The Other I

December 7, 2012

What’s in a whale?

A commenter on yesterday’s post said the whale’s spurt of air refracted by the sunlight looked like Einstein’s head — but that “I didn’t do well on Rorschachs.”

For those – possibly fortunate few –  unacquainted with the Rorschach Inkblot test, it is a series of ten cards which are used to assess a person’s emotional responses and thought processes.  For instance, what do you see in this inkblot?

Rorschach blot 03.jpg

A blood bath?  two lovers sharing a bowl of soup?  a couple playing a drum duet?

Or what about this one?

Rorschach blot 09.jpg

Two dragons surprised by each other as they jump out of the water?  a fire heating up a boiling pot of pasta?  two souls burning in hell?  or arriving in heaven?

You see the potential.  The theory is that answers to the ten different Rorschachs will form patterns which a competent therapist can recognize and interpret.  So a patient maybe diagnosed as exhibiting a sexual obsession or gender confusion, a fear of violence, various attitudes toward authority, a need to dominate, and so on.

The assumption is that the therapist’s interpretation is the valid one.  But the responses to the inkblots are themselves verbal Rorschachs, and might say as much about the therapist as about the patient.  So trust in the accuracy of the therapists’s analysis is somewhat akin to an act of faith.

In this faithless age of questioning, disbelief has even entered into the sanctity of the psychiatrist’s office.

You just can’t count on anything anymore these days.



  1. except wonderful thought-provoking blogs from the otheri and recently sic greening effect – great anxiety


    Comment by kateritek — December 7, 2012 @ 1:17 pm | Reply

  2. Easy. The first one is an antelope and the second one is a cow 😉


    Comment by sanstorm — December 7, 2012 @ 4:50 pm | Reply

    • My official diagnosis of your Inkblot data is that you love animals! Dr. Terry


      Comment by Terry Sissons — December 7, 2012 @ 5:10 pm | Reply

      • I love them when they appear in pictures, not in real life. In real life I live in fear that they will injure me, or I will injure them.


        Comment by sanstorm — December 7, 2012 @ 9:37 pm

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