The paranoid person always takes himself seriously. It is rarely the case that such a person presents to a psychiatrist seeking help or complaining about their projections; because for the paranoid individual, his paranoid thinking and his projections explain so much about his life.
Is he poor? Someone has robbed him of what he is entitled to.
Is his genius not recognized? He has enemies that prevent him from achieving the success he knows should be his.
Has he made mistakes in his life? Someone has tricked him into acting a certain way.
The above mental gymnastics allow the paranoid person to externalize blame and avoid responsibility for his situation in life. It is always someone else's fault and not his.
In addition to externalizing blame for one's own pitiful situation in life, there is yet another advantage to paranoia and projection: the proper kind of distortion of reality can also reliably pump up self-esteem. True, it pumps it up at the expense of a great deal of fear sometimes; but nevertheless, it is comforting to know that someone appreciates your genius. Clearly if the CIA, FBI, aliens, Jews [fill in your favorite bogeyman here] are out to get you, you must be special and unique.
In short, paranoia and its little brother projection organize and distort reality in a way that makes it palatable; and, at the same time help the user to avoid recognizing some unpleasant truths about himself.
It also provides a rationale and justification (to the paranoid, at least) for acting out against those despicable enemies who stand in the way of being able to achieve wealth, respect, power, or whatever.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that only psychiatric patients who have a serious mental illness utilize these defenses. Paranoia is, indeed, a symptom of a mental illness; but both paranoia and projection are physiological states of the brain that can be achieved by otherwise "normal" people under the proper circumstances. The distortion of reality that occurs with the use of these defenses is always done to serve inner needs.
Under the proper circumstances, paranoia and projection may be resorted to by entire groups and nations in order to externalize blame and/or resolve some unacceptable national state (in order to counter overwhelming shame or humiliation, for example).
Here is one of many projections that the Arabs and Muslims of the Middle East regularly resort to as they try to avoid dealing with the irrefutable evidence of their own backwardness: Avian Flu May Have Been Developed by Israel, to Damage Arabs' Genes
Israel and the Jews remain a favorite object onto which unacceptable feelings can be externalized.
This is not a mental illness, folks, that can be "cured" by mass quantities of antipsychotic medication in the water supply of these countries. This is a distortion of reality in order to meet the inner needs of a crumbling society that cannot psychologically sustain itself otherwise.
In other words, it is the psychological defense mechansism of projection being used to avoid taking responsibility for the feelings and/or behavior of an entire group of individuals. As such, these individuals are completely oblivious to how completely crazy and out of touch with reality their behavior really is.
But to those who are using such a defense, their behavior and rhetoric seem perfectly logical and internally consistent. It is, in fact, as impeccable as any reasoning can be--considering that it originates from distorted premises. Paranoia has been referred to as "the rational in the service of the irrational" for good reasons.
And, by that kind of "logic" it makes perfect sense to use the maximum force possible to destroy those who are responsible for creating a disease that is specific to Arab genes; or even, for that matter, to destroy those who create cartoons that mock and humiliate sacred beliefs.
Since the entire group identity becomes more and more fragile as painful reality closes in; the paranoid's response becomes more and more exaggerated in a desperate effort to sustain the delusions that make up the sense of self.
And, as long as they maintain those delusions, they do not have to deal with the sad state of their own society; their own religion; or their sad individual lives.
"KILL THE JEWS!" "BEHEAD THOSE WHO INSULT ISLAM" --these slogans are merely the expressions of inescapable and contorted logic of the paranoid.