Anthropomorphism 2: Narcissus Narcosis

It is not those who yield to the appeal of anthropomorphism who reproduce the sad story of Narcissus but, rather, those who believe in its very existence. Those who see anthropomorphism about them in the discourses of science and culture, whether they would eliminate it or extol its utility, believe, at heart, in a distinct and recognizable human form. Both parties see animals transformed, recast with human features. . . . Those who believe in the possibility of this species narcissism fail to appreciate that what they see is of their own making, and they practice, thereby, a true form of narcissism. Like Narcissus, they fail to realize that they themselves are captivated by their own image, while remaining ignorant of the very thing on which they have set eyes. If we suspend this assumption, this implicit and uncritical prior belief in uniquely human capabilities, then the very notion of anthropomorphism fails to make sense. . . . [T]he very belief in anthropomorphism betrays a lack of foresight of self-reflection on the part of those so thoroughly wedded to the idea that they are, before all else, human.

Tom Tyler, Ciferae: A Bestiary in Five Fingers (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012), 63.

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