Do you think inanimate objects are alive?

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Adam-Anti-Um
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13 Apr 2009, 9:39 am

Oh, ABSOLUTELY!!

Even to this day I think so. Though my perception doesn't tell me that inanimate objects are "alive" per-sa, but rather that they have a will, and the power to implement that will to manifest in maliscious ways towards me, especially when I am feeling at my lowest.

My car for example, which I guess I have exaserbated this situation by personifying it with a name and personality. Th car itself is an old Rover Metro C. So old it has a manual choke. Her name is Betty Blue, or BB for short, named partly for her similarity to "The Betty" vessel from Alien Resurrection, and partly coz she's blue.

Now due t9o the fact that she was manufactured in 1993, you can imagine she has a few infrequent teething problems and a couple of more major problems that has caused me much exhasperation due to the fact that she is my car, and my first car at that. I rfely on her for my freedom and transportation.

Anyway, during the most recent problems, I remember she wouldn't start and I actually said out loud "Betty, if you don't start I swear to god I'm taking you down the crushers".

And she immediately fired up. hehehe.

But with all this said, yes I do believe at times, with the aid of my wonderful paranoia, that inanimate objects are more than they appear. Not however necessarily alive though.


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Jamin
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13 Apr 2009, 12:55 pm

Sora wrote:
Maybe you still catch yourself thinking it sometimes before correcting yourself because you know better?


Being an adult can certainly be kind of a drag, eh? :D

Of course I did! But even now, I take care of and never abuse any kind of items or equipment, and waste nothing. And in return, they have always operated as asked.

It is hard to throw anything away...but then one never needs for anything.


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Morgana
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13 Apr 2009, 2:38 pm

alba wrote:

On an absolute non-local level, however, we're all made of the same stuff and everything resonates and communicates with everything else. Distinctions between life and non-life, to me, are basically useless from a non-linear perspective.
z

You expressed this perfectly; my thoughts exactly!

Anyway...

When I was a child, I felt sorry for the toys I didn´t play with much. I also felt sorry for the clothes I didn´t wear much, and sometimes I would try to wear them to make them feel better. I also used to think that every doll I owned was a real person somewhere. I thought that was what made us live, that someone somewhere was controlling us; if I felt lonely and my life was boring, I imagined myself as a discarded doll on some girl´s shelf somewhere. I felt obligated to make up nice lives for my dolls, so they wouldn´t be sad like me. (I did this mostly through my imagination, or I took them places).

As an adult, I see some of these tendencies, though not as much. Most big things that I rely on- (car, computer)- have had some kind of live essence for me. If an appliance doesn´t work well, or breaks a lot, I get offended, and think of it as being "ornery" or "moody". If it works well for me, I love it, and I think of it as being "dedicated". I always have been a little superstitious about things, too.


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kissmyarrrtichoke
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13 Apr 2009, 6:59 pm

YESSS!! FINALLY!
I think Toy Story had alot to blame for the toys part, but that was just a 'I wonder if...' thing.
However I used to and still have a problem with throwing some things away due to thinking they may have feelings, even stupid little pieces of junk or paper! I hate changing cars (I get used to them obviously) and because I see all cars as having faces in their lights and numberplates and they all have personalities, some looke evil, some look gentle etc and I feel getting rid of them may upset them because we don't want them any more. I feel sorry for the things I throw away and still cannot sell things, I find it so much easier to donate to charity shops rather than post away to someone new. I used to photograph packages and letters I sent to my German penfriend for Chrissakes. WEIRD OR WHAT
I have thought about this alot, how strange it is :?

Quote:
If an appliance doesn´t work well, or breaks a lot, I get offended, and think of it as being "ornery" or "moody". If it works well for me, I love it, and I think of it as being "dedicated".
ME TOO!


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Chobitsfan
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13 Apr 2009, 11:52 pm

I have a doll named Brenda I consider her my girlfriend. I watch TV and movies with her. Her favorite TV shows are Family Guy, and American dad her favorite movie is Dedication
I am in love with her and she is very much alive to me.



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14 Apr 2009, 12:01 am

I work in antiques... there is a living history to things as they persevere, characteristics they take on... almost a personality.


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31 May 2011, 7:07 am

Hello. I'm not sure if this is the place to write this, but this post is the first one I have ever read from WrongPlanet, and it made me seriously think I might have Aspergers. I have always displayed practically all the traits, but they have never affected how I act physically, just the way I think about things, and so I assumed that I must just have traces of it but not the full thing.

But then today, my week-old umbrella broke, and I was walking around with the handle in one hand and the rest in the other, and I told my friend that "if I were anyone else, I would seriously consider returning this umbrella to the store, but of course I'm not going to do that because I don't want to make it feel bad, and because then all of that effort 'breaking it in' would have been for nothing".

My friend laughed and said he wondered what actually went through my head at times like these, and although I had tried to explain my position of "thinking to things" several times to him, I used the occasion to try again. I told him the following:

"Ok, take this umbrella handle. Hold on to it. Now seriously consider for a moment that it can hear you think. Imagine that it truly does have thoughts of its own. Imagine that it also contains all of the thoughts which I have imparted to it. It completely changes the things you want to think about, doesn't it? You don't want to think, 'oh, what a crappy umbrella, it broke', because you feel like you are insulting it. You know, without it having to react at all, that it feels insulted, and so you decide not to think of it as a crappy umbrella anymore. Now imagine that everything you see before you has just this same sentience. That's why I don't want to return it to the shop."

He seemed almost able to sympathise with this, and he said that he did feel that way about certain buildings - in that he often felt like he could read the building's thoughts and it could read his. But he had never felt this way about an umbrella, or clothes, or food, or a soft toy, or other mundane items that he dealt with on an every day basis.

He then proceeded to question me about whether I treated a wall or a brick as a single entity, or a word or a letter, and I realised quite miraculously that whichever object I focused on, even if it was a subset of a bigger object, I assigned that object sentience, and that shortly after forgetting that object, its sentience ceased to bother me. Even my own hands seem to have a sentience of their own, particularly when they play the piano or something. All of a sudden, I became acutely aware of just how many potential objects there were in the immediate vicinity, and it felt for a moment as if the whole world was listening.

I completely agree with all the comments so far - I hate letting things go, especially to the rubbish bin. But I also "think to things" a lot when they are brand new. I always want to justify all of my thoughts to a new object, because there is no way it will understand me straight away. I have no need to justify my thoughts to objects which are 'used to' me, and so after wearing a new shirt or using a new umbrella about half a dozen times, I just assimilate with it, and don't have to treat it so much as a separate entity any more. This is what makes it so hard for me to let things go - because they have either become an integral part of me, or haven't yet had the chance to, and the loss of either of these things would be dreadful.

Anyway, upon getting home, I googled "talking to inanimate objects", to see if I was not alone, and came up with nothing better than a couple of Yahoos saying they liked to yell at their computer (go figure - who doesn't?), so I then tried "thinking to objects", and although that is not strictly the title of this forum, I was led here, and all of the things that everyone does here resonated with me so strongly that I was convinced to create an account. I love the Brave Little Toaster!

Obviously this wasn't completely out of the blue - I have always suspected that I have at least mild Aspergers, if for no other reason than that I have always been considered a "gifted/"genius"" child, and that I like to do things like memorising pi, and singing the alphabet backwards, but that's just because I can, and because I find it amazing fun.

Then recently I discovered the concept of "Synesthesia", which you all probably already know of I suppose, as assigning personalities or colours etc. to things, and I had such a fantastic time comparing my versions of letters to the statistical norms - my 'a' is definitely red, for example, but there is no way that my 'e's are yellow - although I only 'feel' the colours of various letters and numbers etc., and don't actually experience what you would call 'real' synesthesia. So I still thought I probably didn't have Aspergers, but it was enough for me to go out and buy Daniel Tammet's book, though I haven't read it yet.

But this action of assigning sentience to inanimate objects is such a crucial and irreversible part of the way I think, that, if it truly is a trait of people with Aspergers, I can see no alternative. I have always felt that nobody else out there thinks the way I do, and frankly having Aspergers would explain a lot. I'm just not too sure, because I have always been told that people with Aspergers don't understand metaphors/analogies, while I thrive on them.

Diagnose me, someone, please!
And if you think I do have Autism or Aspergers or something, I don't suppose you know of a place in New Zealand where I could meet some like-minded souls?
Sorry this is so long. I think I tried to cover too much ground. That's always my weakness.



MotownDangerPants
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31 May 2011, 7:25 am

As a very young kid, I thought that I WAS certain objects, specifically that talking blue chair from Pee Wee's Playhouse.

But not as an adult. I do have an attachment to certain objects but not because I think they have feelings.

As far as I know, projecting thoughts and feelings onto inanimate objects is a sign of schizophrenia.



Samara1991
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31 May 2011, 5:26 pm

Yep and it drives everyone nuts... I cant stand to throw a stuffed animal out because i think it has feelings and i start to cry...



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31 May 2011, 5:42 pm

This is one of those things about myself that I really don't like. If someone falls over, that's their fault and they need to suck it up. But if I drop my calculator on the floor, aww... poor calculator.


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31 May 2011, 5:50 pm

I remember when I was a child I hit my head on the top bunk. My dad spanked the thing to make me feel better but I felt bad about it so I put a band-aid on the spot.



aghogday
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31 May 2011, 6:39 pm

glider18 wrote:
Though my common sense says inanimate objects are not alive---I still regard them as having feelings. I have always done this. When I was a child I used to roam through the garbage and dig out certain things---broken toys, etc. and bring them back into the house. I still do it---and I am 44 years old.

When I was in junior high school I couldn't find my Christmas stocking that I had since I was little---and I mourned over it. At school it was about all I could think about. Finally, the stocking turned up.

But I am still like that. Is this an Asperger's thing? I think I read about it once, but I can't remember for sure how they worded it on this. I am interested to know.


Ironically, it is the cornerstone of the "extreme female brain theory", which is in opposition to Cohen's "extreme male brain theory". It is theorized that people that strongly personify inanimate objects may have stronger than normal emotions. But, to me, it is common sense that we do this as a method of differentiating our environment, particularly for those of us that may think in more of a visual way than verbal way, and have problems with executive function.

If we lived by instinct and did not have spoken language, it would be to our advantage for every object to have it's own personality and unique feeling for us. We assign the emotion based on our experience of the object. It is a way to differentiate the environment, beyond language, making it an easier one to navigate. The times in my life, that I was "connected", the path in life was an easier one to navigate.

In periods of alexithymia, I cannot make the connection to objects or people, but at other times everything in the environment had a specific feeling for me. Walking in a huge store with retail objects stacked to the ceiling was as emotionally overwhelming as all the people that were there, the feelings were extremely intense. And at other times the feelings were pleasant and made life feel like it was full of wonder.

Overall, to me it is the best experience of life one can live; being connected personally to all things in life in a positive way. Unfortunately, it can become a connection of negativity, overwhelming feelings in general, or close to non-existent. I'll take the overwhelming feelings over the negativity or non-existence of those feelings any day.

Interestingly too, it can be a sign of extreme empathy.

Maybe Cohen's theory of the "extreme male brain" applies to some on the spectrum, but judging from the response on this thread, lack of emotion and empathy is far from evident in many of the people responding here. If one puts a bandaid on an inanimate object, that is extreme empathy, not lack of it. Mourning over a Christmas stocking is also a sign of extreme empathy. And not being able to deal with a loved one's pain or misery can be a sign that one is overwhelmed by empathy, instead of not experiencing it.

New studies on mirror neurons indicate that overactive neurons make a person have empathy for others that is so strong that when they see someone being touched they actually feel it on their body. If overactive neurons are part of the reason people experience personification as strong as they do; there goes another myth of Autism, at least for some people on the spectrum.



Last edited by aghogday on 31 May 2011, 9:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.

takeapart
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31 May 2011, 7:37 pm

I have not felt an object has feelings, maybe the car..
but I have the following object thingies

- I had a very nice stereo once, I had to use it daily as until I did it had a vector to me to use it.
- I had a bicycle for sale and two buyers turned up, they both said 400 was a good price for the bike, but one person continued to argue that he would use it more, therefore he should get it. I
considered it would get a better home for a bit with him. Odd to think of it's future like that.
- Just got offered a wok, it was used by an expert in cooking, I refused as I could not provide
it a good retirement, it deserved more. (it also would sit there and have a vector for use).

Did you ever hit a tv? If so how could you?



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31 May 2011, 9:04 pm

I tend to treat machines like they are alive... I also get sad when it comes time to toss something out, such as shoes. I feel bad because they've served me well and now I'm throwing them away, I actually use to have a whole collection of old shoes lined up in the closet because I couldn't bring myself to toss them.


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Ghonasiflaids
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31 May 2011, 10:07 pm

No.



Daryl_Blonder
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31 May 2011, 11:37 pm

An interesting concept... I always thought telephone poles almost seemed alive, especially the ones with street lamps.

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