Life is a Rorshach Ink-Blot

inkblotThink about it. It just popped into my head one day, but I thought about it. Mmmh, yup, it is, too. You’ve probably heard of the Rorschach ink-blot test; and you could bet there would be a Mr Rorschach behind it somewhere. Herr Rorschach, actually. Hermann Rorschach, a Swiss psychiatrist working in the early part of the century.

He came up with the idea of presenting a set of random ink-blot patterns to people whose mental status was questionable. It’s a bit bizarre when you think about it.

Imagine this. Someone is pulled off the street because their brain is batting about like a ping-pong ball in a hall of mirrors, dragged to the hospital and set down at a table. Then a guy in a white coat (with maybe a glinting monocle) comes in, takes the opposite seat, slides over a piece of card with a splodge of ink on it and says, “What do you see in that?”. Weeell, that’s a pretty heavy presupposition that there is something in there. Moreover, that the patient is expected to see it. Whatever it is.

Looked at from the perspective of hypnotic language patterns, it constitutes quite an induction. Whatever you say you see is taken down and used as evidence for your diagnosis. And if you refuse the induction and don’t see anything there? You will be diagnosed as suffering from severe lack of imagination.

The test isn’t so ridiculous, really, because the idea behind it is that since the ink-blot is only an ink-blot, anything you see in it must be projected from inside your head. Er . . . and that’s like life?

Well, yes. Life is life. Nothing more, nothing less. Our opinions about it, our interpretations of it, our judgements, our evaluations, all that we think of it, that’s our projection. It seems like more than that because there’s an awful lot of us. We often agree on things, and that lends them credence; the weight of opinion is on our side. But however much of it there is, opinion is pretty lightweight stuff. It’s fluff. Blown on a mere breeze.

The question is, what do we see in the Rorschach we’re living, and what would we want to see? One to ponder. So I’ll leave you to ponder it, but laced with a Shakespeare quote; he adds class to anything. He’s got one that goes: “There’s nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”.

Graham Dawes