“Projection is always an indirect process of becoming conscious – indirect because of the check exercised by the conscious mind, by the pressure of traditional or conventional ideas which take the place of real experience and prevent it from happening.” Carl Jung, Mysterium Coniunctionis, par. 486
Our ideas as defense mechanisms that replace real experience, now if that doesn’t that throw the towel into the ring, nothing does. William James went so far as to claim that all forms of absolutism are but cowardice in the face of theeil chaos of the cosmos (sorry, the book isn’t with me so I’ll add a reference later).
So our notion of the world as a shield from the world, and pressures from the unconscious leaking out as projection as if the unconscious attempts in this indirect manner to reconnect us with the real. An example: a projection of wisdom gets laid on the “guru” in any field, perhaps when that level of wisdom is not even carried by that individual, because the unconscious is attempting to put wisdom itself into the mix when the conscious attitude becomes to rigid. We see it all the time in web 2.0 and much like the confidence man of Melville, the guru’s are quick to capitalize on the projections, even positioning themselves to become the target.
Our rational shield gets stripped away a bit facing the expanses and the harshness of the Western landscape. Indeed, a return to nature tends to put our feet firmly on the ground and bring our heads down out of the clouds. If not, slipping on the uneven terrain and an injury is a likely result. If you find yourself looking to others for your answers, perhaps switch it up a bit and turn back to wilderness. As Dante shared, it’s in the dark wood that we find the portal to the underworld.