Not only was he bloody good looker (some say similar-looking to an early Brad Pitt), Hermann Rorschach – despite his unfortunate Christian name – was a darn good psychoanalyst. If you find his surname familiar, it’s because he’s the guy who invented the ‘Rorschach Test’ – that simple exam where blots of ink are splashed onto a piece of paper, which is then folded to create a symmetrical image that psychology patients can read what they want into.
The test was designed to reflect unconscious parts of the personality that might be disturbing, or even delighting, a patient and often helped break the barriers of communication between patient and therapist, giving the latter more of an ‘insight’ into what was going on in the former’s mind. Where one patient might see cute pandas hugging, for example, another might see two ogres in battle.
Anyway, today is Rorschach’s 129th birthday.
Here are a few of Cream’s favourite Rorschachs. What do you see in them?