26. Hit and Myth (12/2009)
The opposite of anthropomorphism must surely be the attribution of animal or god characteristics to humans. Ideas in arrears frequently steered towards hyperbole, applied in jest at best, or delivered with recklessly negative connotations, reinforce the delusion that animals are somehow inferior. Certain terminology becomes part of cultural consciousness, remaining fixed and unchallenged. Imposing false perceptions can misconstrue intentions. Emphasizing the otherness of animals severs our connection with nature thereby reducing vital contact with the living planet.
Bearing the brunt of a negative stunt, buried in archives distortions of good lives. Everybody knows that pigs are not dirty or fat: they like to wallow in mud exchanging chitchat. Mind tricks while mud sticks like a bad reputation. Snakes in the grass cruising home turf are friendly enough given a wide berth. Reactions of bitches and cows espouse feminist vows, exercising their rights with fairness and fights. Free will is unknown to the bird in a cage and lions on stage suppressing their rage. Creating the mule defiantly stubborn, no bun in the oven; do us a favour – forced manual labour. The point of no return, watching bridges burn, never looking back, we give a little slack. Ass will compromise by telling white lies elevating status, full of pomp and flatus; denigrating creatures that are really our teachers. All playing games of hide and seek, never revealing tongue in cheek. We mask our hidden fears like crocodiles in tears.
Shining qualities in animals raise delusions of grandeur to comical levels when used to rid the demons of human deficiency. The fanciful wish to swim like a fish; breathe under water, like lamb to the slaughter. While lovers envy ardent virility citing habits of rabbits, the slow satisfaction of tortoises in action opens wide the divide between humility and pride. Mr. Fox ever wry at being so sly loses his brains on computer games, but excels outwitting hares clocking sins for his dares. A symbol so strong the ox goes along; par for the course his elegant restraint of force. To be reckoned with arenas of laughing hyenas, an outrageous sense of humour’s worth starting a rumour. A mouse is only quiet because our world is a riot; with its relative size there is no surprise. Elephants at night parading their might are known to set pace with delicacy and grace. A clown is no fool and some geese are as wise taking owls by surprise. The most faithful friend is no match for Patch or Rover. The party is over. Smell the roses on waking; life isn’t worth faking. Individual merit is what we inherit, while collective banality leads to insanity.
Clichéd characteristics observed in animals highlight for us relative similarities, feelings and ways of being that also limit our understanding. Traits and states of mind observed in mankind are laid bare in the lair of bestial laisser-faire. Accusations of anthropomorphism are often invoked when people are choked by misguided notions passed as emotions. By avoiding projection we can openly experience animal emotions imagining with empathy. Broadening our concepts of communication opens the channels to fully appreciate the marvel of animals.