The Rorschach View

23 05 2008

The world at large generally is not in front of people’s faces. Truth be told, hardly anything is in front of people’s faces. Yet, they are more than eager to think otherwise. Detailed, first-hand experience of all those we claim to speak for, as well as knowledge of all their thoughts and feelings, is a complete impossibility. Yet this doesn’t stop conclusive action being taken regardless of the lack of conclusion.

Our world view is a blurred mass of scattered, loosely-recalled details that we think resembles something cohesive but doesn’t. Ink blots gathered in a makeshift shape that the brain tries to interpret as a definite object for which it can clearly recognize. We, in essence, have a Rorschach view of the world.

Anyone who’s taken a Rorschach test or observed scenes of Rorschach tests on television knows the deal. The psychiatrist holds up patterns of ink blots and asks what the patient sees. A conclusion regarding the patient’s psyche is then assumed based on the responses. One who sees flowers might be interpreted as sheltered and innocent, while one who sees a bloodied corpse might be interpreted as neglected and abused.

The function of ideologues is to interfere with this process, basically holding the Rorschach image up to the viewer and explaining in highly rhetorical detail what the Rorschach actually represents, how to see it the way they do, and why this way of looking at the Rorschach is the proper way to look at it. The ideologue convinces the viewer that this is not a vague Rorschach pattern that could represent any number of things, but is, in actuality, this very clear and distinct image that the ideologue insists that it is.

Rorschach Image

Imagine this Rorschach represented a view of society. A feminist would look at this and claim to see an oppressive patriarchy, whereas a non-feminist would be more likely to see it for what it objectively is: a Rorschach.

These ink blots can be seen as blots of societal issues, and depending on ideology a different pattern (and, thus, a different image) would be proclaimed Traditionalists would call the image the demoralization caused by breaking from tradition, while progressives would call it cognitive dissonance caused by the enforcing of tradition. Feminists would refer to the image as the results of patriarchy, while male chauvinists would refer to it the results of female authority.

Those who don’t buy in to ideology would simply call it what it is, a Rorschach, regardless of what their brain might have been trained to see.

As long as the complexities of the modern world are treated like the fully-formed mental images in the minds of the ideologically manipulated, rather than as the mass of ink blots we more realistically see them as, those looking to have an impact will treat society as something it may very well not be. And these many different ideologues will all treat it as something completely different, each treatment resulting in very clear consequences for blurry causes. It’s time we stood up to these ideologues—the preachers, politicians and pundits—and stopped taking their rigged Rorschach tests.

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9 responses

27 05 2008
fidelbogen

It’s bad enough when they rorschach onto the historical present (and recent past). The trouble only compounds itself when they retroject 100 or 150 years (or more) into the days of yore! Remember also that their co-workers in the distant past were doing their OWN rorschellacking in their own era, which means that those in the present age get double the fun by painting rorschellack on top of rorschellack!

31 07 2008
Daran

A feminist would look at this and claim to see an oppressive patriarchy, whereas a non-feminist would be more likely to see it for what it objectively is: a Rorschach.

Unless the non-feminist was an ideologue of a different kind, in which case they would see it in accordance with their own ideology.

25 10 2008
7 01 2009
Befuddled

I don’t see how this in any way interferes with the process. What if your ideology is to accept reality as a shapeless meaningless mass of coincidence and chance? Is running around telling people it must be a pony any different than running around telling people it must be an ink blot? and is running around telling people it must be anything different that letting everyone have their own oppinion? Saying there are many ways to see it is in itself an interpretation, speaking down on others for trying to make people see it their way is hypocritical because it assumes the interpreted view of an open mind is better than the interpreted view of a closed mind. Now that i think of it, the process itself is fundamentlay biased to a certain mindset. To hell with it all. time for fallout 3.

22 01 2009
Amanda

I see a cat. XD
If it was possible to fail these, I most definitely would.

14 02 2009
ohaithar

i enjoyed reading this.

6 03 2009
Joel Hankerchief

Well oppressive or not – but its clearly a kitty cat’s face… Looks happy too (straight frontal – the bee shaped thing is the mouth nose combo)

16 03 2009
rorschachian

“What if your ideology is to accept reality as a shapeless meaningless mass of coincidence and chance? Is running around telling people it must be a pony any different than running around telling people it must be an ink blot?” – Befuddled

‘What if open mindedness and free thought were ideologies?’!?!? Then I, your subject of “what if”, would be a ridiculously inaccurate attempt at a caricature of the author’s moderate views; one that might only exist in the mind of an unrepentant ideologue who thinks that the act of speaking out against the harmful ideologies of existentially confused people *must* be at *least* as rude and close minded as they themselves are being. Nonsense.

“and is running around telling people it must be anything different that letting everyone have their own oppinion?”

Close-minded ideologies are what prevent people from having their own opinion. It instead forces upon them the “opinion” of some crazy person who insists that they know what the rorschach is. What you decry – running around telling people it must be anything different than their ideological programming – is what hopefully helps people to use their brains and think about important matters enough to truly form their own opinions, instead of being in a nice, safe, comfortable ideological group that merely feels the assuredness of their numbers, no matter how plainly incorrect the ideology itself is.

“Saying there are many ways to see it is in itself an interpretation, speaking down on others for trying to make people see it their way is hypocritical because it assumes the interpreted view of an open mind is better than the interpreted view of a closed mind. Now that i think of it, the process itself is fundamentlay biased to a certain mindset.”

Yes, reality does favor the realistic. You do realize that you just blatantly defended being closed minded, don’t you? Or can you? Echo!

18 05 2009
Bob the Chef

Feminism is a reactionary ideology, and like all ideologies, ignores at least some aspect of human nature and attempts to override it, which always amounts to repression, in one way or another. Sooner or later, things will pop. Anger isn’t a sustainable raison d’etre for ideology, and sooner or later, it WILL fail, if not from the realization of its banality and erroneousness, then via lethargy and lack of interest.

“Our world view is a blurred mass of scattered, loosely-recalled details that we think resembles something cohesive but doesn’t.”

If it does resemble something to someone, then it does resemble something to someone. You can’t step outside yourself to see something, and if you could, you would only be seeing things as the person you are outside yourself. That which is perceived is always a function of the perceiver, and it makes absolutely no sense to talk about the perception of reality, or even reality as experienced via perception, outside of perception. What the Rorschach test does is attempt to see if there’s a psychological bias towards perceiving certain things in certain ways, which is what you at one point more or less say. It is a way of trying to find hints of certain mental preoccupations.

Also, the only value there is in allowing people to form their own opinions is because they are allowed to arrive at the truth themselves, which would necessarily mean that all would arrive at the same conclusions. This is an optimistic point of view, since ideologies cloud the mind or prey on discontent and give the indoctrinated a sense of freedom and power. These are addictive, of course, and trying to ween someone off of something like feminism, at least enough to open his or her mind to possibilities, is like getting a heroine addict to stop shooting up and realize heroine isn’t the gatekeeper to his or her life.

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