It is a basic emotional need to give and receive attention and feel connected to other people. It has been said that when you read a book you are never alone because you can ‘listen to’ and communicate with the author and connect with their ideas and characters. The point is if you enjoy reading you don’t feel alone even when you are.
In the movie Castaway the character played by Tom Hanks is left entirely alone for four years but his needs for connection to other human beings still requires fulfillment. So, bit by bit, he anthropomorphizes a volley ball, calls it ‘Wilson’ and thereby keeps his sanity. When we can’t get what we need, be it love, a sense of meaning or vital human companionship through lifestyle then we instinctively use whatever comes to hand to meet that need. This can explain why people have TV on in the background just for the company or why pets can almost become the ‘people’ in our lives.
Trying to get basic needs met any way we can also explains human problem behaviors such as addiction (which may be an unconscious drive to meet the human need for stimulation, status, etc.) Obsessive Compulsive Disorder may be an attempt to meet the basic human need to feel safe and secure. Unfortunately meeting needs inappropriately, almost symbolically (Wilson the volley ball symbolized a person) can eventually become the problem itself as when OCD or alcohol abuse-both attempted solutions-start to prevent people get other life needs met. And sad to say Wilson didn’t make it off the island. Being clear about what we need in life helps us avoid mistakes (of course Mr Hank’s Castaway character had to use what he could for company). Knowledge is power.