Anthropomorphism is attirbuting human traits, emotions, and intentions onto non-human entities and this act of cognition is considered by some to be an innate tendency of human psychology.
Psychologists consider the concept a form of cognitive bias. We use brain patterns (schemas) to layer human qualities upon the non-human based on what we’ve come believe about the world we live in. Our ability to discern qualities and characteristics based on experience or knowledge allows us to make inferences about our environment, even if those inferences might be severly flawed.
This totally explains the relationship between a boy and his tiger.
Calvin’s need to anthropomorphize Hobbes springs from his lack of prior experience with things such as math homework, gravity or his mother’s homicidal oatmeal (see Letter O post later for this one). When lack of experience collides with an overwhelming necessity to interact with and understand your environment, you need a helper — someone else to tackle the math, challenge gravity and dispose of mom’s oatmeal.
Basically we all need a Hobbes.
This need makes us human — the desire to avoid going it alone into a vast, threatening and uncertain world. We all need a hand to hold even if it is stuffed, fuzzy and stripe-ish.
To everyone else, Hobbes is a toy. To Calvin he is compatriot, accomplice, occasional adversary and moral compass. The pile of fluff is “real” no matter what anyone says or thinks.
Without Hobbes, Calvin would be on this safari alone. Besides, when heading out on safari it certainly would be helpful, on multiple levels, to travel with a ferocious, albeit fuzz brained, man-eating tiger. Wouldn’t you agree?
Part of the Blogging From A to Z Challenge