The Inkblots Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and the Power of Seeing by Damion Searls


“In a twist of fate that seems too good to be true, Rorschach’s nickname in school was “Klex”, the German word for “inkblot”. Was young Blot Rorschach already tinkering with ink, his destiny foretold?” 

I remember one day in Kindergarten we took a blob of paint and created blotchy art work by folding the paper in half, most looked like moths or butterflies when we peeled open the paper. The first time I can recall mention of Ink Blots for psychological purposes, my mind went back to this day and the blots have forever interested me. What a strange way to invade the mind, and could this really tell you anything about a person’s psyche? Hit the internet, there are quizzes everywhere from the silly to serious telling you about yourself. As controversy entered the ink blots growth, I too am one of those people that wonders if  ‘  you  can really sum anyone up based on images, or questions?’ Really, as the reader sees in the book, if you live in another country can’t the images affect you differently simply because of one’s culture? The horrifying reality is tests can fail, as happened to a woman concerning the ink blots, that caused her child’s abuse to be dismissed. Used as a tool, it seems to have stood the test of time, but should we ever really rely on images or questions to determine court cases, should the findings be an absolute? The research stands, is it simply coincidence if most psychopaths see certain images and I happen to see the same thing or does it mean I have psychopathic tendencies? There is solid work and decades of research, and yet always that but pushes it’s way in.

This book focuses on the life of the Rorschach Test which outlived its creator. There are stories about the man himself and I was interested in his approach to patients. From the reading, Hermann appeared to be someone who truly wanted to heal the minds of the afflicted. There is controversy in everything that is meant to help or categorize, in anything that medicates, treats. The fact stands that nothing is full proof, but do we dismiss it altogether? The ink blot test morphed through the years as it changed hands, could that be the problem? Could the biggest problem  be that people  reviewing the test aren’t always qualified, trained to? That can be a fatal flaw. There was a time it held up, used by the military and in job hiring to weed out undesirable applicants, in trials, in abuse hearings… see it as you will, but it is an icon itself and not just in America. My thoughts are in the middle, I tend to believe that you can’t peg people that easily, I always think about what we say, what we don’t. My question is always, ‘How do you know the answers someone is giving are honest?” Sure, the counter argument is that deception is spotted by those trained to see it, and says a lot too. But can we ever really know? As with anything, it helped and it hindered. It is alive and well today and still has its uses. I enjoyed the history of Rorschach’s ink blot test’s birth and how it morphed into what it is today. Fascinating read that is well researched, I learned things I had never known about Hermann Rorschach and the ink blot test, the reasons why he chose the designs and color he did. Yes, read it.

Publication Date: February 21, 2017

Crown Publishing


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