Esther Inglis-Arkell writes on io9:
It starts when you’re young. In fact, it’s encouraged when you’re young. You’re given stuffed animals or little dolls. You’re asked to name things around your house. Things are explained to you in terms of ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’. For example, I was told that the toilet dislikes having all my clothes flushed down it — apparently, that makes it ‘sick’. The world is sketched out for you in terms of relationships, and inanimate objects have relationships as readily as humans do.
And then one day it stops. Thinking that a Christmas tree left out on the side of the road is ‘sad’ or that you owe an old pair of sneakers better than just dumping them in a trash can isn’t indicative of a childlike sense of wonder, a lot of empathy, or a good imagination; it’s just needlessly crazy. There’s even a psychological disorder to describe the problem: Anthropomorphism.
The pathetic fallacy: The term was invented by Greek philosopher Xenophanes, who used it to describe the way that people thought their gods — the most unknowable things imaginable — resembled them and had their motivations. He noticed the way that Greek gods tended to be fair-skinned and blue eyed, while African gods had darker skin and darker eyes. People naturally gave their own characteristics to other things. As years progressed, this behavior fell from the heavens and came down to earth. Anthropomorphism wasn’t just for the gods, it was for anything and everything around humans…
For more information, see original article.