chukar ember jan 6, 2013 kelly ck 077

It is a curious thing we humans do with many aspects of nature. Calling it “her” as if it can be either feminine or masculine to begin with, or giving elements outside ourselves any other attributes that are human like, is ironically only human nature. The fancy word “anthropormorphic” simply stands for the idea that humans attribute human characteristics to things that are not human.

chukar ember jan 6, 2013 kelly ck 047

Mother Earth, Father Sun, Old Man Winter, Grandmother Ocean, Grandfather Time, just to get started on a few such examples.  We give female names to ships and storms, male names to deities and monsters, and animal names to describe weather conditions and various aspects of life situations in general.  March roars in like a lion, but goes out like a lamb; birds of a feather flock together; meaner than a hornets nest; making a mountain out of a molehill; straw that broke the camels back; raining cats and dogs; a crocodile smile; messier than a pigs sty, a fly in the ointment; …and on and on.


While rafters seek gnarly whitewater runs, surfers pursue gargantuan big wave rides, and mountaineer’s go through hell to reach heavenly peaks, the emotions and aspirations encountered along the way are most often described in anthropomorphic terms.  A hippo of a wave, sliding down the dragons spine, or seeking an eagles view atop the world, all help give animation to our humanly  pursuits. We use these things to enliven our adventures.

chukar sugar jan 2, 2014 016

It seems our kind has a natural tendency to humanize everything. Perhaps it stems from some sort of deep-seated need to want to dominate nature.  How we manipulate our environment is prima facia evidence for that observation.

Is it that we cannot think of some other non-human metaphoric analogy?

At minimum, we seem only to better understand things by how they relate to us in our human centered world, by the feelings that are invoked.  To care for something, it must have some ability to care back, otherwise what would be the point?  What value is there if that “other” doesn’t care what we do?  Hopefully that aspect of human nature to give feelings to those things that cannot feel might be an internal mechanism in our DNA for us to not destroy things in the natural world. Our survival as a species depends on taking care of the things that nourish and sustain us. It is all in our own hands.

Protect the Earth