BIT Studio

July 1, 2008

Personification

Filed under: Composts — webmaster @ 11:13 am

  The superimposition of human characteristics on inanimate objects is called personification.  The character of God, in the compilation of short stories called the Bible, represents personification of the unknown.  By definition, all of religion can be reduced to a simple literary technique.

Providing human behavioral traits to non-human occurrences is a device for improving understanding.  Personifying good and evil creates a format whereby the masses can relate, on a very simplistic level, how and why events occur: Misfortune is due to someone’s disapproval; Success is a result of conforming to someone’s desired behavior; Unexplainable events are attributable to someone’s incredible and mysterious powers.

The Bible uses standard metaphorical techniques to accomplish its message.  The Good Book is a literary work complete with colorful plot line and fictionally believable characters.  The melodramatic activity is enormous and the reader is presented with extreme positions of good and evil leaving no doubt about how one should judge each character’s behavior.  The message is simple; conform or rot in Hell.

God, as personification of the unknown, is an excellent example of the quest for a comprehensive Theory of Everything.  Einstein worked his entire life toward this fundamental idea for simplifying our existence and felt failure in the end as he realized it would not be attained in his lifetime.  When religion provides human characteristics to the unknown, the Big ToE is then simplified into ‘He did it’.  How convenient.  How simple.  How comforting.  How ridiculous.

Religion uses confirming instances (such as those used by Freud) as proof of its existence and ad hoc excuses (such as those found in astrology) as its alibi when expected results fail.  Karl Popper, creator of the falsifiability criteria and main contributor to today’s Philosophy of Science, dismisses both of these practices as inadequate.  The fickleness of human personality allows religion to selectively choose how to justify God’s reaction to everything; sometimes good, sometimes bad, but whatever happens is appropriate and undisputable.

Personification is a powerful literary technique and the Bible may be one of the first published documents to use it successfully.

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