logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: damion-searls
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
review 2017-03-25 00:00
The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and The Power of Seeing
The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and The Power of Seeing - Damion Searls https://msarki.tumblr.com/post/158808822078/the-inkblots-hermann-rorschach-his-iconic-test

…cultures, and individuals within a culture, see things their own way…We see through our personal and cultural “lens”, according to the habits of a lifetime shaped by particular culture… One culture’s trackless wilderness is full of detailed and meaningful information specific plants and animals, for members of another culture… An enormous advantage of the Rorschach test is that it largely gets around these lenses—as Manfred Bleuler put it, it lets us strip off “the veils of convention.”

Frightening that a psychological evaluation based on the Rorschach Test can decide a legal case or job interview. A psychology fascinating to study and extremely interesting. Perhaps an intricate art form used as science. Nonetheless, a powerful tool no matter the consequences. Damion Searls has written not only a riveting study on the man Rorschach and his test, but what was to come from his labor and where it might be leading us now. A work crafted by a master wordsmith obviously willing to delve deeply into his subject. I could not recommend a book more highly than I do this one.

…Looking at a Rorschach blot is not as powerful an experience as taking a blot of acid, obviously, but they operate in analogous ways.
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-03-19 09:22
The Inkblots
The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and The Power of Seeing - Damion Searls

This title immediately interested me, even though I've always been skeptical about the Rorschach test. I've however never taken one, and I hold a degree in neither psychiatry nor psychology. But I'm a scientist, so the parts where Rorschach is optimizing his test (stating he needs many more subjects both healthy and diseases, blind interpretation of tests and a standardized form of scoring good and bad answers) were among my favorites, as it seemed quite far ahead of his time.

The book however, is more of a dual biography of Rorschach but especially his test. I liked the first part (also see above) which focused on Rorschach as he's developing his test. After his untimely death in the 1920s (which is only halfway through the book) the focus changes to what happened to the test afterwards.

This latter part had great trouble to hold my interest. It seemed to contain a series of always new people quarreling about who is the new Rorschach. It is here that the test starts to falter in the hands of people who all want to prove themselves (some trying to standardize it but resulting in over diagnosis of most everyone), although I was quite shocked to find out it can be used as evidence in court (since it is not an unquestioned test). This part is also filled with quite a lot of other test and terms from personality testing, not all of it is explained well enough that it is not confusing.

All in all, I really enjoyed the biography of Rorschach, I didn't quite like the one about his test as much.

Thanks to Blogging for Books and Edelweiss for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Like Reblog Comment
review 2014-10-30 00:00
Her Not All Her: On/With Robert Walser
Her Not All Her: On/With Robert Walser - Elfriede Jelinek,Damion Searls This is the sort of writing that demands more of me than I am. It is obvious to me that Elfriede Jelinek is one of the most gifted and intelligent writers working today. She is a treasure and should be read if not listened to. Stop all the feminist connections as she is much more than that. There is not a suitable box to fit her in. So there. And Robert Walser fans, pseudo or otherwise, might want to prepare themselves some time for a reading of this fine little book.
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2014-08-31 07:08
Life Goes On, by Hans Keilson
Life Goes On - Hans Keilson,Damion Searls

How can you pass up a book that was banned by the Nazis? Hans Keilson's rediscovered debut novel, Life Goes On, was published in 1932 (the last title by a Jewish author until the end of World War II) and was banned in 1934. According to the author's note at the end of the 2012 paperback edition by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Life Goes On is partially autobiographical. The family at the center of the book, the Seldersens, are not identified as Jewish, but the son, Albrecht, goes to university and makes a sort-of living as a musician as Keilson did before he emigrated to Holland...

 

Read the rest of my review at Summer Reading Project.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2013-08-15 00:00
A Schoolboy's Diary and Other Stories - Robert Walser, Damion Searls (Translator), Ben Lerner (Introduction) Faced with the prospect of reviewing a collection of short stories, which is probably my least favorite writing chore ever, I am choosing the easy way out. I am so taken with the tranquil, understated beauty of Walser's writing that I am most unwilling to disassemble his short stories into separate assessing criteria like style, essence, prose, theme, imagery and so on.
So what I'll do is convince you, dear uninitiated reader, to pick up this little gem, flip through its pages and discover for yourself the treasures embedded within without trying your patience by going into excruciating detail. And I'll let Walser speak on my behalf.

The initial few short stories are written from the point of view of a school boy in the format of short essays on various topics ranging from school, poverty, careers to friendship, politeness, nature and so on.
It is astonishing to note that despite the glaringly trite nature of these subjects, Walser manages to bring something new to the stories by adding a distinct touch of his own. His tone fluctuates between mildly sardonic and wistful to complacent and observant but unassuming.

Sample what he has to say about "School" -
"School is the unavoidable choker around the neck of youth, and I confess that it is a valuable piece of jewelery indeed. What a burden we would be to our parents, workers, passersby, shop owners, if we didn't have to go to school!"

And this is what he says about "Politeness"-
"The more big and important a polite person is, the more benevolence his civility has."

His astute observations on anger and conflict -
"Not only boys can bear grudges against other boys in such a way, so too just as well can grownups against grownups, mature adults against mature adults, and I would venture to say, nations against nations. A vengeance or revenge can collect in the heart of a nation due to self-regard that has been injured in various ways, and it grows and grows, without end, becomes more and more pressing, more and more painful rises up like a high mountain no longer to be cleared away, obstructs any mutual understanding, inhibits warm, healthy, reasonable reciprocal communication, turns into twitching nervous fury, and is so tyrannical and degrading that it can one day no longer be reined in and cries out wildly for bloody conflict."

There are references to nature, changing seasons and vivid descriptions of lush, green landscapes in the Swiss countryside aplenty.
"Autumn was beautiful, with its brownish melancholy that seemed attractive and happily right to me, while in May the blossoming trees and all the singing and wonderful smells plunged into sadness."

The short stories included in the latter half of the book seem to be written from different perspectives like that of modest young men about to enlist in the army or confused, lost writers trying to seek validation in a life fraught with failures and rejections. (This is vaguely autobiographical I believe.)
"Restlessness, uncertainty, and a premonition of a singular fate may have been what led me, in my sequestered isolation, to pick up my quill and attempt to create a reflection of myself."

Here are a few of his excellent ruminations on reading -
"A book bewitches and dominates us, it holds us spellbound, in other words it exerts a power over us, and we are happy to let such tyranny occur, for it is a blessing. Anyone captivated and gripped by a book for a given time does not use that time to initiate gossip about his dear fellow man, which is always a great and crude mistake."

And ahem, book snobs please do take note of the following-
"I have sometimes heard people talk about so-called harmful reading, e.g., infamous Gothic novels. That's another story we shall avoid getting into but we can say this much: the worst book in the world is not as bad as the complete indifference of never picking up a book at all. A trashy book is not nearly as dangerous as people sometimes think, and the so-called really good books are under certain conditions by no means as free of danger as people generally like to believe. Intellectual things are never as harmless as eating chocolate or enjoying an apple tart or the like. In principle, the reader just has to know how to cleanly separate reading from life."

Walser's short sentences gave me the impression of beads of morning dew collecting on blades of grass, the evanescent beauty of which evaporates away before we even have time enough to bask in its resplendence. But for as long as the novelty lasts, it is the most exquisite thing in the world.
He is not overly pedantic yet his writing reflects his keen understanding of nearly every topic under the sun and exudes immense charm and clarity.
"But soon enough he was cheerful again. Love of humanity and the sorrows thereof, a lust for life and the pain therefrom, rose exquisitely up like tall ghostly shapes in the pale, golden air of the summer evening. Softly the figures seemed to wave to him."

To conclude, this is a thoroughly delightful collection but I'll hold out on that 5-star rating until I read a full-fledged novel of his.

**A big thank you to netgalley for the digital ARC**
More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?