The Green Screen Projection Engine

By Anthony Gold

I was terrified and deeply scarred – vowing never to swim in the ocean again. Ever.

That was my first reaction after watching the movie Jaws as a young child. I couldn’t go near the ocean without hearing that alternating pattern of F and F-sharp notes: da-dum … da-dum … da-dum-da-dum-da-dum-da-dum-da-dum.

And it wasn’t until several years later that I saw the ridiculously silly mechanical shark at Universal Studios that I realized the magnitude of my overreaction.

That is what frightened me? Seriously?”

Movies are great at sucking us into a story and convincing us this is real. One of the primary techniques for creating such realism is known as chroma key compositing – otherwise known as green screen replacement.

Essentially, an actor is filmed in front of a green backdrop in a studio. And then in film editing, the green background is replaced by a more compelling scene – making it appear as if the actor was actually in the new scene. It’s a movie trick that works so well that along with computer generated imagery (CGI) completely fool viewers.

But that’s just in the movies. We could never be fooled in “real life”, correct?

Think again.

In the same way movies distort reality by projecting false images onto green screens, the ego fakes reality by projecting a world that seems so compelling and demanding of our attention. In a sense, the ego is the ultimate green screen projection engine.

We believe everything around us is so serious and significant – be they global issues like war and epidemics or more localized attention-grabbers such as our relationships with family, friends, colleagues, money, and health.

But it’s just a trick to deceive us into believing this is real. And the deception works very well indeed.

It isn’t until we get to see “behind the scenes” at how it really works that we can begin to appreciate the magnitude of our overreaction. Only then can we see things from a different perspective – one that shows us the truth of reality and the falseness of deceit.

The world is an illusion. (W-pI.155.2)

From this vantage point, we realize it is all made up. Despite its seeming seriousness, the world is an illusion, a projection from the wrong-minded thought system of duality and separateness. Join us in Monday’s class where we will explore the nature of projection and the ego’s techniques for convincing us this is real. I look forward to seeing you then.

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