Posted on April 7, 2011
People often anthropomorphize, sometimes seeing facial or other human features in plants or inanimate scenes, and often ascribing human feelings and emotions to pets, to wild animals, and even to important religious abstractions. This human tendency to anthropomorphize can provide comfort or cause unease, depending on the situation. The desire to find human attributes in the non-human may reflect our social nature and the importance of social context in our understanding of the world around us. And it is a good thing if it also encourages empathy for other living things and the environment.
I wonder if the increased speed of our civilization, increased electronic connectivity, and a corresponding reduction in time for contemplation and meaningful face to face contact with each other and with the natural world will affect the desire (or ability) to anthropomorphize — or to empathize.