The Five Stages in the Withdrawal of Projections

The process of gaining insight into a projection takes place in several stages.  As an example Jung refers to the case of a Nigerian soldier who heard a voice calling to him from a tree, whereupon he tried to break out of the barracks in order to go to the tree.  When interrogated, the soldier stated that everyone who bore the name of this tree heard its voice from time to time.  To us this is a case (archaic identity), because, for the soldier, the tree and the voice were obviously identical.  A separation of the idea of the tree from that of the voice or of a tree-demon (as the ethnologist might put it, in this case) is actually a secondary phenomenon, corresponding to the next stage of consciousness, since a differentiation has now taken place.  A third stage would arise with the need for a moral evaluation of the phenomenon of the voice, which would be seen as the manifestation of an evil or good spirit.  A fourth stage would go still one step further in the process of elucidation.  At this stage the existence of spirits would be denied altogether and the experience written off as an illusion.  At the next, or fifth stage, one would have to reflect on how such an overpowering, extremely real, and awesome experience could suddenly become nothing but self-deception.  P&R 10