Google doodles Rorschach's inkblots: What does it all mean?

The man who suggested that inkblots might mean far more than you imagined is Friday's subject for Google veneration. And you can participate.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read
What do you think it is? Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

People used to dribble ink and think nothing of it.

Then along came Hermann Rorschach who turned inking into thinking.

Because Google is an (overly) thinking company, it has decided to honor Rorschach with a Friday doodle. It would have been his 129th birthday.

This doodle is a delight, because you can participate not merely by clicking, but by allowing your brain to share the nonsense that's in it.

Google would like you to stare at the inkblot in its doodle and tell the world what you think it means. Because magnanimity is its core, Google will let you share your thoughts on Facebook and Twitter, as well as Google+.

Rorschach was rather into sharing inkblots from a very early age. Brought up in Switzerland, he adored klecksography. It's a pity it wasn't called klecksomania, but it's the keenness to turn inkblots into images that might seem real.

It is said that his childhood nickname was "Klecks."

He studied psychology in medical school and started showing children the inkblots to understand what they saw.

Even today, the Rorschach Test is still used as a means to assess personality and its potential disorders. However, psychologists being psychologists, no one seems to agree on how or whether it works.

The sad part for Rorschach himself is that, shortly after writing his "Psychodiagnostik", he died of peritonitis, aged 37.

No one seems entirely sure whether the 10 inkblots that he used for his tests were randomly selected or if they were chosen for their specific ambiguity.

Rita Signer, who curates the Rorschach Archive in Bern, Switzerland, insisted to the BBC that these were inkblots designed to express the most ambiguity.

So I took a look at the inkblot that is already live at Google's Australian site and I decided that it was a very short, threatening-looking person, expressing love as best she can, while disliked members of her family hover overhead.

Please lie down on my chaise-longue, grab this glass of Honig cabernet, and tell me what you see.