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But if this theory of totemism has enabled us to explain the most characteristic beliefs of this religion, it rests upon a fact not yet explained. When the idea of the totem, the emblem of the clan, is given, all the rest follows ; but we must still investi­gate how this idea has been formed. This is a double question and may be subdivided as follows : What has led the clan to choose an emblem ? and why have these emblems been borrowed from the animal and vegetable worlds, and particularly from the former ?

That an emblem is useful as a rallying-centre for any sort of a group it is superfluous to point out. By expressing the social unity in a material form, it makes this more obvious to all, and for that very reason the use of emblematic symbols must have spread quickly when once thought of. But more than that, this idea should spontaneously arise out of the conditions of common life ; for the emblem is not merely a convenient process for clarifying the sentiment society has of itself : it also serves to create this sentiment ; it is one of its constituent elements.

In fact, if left to themselves, individual consciousnesses are closed to each other ; they can communicate only by means of signs which express their internal states. If the communication established between them is to become a real communion, that is to say, a fusion of all particular sentiments into one common sentiment, the signs expressing them must themselves be fused into one single and unique resultant. It is the appearance of this that informs individuals that they are in harmony and makes them conscious of their moral unity. It is by uttering the same cry, pronouncing the same word, or performing the same gesture in regard to some object that they become and feel themselves to be in unison. It is true that individual representations also cause reactions in the organism that are not without importance ; however, they can be thought of apart from these physical reactions which accompany them or follow them, but which do not constitute them. But it is quite another matter with collective representations. They presuppose that minds act and react upon one another; they are the product of these actions and reactions which are themselves possible only through material intermediaries. These latter do not confine themselves to reveal­ing the mental state with which they are associated ; they aid in creating it. Individual minds cannot come in contact and com­municate with each other except by coming out of themselves ; but they cannot do this except by movements. So it is the homo­geneity of these movements that gives the group consciousness

of itself and consequently makes it exist. When this homo­geneity is once established and these movements have once taken a stereotyped form, they serve to symbolize the corresponding representations. But they symbolize them only because they have aided in forming them.

Moreover, without symbols, social sentiments could have only a precarious existence. Though very strong as long as men are together and influence each other reciprocally, they exist only in the form of recollections after the assembly has ended, and when left to themselves, these become feebler and feebler; for since the group is now no longer present and active, individual temperaments easily regain the upper hand. The violent passions which may have been released in the heart of a crowd fall away and are extinguished when this is dissolved, and men ask them­selves with astonishment how they could ever have been so carried away from their normal character. But if the movements by which these sentiments are expressed are connected with something that endures, the sentiments themselves become more durable. These other things are constantly bringing them to mind and arousing them ; it is as though the cause which excited them in the first place continued to act. Thus these systems of emblems, which are necessary .if society is to become conscious of itself, are no less indispensable for assuring the continuation of this consciousness.

So we must refrain from regarding these symbols as simple artifices, as sorts of labels attached to representations already made, in order to make them more manageable : they are an integral part of them. Even the fact that collective sentiments are thus attached to things completely foreign to them is not purely conventional: it illustrates under a conventional form a real characteristic of social facts, that is, their transcendence over individual minds. In fact, it is known that social phenomena are born, not in individuals, but in the group. Whatever part we may take in their origin, each of us receives them from without.1 So when we represent them to ourselves as emanating from a material object, we do not completely misunderstand their nature. Of course they do not come from the specific thing to which we connect them, but nevertheless, it is true that their origin is outside of us. If the moral force sustaining the believer does not come from the idol he adores or the emblem he venerates, still it is from outside of him, as he is well aware. The objectivity of its symbol only translates its externalness.

Thus social life, in all its aspects and in every period of its history, is made possible only by a vast symbolism. The material

emblems and figurative representations with which we are more especially concerned in our present study, are one form of this ; but there are many others. Collective sentiments can just as well become incarnate in persons or formulae : some formulae are flags, while there are persons, either real or mythical, who are symbols. But there is one sort of emblem which should make an early appearance without reflection or calculation : this is tattooing. Indeed, well-known facts demonstrate that it is produced almost automatically in certain conditions. When men of an inferior culture are associated in a common life, they are frequently led, by an instinctive tendency, as it were, to paint or cut upon the body, images that bear witness to their common existence. According to a text of Procopius, the early Christians printed on their skin the name of Christ or the sign of the cross;1 for a long time, the groups of pilgrims going to Palestine were also tattooed on the arm or wrist with designs representing the cross or the monogram of Christ.2 This same usage is also reported among the pilgrims going to certain holy places in Italy.3 A curious case of spontaneous tattooing is given by Lombroso : twenty young men in an Italian college, when on the point of separating, decorated themselves with tattoos recording, in various ways, the years they had spent together.4 The same fact has frequently been observed among the soldiers in the same barracks, the sailors in the same boat, or the prisoners in the same jail.5 It will be understood that especially where methods are still rudimentary, tattooing should be the most direct and expressive means by which the communion of minds can be affirmed. The best way of proving to one's self and to others that one is a member of a certain group is to place a distinctive mark on the body. The proof that this is the reason for the existence of the totemic image is the fact, which we have already mentioned, that it does not seek to reproduce the aspect of the thing it is supposed to represent. It is made up of lines and points to which a wholly conventional significance is attributed.6 Its object is not to represent or bring to mind a determined object, but to bear witness to the fact that a certain number of individuals participate in the same moral life.

Moreover, the clan is a society which is less able than any other to do without an emblem or symbol, for there is almost

no other so lacking in consistency. The clan cannot be defined by its chief, for if central authority is not lacking, it is at least uncertain and unstable.1 Nor can it be denned by the territory it occupies, for the population, being nomad,2 is not closely attached to any special locality. Also, owing to the exogamic law, husband and wife must be of different totems ; so wherever the totem is transmitted in the maternal line—and this system of filiation is still the most general one3 —the children are of a different clan from their father, though living near to him. Therefore we find representatives of a number of different clans in each family, and still more in each locality. The unity of the group is visible, therefore, only in the collective name borne by all the members, and in the equally collective emblem reproducing the object designated by this name. A clan is essentially a reunion of individuals who bear the same name and rally around the same sign. Take away the name and the sign which materializes it, and the clan is no longer representable. Since the group is possible only on this condition, both the institution of the emblem and the part it takes in the life of the group are thus explained.

It remains to ask why these names and emblems were taken almost exclusively from the animal and vegetable kingdoms, but especially from the former.

It seems probable to us that the emblem has played a more important part than the name. In any case, the written sign still holds a more central place in the life of the clan to-day than does the spoken sign. Now the basis of an emblematic image can be found only in something susceptible of being represented by a design. On the other hand, these things had to be those with which the men of the clan were the most im­mediately and habitually coming in contact. Animals fulfilled this condition to a pre-eminent degree. For these nations of hunters and fishers, the animal constituted an essential element of the economic environment. In this connection plants had only a secondary place, for they can hold only a secondary place

as food as long as they are not cultivated. Moreover, the animal is more closely associated with the life of men than the plant is, if only because of the natural kinship uniting these two to each other. On the other hand, the sun, moon and stars are too far away, they give the effect of belonging to another world.1 Also, as long as the constellations were not distinguished and classified, the starry vault did not offer a sufficient diversity of clearly differentiated things to be able to mark all the clans and sub-clans of a tribe ; but, on the contrary, the variety of the flora, and especially of the fauna, was almost inexhaustible. Therefore celestial bodies, in spite of their brilliancy and the sharp impression they make upon the senses, were unfitted for the role of totems, while animals and plants seemed predestined to it.

An observation of Strehlow even allows us to state precisely the way in which these emblems were probably chosen. He says that he has noticed that the totemic centres are generally situated near a mountain, spring or gorge where the animals serving as totems to the group gather in abundance, and he cites a certain number of examples of this fact.2 Now these totemic centres are surely the consecrated places where the meetings of the clan are held. So it seems as though each group had taken as its insignia the animal or plant that was the commonest in the vicinity of the place where it had the habit of meeting.3