Anthropomorphism

As humans we like to anthropomorphize things. We like to describe and explain the activity of non-human things in terms of human activity. This is super helpful in getting a better understanding of complicated phenomena, but I also think sometimes we forget that there’s a line there. We ascribe cognition and autonomy in places where it isn’t, and we assign motive to things that simply lack the capacity for it. In some ways I think oversimplifies things and can actually inhibit our understanding of the world around us.

Other animals don’t think the way we do (most of the time), neither do bacteria, or proteins, or refrigerators. They’re simply just existing under the constraints of the natural world. Viruses don’t lick their lips and drool at the prospect of infecting humans. They are more or less a large cluster of molecules that favor (in the least human way possible) their own replication. They aren’t concerned about their population or the population of their hosts… or anything for that matter, they just are.

As humans, we are a much bigger cluster molecules, we are self-aware, and we have a capacity for understanding the world, but does that make us much different? Not as much as we like to think.

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