TED Conversations

Sneha Iyer

Human Resources Executive,

This conversation is closed.

Why do we associate human characteristics with animals?

I've been party to many games where I've been asked to describe myself or those around me in reference to an animal, or sometimes a bird. Why do we/or did we, begin this association? How is it that phrases such as sly as a fox, quick as a rabbit, wise as an owl or loyal as a dog come to be?

I find it curious when, in a larger scope, man has struggled and taken efforts to differentiate oneself from animals and prove to be a better being. Yet, sometimes, describing someone as a 'pig' or a 'cat' tells me more about his human-ness.

Would like to know your thoughts.

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Jan 17 2013: When you look at nature you get to see how a being in animal form responds based upon it's instincts, inbred nature and response to the environment. We, as humans, can learn through observation of the natural world many things because of its purity and lack of animosity. After all, we many times don't realize the difference nor beauty between our so called "moral" existence vs the amoral existence of animals.

    In looking at human behavior, you can see that when someone is being "sneaky" they change their movements to mimic that of an animal also considered sneaky. Think and visualize it, really, it becomes more apparent once you are attuned to its existence.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.