What Is Essentialism?

G-Rated Stuffed-Animal Love Explained, but What About R-Rated?

I had a blanket when I was little. I hijacked it from my older sister, named it, so imaginatively, "nice blankie," and made it my own. I took it everywhere until I didn't, and kept it hidden in my closet for years until someone — my mom is the number-one suspect — threw it away.

Plenty of adults are still attached to the plush objects of their youths. After 33 percent of Brits, at least those who stay at Travelodges, admitted to sleeping with stuffed animals in a study, I put the question to you. And probably because we're a young, female bunch, 72 percent still hold their favorite stuffed animal near and dear. Now psychologists are explaining it.

An object a little kid has attachment to is called a "transitional object" or, more colloquially, a "security blanket." It temporarily replaces the mother-child bond. As the child becomes aware she's a separate entity from parents and goes out on her own, even if only to another room, it provides comfort. But the idea that objects are more than just things carries over to adulthood.

It's called essentialism. Consider anything valuable to you. A photo album, a letter, a drawing from your niece, or a wedding ring. They are sentimental, and it would probably take a lot of cajoling and a ton of money for you to accept a duplicate. Objects are emotional to everyone, even if the emotion is one-sided.

What about R-rated object relationships, though? You know, the people in love with inanimate or animate objects. Might that be essentialism, a normal human emotion, morphed into an unhealthy, one-sided relationship?

Source: Thinkstock
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