Wednesday, 21 September 2011

What's your car called? and are you sorry?

Anthropomorphism, for those of you who don't already know, includes the bestowing of a human personality on a non-human thing eg. an object or animal.

We all do it all the time, without even thinking about it. We swear at inanimate objects which won't co-operate - just like I almost did at my watch which was clacking on the side of the laptop until I threw it off in annoyance.  We expect our animals to understand when we've had a hard day at work, and why we don't want them dragging their water-dribbling mouths across our study books.   We name our cars (well, sometimes) and talk to birds and plants as if they understand what we're saying.

We often don't understand why others react in situations differently from how we would react.   'How could they have done that?' 'Oh my goodness what possessed her to buy that coat'.  'Look at the way that idiot man is driving' 'That woman was so rude'.   We attribute other people with our own values and beliefs and assume everybody thinks the same way, but they don't.  I suppose we think that our way of seeing the world is the right way, so people who don't are somehow inferior.

Today I heard on the news a judge describe a murderer as displaying an "extraordinary and chilling lack of remorse". Oh really?

Reading the news story, Andrew Lindo strikes me as having psychopathic tendencies or similar.  None of his behaviour was that of a 'normal' human being - from the double life, to the murder to the huge lies he told to family and friends.  Yet the judge was surprised that he showed no remorse?  Did he expect Lindo to turn round and say "I'm really sorry, I didn't mean to do it"?  Did he really think it extraordinary that he did not?

Is it realistic to expect a psychopath to show remorse - I suspect not.  By definition, a psychopath does not have the same social values or way of thinking as the average person. Why then do we expect them to suddenly react like an average person?

Is that not the same as expecting a dog to apologise for coming in without wiping his feet?


  1. That mode of thinking always crossed my mind when I worked in a school and we had children who were 'special needs' I don't like that term the term I used was differing needs and how the drive in the school was to make them fit in with what was considered normal, what non special needs children do. I always tried to adapt my thinking to as close to them as I could as we who consider our self normal (where not by the way) were more adaptable in our thought patterns and behaviour than say an autistic child. Sometimes I would have liked them to not be as young and then they could have given me some insight on how they saw the world.

  2. Also on the expecting human behaviour of a dog my neighbour has just been showing one of his dogs the cushion that it chewed up then smacked its bum. When it should be the pleb next door who maybe should read some books about dogs and realise if you lock your dogs out side then they are going to get bored and showing them something hours after they have done it is not going to teach your dog anything.

    and on another note if I see anything harder than that quick smack or those quick smacks are seen regularly then I gonna RSPCA their ass. Gosh some people really should not have dogs.

  3. Hi Chibi J. I agree re the children - and goes back to some of my previous posts about 'what is normal?' Your attitude sounds a lot more helpful to them than trying to get them to fit in.

    And the neighbour! so right about that. When will people learn that - I'm sure they do it to make themselves feel better. I would be castigating myself for leaving the cushion there!

  4. In Australia we had a little green Dihatsu car, called Marty. He was cute! Now we have a big gold old man Volvo called Roy. He is not cute! And yesterday Bowser sat in a muddy puddle (I assume) and came in the house without cleaning himself. I told him off like he was a naughty child...he just looked at me blankly. Great post! xx

  5. Oh.

    I'm sooooo busted. Anthropomorphism is my deal. Everything is alive, well and a bit oppositional and playful in nature.
    Bit like me. LOL

    On occasion I run into a compliant, subservient mechanical pencil. He usually doesn't stick around long--people steal him.


    And for the record, I don't expect apologies from a psychopath. If one happened, I'd be moving far, far away and changing my name.

  6. i also had that reaction to the very same judge.......and my radio. I told the readio Exactly what I thought about the judge....sigh.


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