Rorschach Test- A psychological test in which a subject’s interpretations of a series of standard inkblots are analyzed as an indication of personality traits, preoccupations, and conflicts.
We hold our lives together with storylines. When trauma strikes, we try to weave whatever happens into those narratives. If we do not have enough information, our storyline often fills in the details with a made up interpretation. If our theory turn out to be correct, we consider it proof that our entire belief system is valid. If our theory turns out to be false, we usually just forget our earlier guess.
After the bombing in Boston this week, the rush to judgment was truly illuminating. Glen Greenwald collected a few of the theories, some of the comments were made just hours after the tragedy:
‘The betting here is on Middle East terrorists,’ Jim Stewart, CBS News
‘The fact that it was such a powerful bomb in Oklahoma City immediately drew investigators to consider deadly parallels that all have roots in the Middle East,’ John McWethy, ABC
“‘It has every single earmark of the Islamic car-bombers of the Middle East.’ Georgie Anne Geyer,
‘Whatever we are doing to destroy Mideast terrorism, the chief terrorist threat against Americans, has not been working.’ A.M. Rosenthal, NY Times.
Some anti-gun people used the explosions to attack Republicans for preventing gun control. Some pro-gun people saw the attack as demonstrating the vulnerablity of our nation due to liberal gun grabbing. Alex Jones went into his mantra that such events are “false flag” operation used by the Government to steal our rights.
Whoever turns out to have done this deed will be one person, or one group of people. Whoever did this will not represent the Islamic world, nor will they will represent white Christians, nor anarchists, nor liberals nor conservatives. Whoever did this will not not be a character from our storyline at all. The larger group from which they come will not be responsible for their crime.
My prediction is this: when we find out who did this terrible act we will not be finding proof of our own theories about everyone else, we will find that we have been looking at a Rorschach.