someone, especially after thinking carefully.”
  2. To express a bad opinion of someone’s behavior, often because you think you are better than them.”
  3. Used to express the reasons why you have a particular opinion.”

The definitions originate with the Cambridge Dictionary and, in my opinion, are particularly well stated to provide sufficient explanation without additional commentary from me.  Most interesting of all, the definitions challenge the reader to think about actions and behaviors where judgment, often confused with discrimination, is the first or only response to anything new.

GavelMany, many, many, atheists have complained in terms vociferous that I do not know anything about atheism.  Several theists have made similar claims but are generally more hostile than the atheists.  Regardless, one of the topics I enjoy studying are people’s closely held beliefs, and religion is one of those beliefs that are both closely held and motivational in nature.  Politics is a close second, and I enjoy studying the why behind political choices.

I have a close relative who is not allergic to food in any shape or capacity but will use the allergic excuse for food they particularly do not like, peanut butter, fish, canned peas, mushrooms, and much more.  Without ever tasting many of these foods, a judgment has been made, an excuse offered, and a diet established.  If my relative had the ability, they would live off only one food type, and actively refuses to believe that variety is a spice in life, especially where food is concerned.

Millstone of Designed IncompetenceJudgments make hasty decisions with natural consequences that must be shouldered.  Like the proverbial millstone about the neck, a judgment can become very heavy to carry.  Especially when that judgment is based on false or erroneous data, the judge will not be swayed, which explains why many people continue to smoke but do not blame smoking for the cough, lung problems, cancer, or death.

One of my favorite authors is Robert Fulghum, best known for authoring “Everything I need to know, I learned in kindergarten.”  In a follow-on book, he related a news story about a guy who was rescued from his smoldering bed, where he had fallen asleep after drinking heavily and needed a cigarette before sleep.  Who got up, relieved themselves, and then crawled back into bed after noticing that the bed was on fire.  One could judge the man as stupid for crawling back into a burning bed, but if they did not know about the heavy drinking, they might judge erroneously.  Others might judge both drinking and smoking as dangerous, and the man deserved his fate.  I laughed the first time I read this story at the absurdity of it all.  Then I got a lot of experience about what people do when intoxicated, and I understand the man a little better.  By not judging the actions or circumstances, I understand better the decision to crawl into a smoldering bed, pull the covers to my chin, and go back to sleep.  The understanding does not limit my finding humor in the absurdity of the actions, but I understand the decision-making process better now.

What is Projection?

Editorial - Educational TruthFrom PsychologyToday.com, we find the definition of projection.  “Projection is the process of displacing one’s feelings onto a different person, animal, or object. The term is most commonly used to describe defensive projection—attributing one’s own unacceptable urges to another.”  For example, the man who climbed back into a smoldering bed could be declared a lot of things by someone projecting their own biases, opinions, and poor judgment behaviors onto the man climbing into a smoldering bed.  In doing so, the ignorance of the judge becomes as apparent as the rising sun.

Still quoting from PsychologyToday.com, “Unconscious discomfort can lead people to attribute unacceptable feelings or impulses to someone else to avoid confronting them. Projection allows the difficult trait to be addressed without the individual fully recognizing it in themselves.”  I have several relatives who regularly attribute their own feelings of insecurity onto others, and it has been quite humorous to observe them in public.

Finally, also from PsychologyToday.com, we find the following, “Projecting a threatening trait onto others may be a byproduct of the mechanism that defends the ego, rather than a part of the defense itself. Trying to suppress a thought pushes it to the mental foreground, psychologists have argued, and turns it into a chronically accessible filter through which one views the world.”  We need to understand this comment as quoted fully.  Research on thinking confirms that any thought we try to suppress moves into the mental foreground and remains the only thought we can hold onto.  The more force we try to kick that thought out, the more stuck that thought becomes.  Enough experience with that thought, and the thought becomes the filter through which we see the world.

Emtional Investment CycleFor example, I know an alcoholic and a chocoholic with the same disease, but with different drugs, whose power over the individual is precisely the same because the same thought is stuck in the foreground of their mental capacities, and both see the world through their addictions.  The only thoughts allowed in their brains are how to get chocolate or alcohol.  Nothing else can stay in their minds because their addictive thought has become the filter of behavior.  Essentially the projection of their fears and desires became the addiction that controls them.

Is the relationship between stuck thoughts and projection clear?  People project to protect themselves, avoid things they do not desire, and socially fit into a peer group they desire.  All of which involves making judgments as seen through the filter of stuck thoughts.  Leading to more stuck thoughts, more filters, more behavior changes, more judgments, and the cycle repeats ad nauseam ad infinitum.

How do we break this cycle?

Andragogy - LEARNThe first step in any problem is to admit there is a problem.  Refusing to admit there is a problem is another stuck thought which allows justification for projection and judgment, perpetuating the problems, addictions, and issues.  It is okay to admit you need help!

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is one of the most powerful methods for overcoming stuck thoughts.  A little research, a little practice, and change can begin.  Please note, weird thoughts, they happen, and they do not mean you are a bad person.  Fighting those thoughts leads to stuck thoughts, so the opposite is recommended.  Admit that the thought was crazy, didn’t belong, and move forward consciously.  The thought might return, acknowledge it, and move in a different path.

Detective 4I have a great resource on this topic, “Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts,” authored by Sally M. Winston PsyD and Martin N. Seif Ph.D.  The book is humorous, easy to read, and very helpful.  The book employs CBT as a method for getting unstuck, and I recommend all adults, and many teenagers, to read this book as a tool for directing energy and thinking into productive areas.  I am not trying to sell the book; feel free to find your own CBT resources, and feel free to share them.  For when we understand our own behavior, we can improve!

Better, when we understand this connection between projection and judgment, we can observe others and discern better the sources we allow to provide information, we elect to public office, we trust with our money, or allow into our lives.  Liberty and freedom are not built upon a fallacy, bias, opinion, and outright lies projected by scared and power-hungry people.  Liberty and freedom are built upon law, control of self, and sacrifice for the good of many.  Embracing a “Liberty FIRST Culture” means understanding those behaviors that got us into the mess we currently are in, and through understanding, solutions begin to generate.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Religion and Politics

Bird of PreyPlease note, if you cannot openly discuss either topic without relying upon emotional hyperbole, feel free to stop reading right here!  I will not allow any discussion that insults, denigrates, derides, or casts insults and aspersions on either topic.  As a Republic, America must be able to openly discuss religion and politics in the public square openly, and the public square includes social media.  I will not suffer snowflakes and idiots; take your emotional hyperactivity elsewhere.  You have been sufficiently warned!

What is Religion?

I have written a post dedicated to supporting atheists, and after some consideration, I felt it was time to tackle theism.  I discussed in the atheist article that the world is not split between atheists and theists; feel free to read that article for more information.  We begin in the same place as we did with the atheists, defining religion properly.  To understand a word, all the definitions and etiology (history) of the word are critical to grasp what is being discussed fully.   According to Webster, religion has three accepted definitions:

Religion Quote 2As a Noun: “The belief in and worship of a superhuman or controlling power, especially a personal god, God or gods.”

A particular system of faith and worship.”

A pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance.”

From Latin, Religare meaning “to bind,” and Religio meaning “obligation, bond, reverence.”  From Old French, we have the emergence of the term Religion meaning “life under monastic vows.”  Thus, a person may easily conclude that many things of supreme importance, where faith and worship are attached and is personal as a belief, can be considered a religion, including sports, food, atheists, a car, and so much more.  Consider that neighbor who polishes his car every Sunday as a method of meditating; he can be considered to be worshiping.  The same for that guy glued to the NFL all season, every season, and even between seasons, expressing a bond, an obligation, or a vow to express belief because the NFL is of supreme importance to that person.

Religious ThoughtAre the term and the method of use clear for the term religion; America has many religions and a lot of religious people who might not belong to what a person might consider “normal” religions.  I have met beer worshipers, prostitutes worshiping at the church of the virgin who believe that when taking the sacrament, it returns them to a virgin state, and a lot more, including the church of a purple (Not Barney) dinosaur.  We have the “Church of the Happy Spaghetti Monster,” where the high priest wears a colander on his head.  Lots of religious beliefs, lots of supreme beings, lots of dedicated believers whose personal beliefs are of supreme importance to that individual.

President AdamsI respect their beliefs and will honor their freedoms to believe as they choose.  I will accept no denigration, aspersions, or insults to a person’s honestly held belief structures.  If it is of supreme importance to you, that is your religion; I will support you as long as your beliefs do not infringe upon the life, property, and liberty of another person’s religious beliefs.  I expect the same rights to be extended to me under the US Constitution as amended for the US Bill of Rights.

First Amendment:  Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances [emphasis mine].

What is Politics?

Politics is too often a word with so much baggage; people become confused and stop listening after hearing the word politics.  According to Webster:

The Duty of AmericansAs a Noun, “the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.”

The activities of governments concerning the political relations between countries.”

The academic study of government and the state.”

Activities within an organization that is aimed at improving someone’s status or position and are typically considered to be devious or divisive.”

A particular set of political beliefs or principles.”

The assumptions or principles relating to or inherent in a sphere, theory, or thing, especially when concerned with power and status in a society.”

As a Verb, politic/s is derogatory and is defined as “engaging in political activities.”

From Old French Politique “political,” Latin from Greek Politikos, and Politẽs “citizen” and Polis “city.”  Thus, we have described the term politics in all its glory and inhumanity.  Is the term more understood?  Politics is a descriptive tool used to identify certain human activities where power is sought, and devious means and divisive gestures are employed to obtain that power.  Every action tied to securing power through devious means and divisive gestures is politics or political, which means derogatory.  For those needing more, derogatory is “showing a critical or disrespectful attitude.”Patriotism

Why are these topics important for open discussion?

I do not include the definitions to insult anyone’s intelligence!  The definitions are required to place all of us on the same page of understanding to discuss what is happening and use the terms correctly.  In our world, so many words have been plasticized to encourage tyranny through modular language.

Dont Tread On MeThe tyranny is witnessed in many different means and methods.  The easiest way to see the tyranny is in the lawfare we witness every Christmas by the atheists demanding less Christ and other religions in the traditional winter holidays.  Religion can be politics, and as such, this places your political beliefs into a sacred area.  I will not tell you how to vote or express your political beliefs, nor your religious beliefs.  I expect the same in return!

I demand the ability to discuss both topics openly without moderators, thought police, speech Nazis, trolls, and others giving way to emotion.  Consider something, Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to Reverend Ezra Stiles and discussed his beliefs, asking Reverend Stiles, President of Yale College, to keep the letter confidential.  Franklin said, “All sects here [in Philadelphia] have experienced my goodwill in assisting them with subscriptions for building their new places of worship; and as I have never [publicly] opposed any of their doctrines, I hope to go out of the world in peace with all” (p. 65).  I agree with Mr. Franklin; my religious tenets are my own affairs, I do not push religion, and allow all men (and women) the ability to believe as they choose.Apathy

However, I understand precisely what President George Washington said in his final address to the nation about religion.

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”  Continuing, Pres. Washington called religion and morality “Pillars of human happiness, and the duty of citizens to uphold.”  Concluding with, “Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation [and morality in society] desert the oaths?  Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

Liberty and Freedom are Rooted in Politics and Religion!

As Pres. Thomas Jefferson claimed the French Revolution occurred because of “Kings, nobles, and priests.”  The French Revolution, especially the influence of the church in state affairs, is one reason why President Jefferson was such a stickler for the “Rule of Law” and one of the most important reasons for supporting the First Amendment, which allowed America to keep Church and State separate.  A town supporting a Christmas decoration does not intrude or imply a Christian breach into state affairs.  A violation of church and state affairs, which would be unconstitutional, would be for Pres. Biden to invite the Pope to dictate laws for America.  Is the distinction clear?  The separation of church and state has been a legal quagmire since 1879 SCOTUS decision on Reynolds v. United States.  Bad cases have made bad case law, and bad case law has left everyone scratching their heads and hostile!

Religion QuotePresident Thomas Jefferson wrote,

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.”

Morality in society needs strong religious people who place supreme importance on living the tenets of their religion for liberty and freedom to grow and expand.  The Greek philosophers have been so twisted and plasticized that morality through philosophy is impossible.  Politics remains an ugly business, mainly due to the lack of morality lived by the individuals practicing political behavior.  Pick a politician, and we find problems living a moral centered lifestyle—President Clinton, well known, zero moral center.  President Obama had a pornography problem, among other less publicized moral issues.  Rep. Anthony Weiner had a sex problem with young girls.

Image - Politics is DirtyThe problem we have here is not just the lack of moral center in the politicians; it is the twisting of ethics, morals, and politics into a cohesive behavior that is the exact opposite of morality and ethical conduct required for holding public office.  Schools teach “Political Ethics,” “Moral and Political Philosophy,” and other twisted logic classes to excuse private indiscretions due to the politician’s public reputation.  Are the reasons clearer for why the definitions were discussed first?  I read a research report on ethics.  The moral decline in understanding terms became painfully obvious when behavior can be excused in a public official that would be criminal in a private individual.

A “Liberty FIRST Culture” must understand this precious connection.  Religion can be many things to many people.  Politics cannot in any way, shape, or form exist without morally centered religious people.  Liberty and freedom die with the citizen’s moral centeredness, not the politician, even though the politician plays a dynamic role as an example of proper ethical and moral conduct, publicly and privately.

Image - Eagle & FlagReference

Brookhiser, R. (2007). Chapter 4: God and Man. In What would the founders do? Our questions, their answers. New York, NY: Basic Books.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.