Abstraction and Anthropomorphism

Petrified Tree Botswana


Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human traits, emotions, or intentions to non-human entities. It is indeed similar to Pareidolia which  is a phenomenon of recognizing patterns, shapes and familiar objects like  faces when they do not actually exist. Both concepts have ancient roots and many early cultures there are stories and tales of anthropomorphized animals as characters. Theories range from extraterrestrial encounters and just about every other concept around. Quite simply when something can’t be explained cultures always try to come up with an explanation.

I am intrigued that these phenomena occur so readily in abstraction. I was in Botswana and glanced at a something that appeared to be a Pinocchio like character almost a marionette like puppet. The more I looked the more real it became and yet in reality it was simply a form on a wonderful Petrified Tree.
One of the qualities that makes and abstraction work is if the abstraction keeps you staring at it and asking more and more questions about what you see and not what it is.


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