Tuesday, March 27, 2007


This elephant seems really happy

Today I read about Twiggy the water skiing squirrel. That got me thinking about how obsessed humans seem to be about anthropomorphoism. Anthropomorphoism is the attribution of human characteristics, qualities or behavior to non-human beings---usually forces of nature, inanimate objects, or animals.
Hence, we 'name' our cars, talk to our computers, call the wind "angry," and are immensely amused when
animals act like humans.
Why are we so amused and compelled by talking cats, elephants painting pictures, squirrels water skiing, dogs watching t.v., and chimpanzees reading the newspaper?
((aside: one of the most
EFFECTIVE advertising techniques (besides naked ladies & babies) is cute talking animals)).

Well, I don't know. But here are some further thoughts..... Is anthropomorphosizing animals a way of confirming our superiority? Or it is our way of
loving these fellow creatures?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think we'd rather think that animals are like us than the other way around. Also, we are such a curious species: Let's see what happens if........we train an elephant to paint, a dog to ride a tricycle, a frog to sing "Ragtime Gal" (remember Bugs Bunny!?) Also we are the only species to self-reference, to be self-conscious to conceive of the world in terms of self and other and so we get a kick out of making animals do things in our image I suppose. Lastly, we get bored and want to be entertained.