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But this notion is not only of primary importance because of the role it has played in the development of religious ideas ; it also has a lay aspect in which it is of interest for the history of scientific thought. It is the first form of the idea of force.

In fact, the wakan plays the same role in the world, as the Sioux conceives it, as the one played by the forces with which science explains the diverse phenomena of nature. This, however, does not mean that it is thought of as an exclusively physical energy ; on the contrary, in the next chapter we shall see that the elements going to make up this idea are taken from the most diverse realms. But this very compositeness of its nature enables it to be utilized as a universal principle of explanation. It is from it that all life comes ;2 "all life is wakan " ; and by this word life, we must understand everything that acts and reacts, that moves and is moved, in both the mineral and biological kingdoms. The wakan is the cause of all the movements which take place in the universe. We have even seen that the orenda of the Iroquois is " the efficient cause of all the phenomena and all the activities which are manifested around men." It is a power " inherent in all bodies and all things."3 It is the orenda which makes the wind blow, the sun lighten and heat the earth, or animals reproduce and which makes men strong, clever and intelligent. When the Iroquois says that the life of all nature is the product of the conflicts aroused between the unequally intense orenda of the different beings, he only expresses, in his own language, this modern idea that the world is a system

of forces limiting and containing each other and making an equilibrium.

The Melanesian attributes this same general efficacy to his mana. It is owing to his mana that a man succeeds in hunting or fighting, that gardens give a good return or that flocks prosper. If an arrow strikes its mark, it is because it is charged with mana; it is the same cause which makes a net catch fish well, or a canoe ride well on the sea,1 etc. It is true that if certain phrases of Codrington are taken literally, mana should be the cause to which is attributed " everything which is beyond the ordinary power of men, outside the common processes of nature."2 But from the very examples which he cites, it is quite evident that the sphere of the mana is really much more extended. In reality, it serves to explain usual and everyday phenomena; there is nothing superhuman or supernatural in the fact that a ship sails or a hunter catches game, etc. However, among these events of daily life, there are some so insignificant and familiar that they pass unperceived : they are not noticed and conse­quently no need is felt of explaining them. The concept of mana is applied only to those that are important enough to cause reflection, and to awaken a minimum of interest and curiosity ; but they are not marvellous for all that. And what is true of the mana as well as the orenda and wakan, may be said equally well of the totemic principle. It is through this that the life of the men of the clan and the animals or plants of the totemic species, as well as all the things which are classified under the totem and partake of its nature, is manifested.

So the idea of force is of religious origin. It is from religion that it has been borrowed, first by philosophy, then by the sciences. This has already been foreseen by Comte and this is why he made metaphysics the heir of " theology." But he concluded from this that the idea of force is destined to disappear from science ; for, owing to its mystic origins, he refused it all objective value. But we are going to show that, on the contrary, religious forces are real, howsoever imperfect the symbols may be, by the aid of which they are thought of. From this it will follow that the same is true of the concept of force in general.