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From the moment that the cult of the dead is shown not to be primitive, animism lacks a basis. It would tlien seem useless to discuss the third thesis of the system, which concerns the transformation of the cult of the dead into the cult of nature. But since the postulate upon which it rests is also found in certain historians of religion who do not admit the animism properly so-called, such as Brinton,1 Lang,2 Reville,3 and even Robertson Smith himself,4 it is necessary to make an examination of it.

This extension of the cult of the dead to all nature is said to come from the fact that we instinctively tend to represent all things in our own image, that is to say, as living and thinking beings. We have seen that Spencer has already contested the reality of this so-called instinct. Since animals clearly dis­tinguish living bodies from dead ones, it seemed to him impossible that man, the heir of the animals, should not have had this same faculty of discernment from the very first. But howsoever certain the facts cited by Spencer may be, they have not the demonstrative value which he attributes to them. His reasoning supposes that all the faculties, instincts and aptitudes of the animal have passed integrally into man ; now many errors have their origin in this principle which is wrongfully taken as a proven truth. For example, since sexual jealousy is generally very strong among the higher animals, it has been concluded that it ought to be found among men with the same intensity from the very beginnings of history.5 But it is well known to-day that men can practise a sexual communism which would be impossible if this jealousy were not capable of attenuating itself and even of disappearing when necessary.6 The fact is

that man is not merely an animal with certain additional quali­ties : he is something else. Human nature is the result of a sort of recasting of the animal nature, and in the course of the various complex operations which have brought about this recasting, there have been losses as well as gains. How many instincts have we not lost ? The reason for this is that men are not only in relations with the physical environment, but also with a social environment infinitely more extended, more stable and more active than the оле whose influence animals undergo. To live, they must adapt themselves to this. Now in order to maintain itself, society frequently finds it necessary that we should see things from a certain angle and feel them in a certain way; consequently it modifies the ideas which we would ordinarily make of them for ourselves and the sentiments to which we would be inclined if we listened only to our animal nature; it alters them, even going so far as to put the contrary sentiments in their place. Does it not even go so far as to make us regard our own individual lives as something of little value, while for the animal this is the greatest of things ?1 Then it is a vain enterprise to seek to infer the mental constitution of the primitive man from that of the higher animals.

But if the objection of Spencer does not have the decisive value which its author gives it, it is equally true that the animist theory can draw no authority from the confusions which children seem to make. When we hear a child angrily apostrophize an object which he has hit against, we conclude that he thinks of it as a conscious being like himself ; but that is interpreting his words and acts very badly. In reality, he is quite a stranger to the very complicated reasoning attributed to him. If he lays the blame on the table which has hurt him, it is not because he supposes it animated and intelligent, but because it has hurt him. His anger, once aroused by the pain, must overflow ; so it looks for something upon which to discharge itself, and naturally turns toward the thing which has provoked it, even though this has no effect. The action of an adult in similar circumstances is often as slightly reasonable. When we are violently irritated, we feel the need of inveighing, of destroying, though we attribute no conscious ill-will to the objects upon which we vent our anger. There is even so little confusion that when the emotion of a child is calmed, he can very well dis­tinguish a chair from a person : he does not act in at all the same way towards the two. It is a similar reason which explains his tendency to treat his playthings as if they were living beings. It is his extremely intense need of playing which thus finds a

means of expressing itself, just as in the other case the violent sentiments caused by pain created an object out of nothing. In order that he may consciously play with his jumping-jack, he imagines it a living person. This illusion is the easier for him because imagination is his sovereign mistress ; he thinks almost entirely with images, and we know how pliant images are, bending themselves with docility before every exigency of the will. But he is so little deceived by his own fiction that he would be the first to be surprised if it suddenly became a reality, and his toy bit him!1

Let us therefore leave these doubtful analogies to one side. To find out if men were primitively inclined to the confusions imputed to them, we should not study animals or children of to-day, but the primitive beliefs themselves. If the spirits and gods of nature were really formed in the image of the human soul, they should bear traces of their origin and bring to mind the essential traits of their model. The most important char­acteristic of the soul is that it is conceived as the internal principle which animates the organism : it is that which moves it and makes it live, to such an extent that when it withdraws itself, life ceases or is suspended. It has its natural residence in the body, at least while this exists. But it is not thus with the spirits assigned to the different things in nature. The god of the sun is not necessarily in the sun, nor is the spirit of a certain rock in the rock which is its principal place of habitation. A spirit undoubtedly has close relations v/ith the body to which it is attached, but one employs a very inexact expression when he says that it is its soul. As Codrington says,2 " there does not appear to be anywhere in Melanesia a belief in a spirit which animates any natural object, a tree, waterfall, storm or rock, so as to be to it what the soul is believed to be to the body of man. Europeans, it is true, speak of the spirits of the sea or of the storm or of the forest; but the native idea which they represent is that ghosts haunt the sea and the forest, having power to raise storms and strike a traveller with disease." While the soul is essentially within the body, the spirit passes the major portion of its time outside the object which serves as its base. This is one difference which does not seem to show that the second idea was derived from the first.

From another point of view, it must be added that if men were really forced to project their own image into things, then the first sacred beings ought to have been conceived in their like­ness. Now anthropomorphism, far from being primitive, is

rather the mark of a relatively advanced civilization. In the beginning, sacred beings are conceived in the form of an animal or vegetable, from which the human form is only slowly dis­engaged. It will be seen below that in Australia, it is animals and plants which are the first sacred beings. Even among the Indians of North America, the great cosmic divinities, which commence to be the object of a cult there, are very frequently represented in animal forms.1 " The difference between the animal, man and the divine being," says Reville, not without surprise, " is not felt in this state of mind, and generally it might be said that it is the animal form which is the fundamental one."2 To find a god made up entirely of human elements, it is necessary to advance nearly to Christianity. Here, God is a man, not only in the physical aspect in which he is temporarily made manifest, but also in the ideas and sentiments which he expresses. But even in Greece and Rome, though the gods were generally represented with human traits, many mythical personages still had traces of an animal origin : thus there is Dionysus, who is often met with in the form of a bull, or at least with the horns of a bull; there is Demeter, who is often represented with a horse's mane, there are Pan and Silenus, there are the Fauns, etc.3 It is not at all true that man has had such an inclination to impose his own form upon things. More than that, he even commenced by conceiving of himself as participating closely in the animal nature. In fact, it is a belief almost universal in Australia, and very widespread among the Indians of North America, that the ancestors of men were beasts or plants, or at least that the first men had, either in whole or in part, the distinctive characters of certain animal or vegetable species. Thus, far from seeing beings like themselves everywhere, men commenced by believing themselves to be in the image of some beings from which they differed radically.