Mementos and security blankets: Why some inanimate objects take on spiritual significance.
Intense connections to physical objects may seem antiquated during a digital era in which tangibility is increasingly devalued. Many of us, however, pepper our lives with inanimate things, be they items placed around the home or worn on the body. As dependent on the incorporeal cloud as someone may be, the thought of losing a family heirloom, Hand of Fatima pendant, wedding ring, or an otherwise unassuming object has the power to elicit worry and tears.
The security objects of early childhood are often the first step on a lifelong journey of building attachments to particular items. Many believe that these generally soft possessions, such as blankets and stuffed animals, serve as substitutes for the mother. Much like a parent, they too are considered singular and irreplaceable. In 2007, Bruce Hood of the University of Bristol designed an experiment in which 22 children between the ages of three and six were told that a complex-looking
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