Yes, exactly. I employ a lot of what-if in my thinking, trying to find the broadest possible cases without going “too far” – and figure out where that “going to far” line is for me.
There’s consensus opinion for pragmatic reasons; and I can find those out by looking in a textbook, or even asking an AI chatbot nowadays which already read those textbooks.
However, I want to see what I think/feel/believe and how far my window of “what is reasonable?” can expand until I hit a wall where I say, “It may also be possible beyond that, but I can’t endorse beyond that except “possibly”.
Hard to find but I’m glad when I do.
Once I looked into the life-i-ness of viri and then went to some other forms of proto-life, then looked at crystal organization, then to the behaviors of fluidics, the interactions of electromagnetism … and then pulling back to human society to more intangible things such as economies and computer networking and such…
…and I look at how humans regularly talk about such things.
And, we have no problem talking about them as living. We interact with them as living. We personify so many things.
And perhaps that is all there is to it. We personify phenomena – at the very least, giving them names to refer to them by, with collective names and identical identities among each class blurring a notion of individualities within the class but nevertheless, it’s still a personification, perhaps at a lower status to us.