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This conception of totemism will give us the explanation of a very curious trait of human mentality which, even though more marked formerly than to-day, has not yet disappeared and which, in any case, has been of considerable importance in the history of human thought. It will furnish still another occasion for showing how logical evolution is closely connected with religious evolution and how it, like this latter, depends upon social conditions.4

If there is one truth which appears to be absolutely certain to-day, it is that beings differing not only in their outward appear­ance but also in their most essential properties, such as minerals, plants, animals and men, cannot be considered equivalent and interchangeable. Long usage, which scientific culture has still more firmly embedded in our minds, has taught us to establish barriers between the kingdoms, whose existence transformism itself does not deny ; for though this admits that life may have arisen from non-living matter and men from animals, still, it does not fail to recognize the fact that living beings, once formed, are different from minerals, and men different from animals. Within each kingdom the same barriers separate the different classes : we cannot conceive of one mineral having the same distinctive characteristics as another, or of one animal species having those of another species. But these distinctions, which seem so natural to us, are in no way primitive. In the beginning, all the kingdoms are confounded with each other. Rocks have a sex ; they have the power of begetting ; the sun, moon and stars are men or women who feel and express human sentiments, while men, on the contrary, are thought of as animals or plants. This state of confusion is found at the basis of all mythologies. Hence comes the ambiguous character of the beings portrayed in the mythologies; they can be classified in no definite group, for they participate at the same time in the most opposed groups. It is also readily admitted that they can go from one into another; and for a long time men believed that they were able to explain the origin of things by these transmutations.

That the anthropomorphic instinct, with which the animists have endowed primitive men, cannot explain their mental condition is shown by the nature of the confusions of which they are guilty. In fact, these do not come from the fact that men have immoderately extended the human kingdom to the point of making all the others enter into it, but from the fact that they confound the most disparate kingdoms. They have not conceived the world in their image any more than they have conceived themselves in the world's image : they have done both at the same time. Into the idea they have formed of things, they have undoubtedly made human elements enter; but into the idea they have formed of themselves, they have made enter elements coming from things.

Yet there is nothing in experience which could suggest these connections and confusions. As far as the observation of the senses is able to go, everything is different and disconnected. Nowhere do we really see beings mixing their natures and

metamorphosing themselves into each other. It is therefore necessary that some exceptionally powerful cause should have intervened to transfigure reality in such a way as to make it appear under an aspect that is not really its own.

It is religion that was the agent of this transfiguration ; it is religious beliefs that have substituted for the world, as it is per­ceived by the senses, another different one. This is well shown by the case of totemism. The fundamental thing in this religion is that the men of the clan and the different beings whose form the totemic emblems reproduce pass as being made of the same essence. Now when this belief was once admitted, the bridge between the different kingdoms was already built. The man was represented as a sort of animal or plant; the plants and animals were thought of as the relatives of men, or rather, all these beings, so different for the senses, were thought of as partici­pating in a single nature. So this remarkable aptitude for con­fusing things that seem to be obviously distinct comes from the fact that the first forces with which the human intellect has peopled the world were elaborated by religion. Since these were made up of elements taken from the different kingdoms, men conceived a principle common to the most heterogeneous things, which thus became endowed with a sole and single essence.

But we also know that these religious conceptions are the result of determined social causes. Since the clan cannot exist without a name and an emblem, and since this emblem is always before the eyes of men, it is upon this, and the objects whose image it is, that the sentiments which society arouses in its members are fixed. Men were thus compelled to represent the collective force, whose action they felt, in the form of the thing serving as flag to the group. Therefore, in the idea of this force were mixed up the most different kingdoms ; in one sense, it was essentially human, since it was made up of human ideas and sentiments ; but at the same time, it could not fail to appear as closely related to the animate or inanimate beings who gave it its outward form. Moreover, the cause whose action we observe here is not peculiar to totemism ; there is no society where it is not active. In a general way, a collective sentiment can become conscious of itself only by being fixed upon some material object;1 but by this very fact, it participates in the nature of this object, and reciprocally, the object participates in its nature. So it was social necessity which brought about the fusion of notions appearing distinct at first, and social life has facilitated this fusion by the great mental effervescences it

determines.1 This is one more proof that logical understanding is a function of society, for it takes the forms and attitudes that this latter presses upon it.

It is true that this logic is disconcerting for us. Yet we must be careful not to depreciate it : howsoever crude it may appear to us, it has been an aid of the greatest importance in the in­tellectual evolution of humanity. In fact, it is through it that the first explanation of the world has been made possible. Of course the mental habits it implies prevented men from seeing reality as their senses show it to them ; but as they show it, it has the grave inconvenience of allowing of no explanation. For to explain is to attach things to each other and to establish relations between them which make them appear to us as func­tions of each other and as vibrating sympathetically according to an internal law founded in their nature. But sensations, which see nothing except from the outside, could never make them disclose these relations and internal bonds ; the intellect alone can create the notion of them. When I learn that A regu­larly precedes B, my knowledge is increased by a new fact; but my intelligence is not at all satisfied with a statement which does not show its reason. I commence to understand only if it is possible for me to conceive В in a way that makes it appear to me as something that is not foreign to A, and as united to A by some relation of kinship. The great service that religions have rendered to thought is that they have constructed a first repre­sentation of what these relations of kinship between things may be. In the circumstances under which it was attempted, the enterprise could obviously attain only precarious results. But then, does it ever attain any that are definite, and is it not always necessary to reconsider them ? And also, it is less im­portant to succeed than to try. The essential thing was not to leave the mind enslaved to visible appearances, but to teach it to dominate them and to connect what the senses separated ; for from the moment when men have an idea that there are internal connections between things, science and philosophy become possible. Religion opened up the way for them. But if it has been able to play this part, it is only because it is a social affair. In order to make a law for the impressions of the senses and to substitute a new way of representing reality for them,

thought of a new sort had to be founded: this is collective thought. If this alone has had this efficacy, it is because of the fact that to create a world of ideals through which the world of experienced realities would appear transfigured, a super-excitation of the intellectual forces was necessary, which is possible only in and through society.

So it is far from true that this mentality has no connection with ours. Our logic was born of this logic. The explanations of contemporary science are surer of being objective because they are more methodical and because they rest on more carefully controlled observations, but they do not differ in nature from those which satisfy primitive thought. To-day, as formerly, to explain is to show how one thing participates in one or several others. It has been said that the participations of this sort implied by the mythologies violate the principle of contradiction and that they are by that opposed to those implied by scientific explanations.1 Is not the statement that a man is a kangaroo or the sun a bird, equal to identifying the two with each other ? But our manner of thought is not different when we say of heat that it is a movement, or of light that it is a vibration of the ether, etc. Every time that we unite heterogeneous terms by an internal bond, we forcibly identify contraries. Of course the terms we unite are not those which the Australian brings together ; we choose them according to different criteria and for different reasons ; but the processes by which the mind puts them in connection do not differ essentially.

It is true that if primitive thought had that sort of general and systematic indifference to contradictions which has been attributed to it,2 it would be in open contradiction on this point with modem thought, which is always careful to remain consistent with itself. But we do not believe that it is possible to characterize the mentality of inferior societies by a single and exclusive inclination for indistinction.  If the primitive confounds things which we distinguish, he also distinguishes things which we connect together, and he even conceives these distinctions in the form of sharp and clear-cut oppositions. Be­tween two things which are classified in two different phratries, there is not only separation, but even antagonism.3 For this reason, the same Australian who confounds the sun and the white cockatoo, opposes this latter to the black cockatoo as to its contrary. The two seem to him to belong to two separate classes between which there is nothing in common. A still more marked opposition is that existing between sacred things

and profane things. They repel and contradict each other with so much force that the mind refuses to think of them at the same time. They mutually expel each other from the consciousness.

Thus between the logic of religious thought and that of scientific thought there is no abyss. The two are made up of the same elements, though inequally and differently developed.  The special characteristic of the former seems to be its natural taste for immoderate confusions as well as sharp contrasts. It is voluntarily excessive in each direction. When it connects, it confounds ; when it distinguishes, it opposes. It knows no shades and measures, it seeks extremes; it consequently employs logical mechanisms with a certain awkwardness, but it ignores none of them.