We are constantly imposing ourselves in the world.
Anthropomorphising is giving human characteristics to nonhuman things. An example would be in the past when a volcano exploded and the Greeks would say, “The gods are angry. ” They used human emotions to come up with an explanation for why the volcano exploded. I would also call the Greeks way of thinking as metaphor. Metaphor refers to the basic way of thinking or understanding that humans experience. We do this all the time and we have to do it because it is just how we think. That is why I believe we always anthropomorphise.
I also think that we are unconscious of our anthropomorphising because it is so built into our way of thinking and is inherently part of us. In George Lakoff’s and Mark Johnson’s book Metaphors We Live By, they reveal several metaphors that we unconsciously follow and “live by. ” They identify a source domain which would be a physical characteristic and then a target domain which would be the emotional and abstract meaning. For instance, a source domain would be a journey and a target domain for it would be life.
It seems to me that they are pointing out something very common because we often associate or describe life as a type of journey.Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” describes how a traveller takes the road less travelled but we realize that the poem is really about life. I think that we are unaware of how much of our language is really from the source domain. Mainly because it is natural and normal for us to hear sayings such as “Life is a long journey. The road of life has many bumps and potholes.
I’m not finished with this journey. ” We often mark our lives and describe things such as going to college as a “new adventure (journey). ” In literary arts, the idea of life being a journey is also a major theme.The source domain of space reveals how we see time: “A step back in time. Time’s moving too slowly. Time’s flying by. A step towards the future. ” Does time actually have a physical property? No, I don’t believe so.
But we still give it human-like capabilities because we are constantly anthropomorphising. Time doesn’t actually move a step or jump a square. It does not fly anywhere.
I believe we do this because it is just our way of understanding the idea of time and it is how we think. Another very common metaphor would be heat and explosion and the target domain of anger.He blew his top. She’s about to explode. She’s boiling mad. ” Again, the source domain is an inherent part of our language. We acquire it from the people around us and from our family. Human beings only recognize nonhuman sorts through human characteristics.
Therefore, our basic way of understanding is through anthropomorphising. We even describe monsters such as Frankenstein with human traits. Two eyes, a head, a nose, a mouth, legs and feet are all human characteristics. Why then would something we call a monster have similiar characteristics like ourselves?I think another interesting point is we essentially create these monsters by recognizing them. If we couldn’t recognize them, they would be nothing to us and therefore, we wouldn’t be afraid of them. For example, there has been some research done about computers and consciousness.
How will we know when computers have their own consciousness? I don’t think we will be able to recognize it because it will be something completely foreign and nonhuman. Hence, it would go undetected by us. A computer has a completely different body structure compared to humans.