Source: John Weir Perry on the Distribution and Retrieval of Projections

“Objects, as they actually are, emerge only with the growth of consciousness and the differentiation of the ego, freeing it from the tangle of alignments with the various complexes that move across the affective stage.”

“All this means that in terms of natural experience of the everyday kind, the unconscious is found ‘out there’ in the state of projection in the emotional life. …whatever is activated in the unconscious is encountered in projection… in projection onto the object and onto the subject.”

‘A complex can be really overcome only if it is lived out to the full. In other words, if we are to develop further, we have to draw to us and drink down to the very dregs what, because of our complexes we have held at a distance.’ (Jung, 1938/1954. pp. 96-99).

Complexes, in their favorable aspect = components of development. The repetition compulsion, as has been pointed out so often, provides the ego the occasion again and again to encounter these rejected components of development in order finally to assimilate them in some happy moments.” (Chuck’s bold)

“This means that when we grow and develop our horizons of awareness by assimilating contents from the unconscious – from the emotional psyche – we are actually retrieving the greater part of them from the outer world of our emotional involvement. We do indeed reap what we sow: the psyche in its wisdom distributes our components of development out into our world of involvements, each in its due season, and we go about gleaning our harvest from this emotional field to nourish our consciousness.”

John Weir Perry paper: Emotion and Object Relations.

One Comment on “Source: John Weir Perry on the Distribution and Retrieval of Projections”


  1. […] The singularity of the “mistake” referred to by Lawrence suggests to me the workings of a complex in the background. It is the nature of the complex to drive the “endless repetition of the mistake, the mistake which mankind at large has chosen to sanctify.” As Perry observes, in their favorable aspect, complexes, via the repetition compulsion, keep us connected to our missing links, in order that we at some point find the connection that heals us, in some happy moment. Complexes as Components of Development […]


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