One of the most well know form of anthropomorphism is the way it takes place in the religion of Christianity. If you are Christian or know someone of that religion, you know how much the crucifix is valued. It is treated as though a miniature Jesus is at their disposal. When things get out of control or just thanking the Christian God for life events, the crucifix is spoken to, cried on, prayed to, as if the crucifix is not only a symbol or Christianity but as if Jesus was actually right there. There is another example of anthropomorphism in Christianity through the host. In a Catholic mass the observers go up to the altar to receive the “body and blood of Christ.” This is an extreme form of anthropomorphism or actually seeing the bread and wine as flesh and blood.
Although, Christianity is not the only religion that uses anthropomorphism. Another is Hinduism, but they do it in a slightly different way. When a statue of one of the gods, Lakshmi for example, is prepared to be the host or consternation of a new temple, once the statue is completed they pray to the Lakshmi, not the statue, to lend a part of her spirit to inhabit the statue. After that ceremony is completed, then and only then, is the statue prayed to. Then for as long as the temple stands the Hindus in the area treat this statue as if it were a person, a god; putting flowers on them, make up, helping the god celebrate with things that correspond with the Hindu holiday. And sometimes if they want to rebuild the temple or relocate it, they have to burn , or just destroy the statue. Why? Because when they prayed to the god they want to inhabit the statue, they ask them to be connected to this specific temple. But they cannot just destroy it. Just like the making of the statue, the destruction of it has its own ceremony. They, in short, tell the god that they no longer are needed in that form, thank them for watching over that specific temple, then after that ceremony are they able to destroy the statue. Once that ceremony is done, the statue is not just that, a statue, there is nothing that makes it holy anymore. Both Christians and Hindus still observe these forms of anthropomorphism, but we, partake in this without really realizing it.
The most famous anthropomorphized being is a mouse named Mickey. He has such human attributes, clothes, shoes, a voice, that we forget he is a mouse. Almost all the non-human characters in the Disney universe are anthropomorphized; even if they have not clothing or do not speak. Although, it is not only Disney. Most all of children shows have one form of anthropomorphization in one form or another; Big Bird, Arthur, Franklin. Anthropomorphism is not limited to children shows. Some video games, such as in Sly Cooper or Sonic the Hedgehog, all the characters are an example of anthropomorphism, Also, in commercials there are hamsters, hearts, and a whole bunch of other beings that can walk, and in the case of the hamsters, drive. But why do we humans have the tendency to anthropomorphize things that are not human living in a world that is full of humans?
I think that this is a left over from our childhoods. When children are growing up and are playing with their toys, whether it be a stuffed bear or a doll, they speak to it and have it speak back. Having this stimulous at such a young age, when can it stop? Should it stop? I, and this is my opinion, do not think it should. As we get older, we take on having pets as companions when there is no one around to talk to, and give them personalities. Sometimes this is all it takes for them to stay sane and avoid depression. Even as young adults, this is not my opinion, we tend to do this, very much, and modern adults, young and old, usually do it towards electronics. Be it a computer (laptop or desktop), a cellphone, if we drop it, or get angry at it, we feel bad after. Or we try to bargain with them to work or to hold on if their batteries are dying. Anthropomorphism looks like just another normal stage of life that does not seem to be leaving the human race anytime soon. Whether it be Mickey, Captain Komamura (image below), Sonic, a random commercial anthropomorphism, a laptop, or a cellphone, we sometimes forget they are not human; then we see them as ones who we can relate to, see them as equals...as...human.
Please feel free to comment on what you thought of the blog, or other physical anthropological subjects you would like me to cover.
Is the example of anthropomorphism below adorable? Do you not just want to hug him or have him read a story to you? <---- that is an example of an anthropomorphism state of mind.