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December 07, 2009

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I was listening to a thing on the radio about Spirit. I know it's totally anthropomorphizing, but I feel sorry for it, and somehow think of it as brave.

I know exactly what you mean - it's why we use words like "plucky" and "intrepid." You'll see that, in the video of NASA's trying to figure out how to extricate the rover, it's referred to as female - and now it's a "damsel in distress." I had some other ideas to add at the end of this post, but I really liked the New Scientist editorial comment for exactly this reason - it acknowledges the satisfaction we derive from anthropomorphizing. And I will readily admit that I struggled to avoid over-anthropomorphizing sand grains in my book.

Sometimes anthromorphizing helps us to empathetically connect outside of ourselves or our species, whether it be with an in-antimate object or other life forms. It it is unique, endearing quality of our consciousness, that I think can be put to good and compassionate use at times.

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