01 June 2007


I am shamelessly blogging from a borrowed idea posted this morning by "Moi" (http://bitetheapple64.blogspot.com), because while I concur that wild animals must always be regarded with the respect accorded to wild things, I do not necessarily agree that anthropomorphization is a bad or even unnatural trait, to wit:

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the earth's sweet-flowing breast.
– Joyce Kilmer

and from Mirriam Webster:

Main Entry: an·thro·po·mor·phize

ingtransitive verb : to attribute human form or personality to

intransitive verb : to attribute human form or personality to things not human - an·thro·po·mor·phi·za·tion mor-f&-'zA-sh&n/ noun

and Wikipedia ( see also Anthropomorphize)

Anthropomorphism is the attribution of uniquely human characteristics and qualities to nonhuman beings, inanimate objects, or natural or supernatural phenomena. Animals forces of nature and unseen or unknown sources of chance are frequent subjects of anthropomorphosis. The term is derived from two Greek words, ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos), meaning human, and μορφή (morphē), meaning shape or form. The suffix '-ism' originates from the morpheme-ισμός or -ισμα in the Greek language.
It is a common and seemingly natural tendency for humans to perceive inanimate objects as having human characteristics, one which some suggest provides a window into the way in which humans perceive themselves. Common examples of this tendency include naming cars or begging machines to work. In 1953, the U.S.government began assigning hurricanes names; initially the names were feminine, and shortly thereafter masculine names were introduced.

"... the attribution of uniquely human characteristics and qualities to nonhuman beings..." seems like a rather natural human quality. It also seems to be an excellent way of adapting and communicating with our environment. Without having experience as a rock, tree, hurricane or wild animal; I can only interact with the skills with which I have been endowed. I can observe, handle and touch, smell and taste;as well as be aware of my own physical/emotional/spiritual reaction to my environment.

My world consists of a quiet and peaceful space surrounded by natural beauty and inhabited by me and my two canine companions. Being of sound mind and body, with better than average observational skills; I am fully cognizant that my two companions are... four-legged animals.

They have different tastes in food, entirely different hygiene behaviors, decidedly limited communication skills, and a far more even- temperament. Clearly: they are not human beings. And yet, I do receive more than my share of warmth, affection, playfulness and protection.

They are clearly--to my way of thinking-- aware of my radically changing moods/behavior and while I don't think they understand them, necessarily, they have adapted their behavior to me.

I have no interest or tolerance for dressing animals in costumes or providing birthday parties-- but, I will do everything in my power to provide for them and protect them. And yes, love them to pieces-maybe a little more *conditionally*than they love me.

And one further word of enlightenment;"Don't anthropomorphize computers: they hate that".

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