Anthropomorphism today

I must quote this interesting analogy on Anthropomorphism by Deepak Mankar (QuiteATake fame … yours truly on HT):

The trouble with poetry is that it doesn’t call a spade a spade. Anthropomorphic language tends to confuse every issue. For instance, if you call a piece of real estate motherland or fatherland, you’re bound to confound the confusion by believing yourself in the role of her/his gallant son/daughter and transferring a host of human attributes and emotions to her/him.

In the wake of the recent deluge in Mumbai, people have been talking about ‘Nature’s ‘revenge’, ‘Nature striking back’, etc. All this fancy stuff merely alludes to a sequence of events where greedy and callous people misbehaved and Nature continued to behave as it always does according to the Cosmic Law. If you reclaim land from the sea, the sea will flow somewhere else when the high tide is in. If you block the flow of water, it will find an alternate course. Making Nature into a malevolent villain shrewdly shifts the focus of the discussion from working towards a solution of the problem to telling the tragic tale of human suffering and endurance.


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