Trees Are Too Damned Sensitive

Posted: January 8, 2014 in General Rants, Uncategorized

Anthropomorphising is the attributing of human characteristics to non-human objects. Ranging from objects that are similar to humans, such as animals, to those that are decidedly not, like lamps.

One of my favourite tv commercials of all time is one from Ikea, which illustrates this phenomenon brilliantly.

Some might argue that the music and staging with the depressing rain creates the sense that this poor lamp has feelings.  But consider this short video clip.

I use this video clip in talks I give to various groups and people from 8 to 80 are able to articulate the story that they see. They are able to attribute personality traits, thoughts and emotions to the characters. This is truly astounding when you consider the actual content of the clip – lines and shapes moving about on a screen!

Humans are exceptionally good at anthropomorphising because we are painfully egocentric.  This is the way we are, therefore everything under the sun must be too.  We don’t actually know the experiences of other things, so we project our own onto them as our best guess. Dogs, creatures that don’t even understand not to look at your hand when you are pointing to something, through the absurdity of anthropomorphisation have deep and complex thoughts about the world.  Even more strangely they can be quite critical if they spy you doing something stupid.  I’m pretty sure I’ve had a cat roll her eyes at me.  The mind boggles at what she could have been thinking. Whatever it was could probably be summed up with “stupid human”.

The truth is, we’ll never know what cats are thinking. We don’t even know if they think as we define it – their brains are the size of walnuts for pity’s sake!

Well, I’ve taken this absurdity one step further.  I’ve attributed a tree with abilities that even humans don’t possess.


Yes, telepathy.

There is a tree I pass every day on the way to work.  A very strange tree, of the like I’ve never seen before.


It has very rough, splintered bark.


In the winter, when it had no leaves, I had the thought that it was ugly.

And then I felt guilty. As if it could read my thoughts AND feel hurt by them.

To this day I feel a little bad when I walk past it. I tried to think better of it as spring arrived and it grew leaves and blossomed with strange, white, puff-ball flowers.

It is absolutely absurd to think the tree could possibly know that I thought it was ugly, let alone care! And that I mentally tried to make amends.

And if it did, it would take one look at me and think “Whatever, have you seen your hair?”

Further proof that I am indeed crazy.

  1. Roger says:

    Poor tree! What if you prematuely lost your leaves….say in your early 30s, when you thought your leaves would be around much longer than you thought. Stop being mean t bald people….I mean trees.

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