Monday, October 27, 2008
You will probably have heard of the psychoanalytical tool called the Rocharch Test. I believe it was also nicknamed the ‘inkblot test’ at the time of its inception. In it you view a series of abstract shapes, like mutating amoebas, and say what you see. The analyst takes your interpretations and from them construes a narrative representing your deep concerns. So, if you fashion from the ink blots various sexual elements, you may have personal difficulties in managing relationships or in your potency. If you see cakes and biscuits, you may have an eating disorder. Whatever, whether it is a familial problem or some form of phobia, it can come to the surface via your attempts to find meaning in the ink. It is not unlike Freud’s stream of consciousness approach to fishing truths from the unconscious.
Among the variety of TV channels available to me in Ghana (from South Africa!) are several that deal with the supernatural. In them people claim to see a variety of otherworldly objects, apparitions and events from the present, past or from the future. Whether it be a ghost or a UFO, they stare earnestly into the camera lens and aver that it was as real as you or me (an extremely dubious analogy for any philosopher!). The point is that they interpret the data out there in the world, the way their unconscious minds deem appropriate. We all do it to a greater or lesser extent. We manage our successful close relationships, for example, by selecting the facets that make it feel fulfilling to us. By doing so we generate a fairly constant and emotional picture of another person from the vast amount of sensory data we have at our disposal. We don’t want to see what others around us might find disagreeable.
Recently, I wrote a blog about the messages that are displayed on the back windows of tro tros (mini buses) and taxis. I saw one at the weekend which took the Rocharch biscuit.
“Observers are Worried”
What to make of it? Being something of an aficionado of science fiction films and also intrigued by the recent release by authorities of official documents relating to UFO visitations to Britain (!), it seemed like a message from the stars. We are being watched. Aliens are decidedly jittery regarding what we are doing to Earth, that most desirable and eternally entertaining of holiday destinations for the more affluent among them. They are so concerned they are communicating their fears via messages on Accra taxis!
This surely beats corn circles. Not to mention the creamed potato mountains in Close Encounters of the Third Kind which Richard Dreyfus realised were a sure sign that there was intelligence out there and it was coming to visit and that the mash sculpture portrayed the exact topographical spot.
Aliens are bright enough to send us messages in the appropriate language…. Look around you.