One journey I was on lead me to contemplate the personality characteristics of inanimate objects. Over what was likely a few minutes but held the weight of eternity, I came to intimately observe and acquaint myself with the flame, the wick, the candle.
Some years later, this moment has not faded for me. I have recently found amusement in how we use words to bring to life that which is not “alive” in the same way we are, though life has a life of its own. For example, we say that a table has legs, a chair has arms, that a clock has a face and hands, that it tells the time, that a bottle has a neck, that a stool has feet and a book has a spine. This is where it begins: Us seeking meaningful connections between ourselves and these objects we interact with. Perhaps this was just simple naming, perhaps to provide us with something slightly richer to identify with. Who knows! But I find it fascinating.
Another level that I see branching off from this is how we, through dexterous use of language, metaphors and similes often integrate aspects of nature into our own human experience. For example: “Her words blew a gale through their assumptions”; “The disarming power of the little boy’s innocent, uninhibited questioning was piercing sunshine in her dark world of worry”; “Waves of euphoria flooded her being and she floated on their ocean, sublimating straight to joy”.
So we give human characteristics to inanimate objects, and we liken our own human experience to that of nature. I see it like this: Humans come from nature (and return to it), and humans make objects. The relationship between these things Nature > Humans > Objects is an interesting one. How we as humans experience nature can be indescribably profound, but we have created objects generally for a purpose (including art etc).There is benefit in us looking to nature to see “things”/objects/function in it (using wood for fires for example) but humans have got a little carried away here and abuse resources. So too, on the flip side, danger creeps in when we treat things/objects better than we treat nature and people. We need to check ourselves, and to remember our origin, our kind and our deep roots that stretch back further in time than we can comprehend.
We need not define these things, as the lines between things are increasingly blurry I find and labels always end up being restrictive. But I do enjoy this tangent because it inspires me to see the human in nature, the nature in the object, the nature in the human, the human in the object. And perhaps the ones we neglect the most – the most obvious – the nature in the nature, the human in the human, the nature in ourselves and the human in ourselves. More and more, I see these as the same thing.
It serves no one for us to forget where we come from. Our nature and our humanity are intrinsically connected, just as we all are. As humans it is in our nature to relate to everything around us – ourselves, nature, others and objects. Our challenge is to leave a positive legacy and trace as we go and to recognise how we treat ourselves and the people, things and world around us.