INTERPRETATION OF SAVAGE SOCIETY 159
is not ripe neither is he ripe. From this standpoint we can under- stand why it is almost never possible to attribute any great modern invention to any single person. When the state, of sci- ence and the social need reach a certain point a number of per- sons are likely to solve the same problem.
3. The character of the accommodations already made affects the character of the accommodation to the new crisis. When our habits are settled and running smoothly they much resemble the instincts of animals. And the great part of our life is lived in the region of habit. The habits, like the instincts, are safe and serviceable. They have been tried, and they are associ- ated with a feeling of security. There consequently grows up in the folk-mind a determined resistance to change. And there is a degree of sense in this, for while change implies possibilities of improvement it also implies danger of disaster, or a worse condition. It must also be acknowledged that a state of rapid and constant change implies loss of settled habits and disorgani- zation. As a result, all societies view change with suspicion, and the attempt to revise certain habits is even viewed as immorality. Now it is possible under these conditions for a society to become stationary, or to attempt to remain so. The effort of the atten- tion is to preserve the present status rather than to reaccommo- date. This condition is particularly marked among the savages. In the absence of science and a proper estimation of the value of change, they rely on ritual and magic, and a minute, conscien- tious, unquestioning, and absolute adhesion to the past. Change is consequently introduced with a maximum of resistance. Some African tribes, for example, have such faith in fetish that they cannot be induced to practice with firearms. If, they say, the magic works, the bullet will go straight; otherwise it will not. Similarly, oriental pride in permanence is quite as real as occi- dental pride in progress, and the fatalistic view of the Moham- medan world, the view that results are predetermined by Allah and not by man, is unfavorable to change. Indeed, the only world in which change is at a premium and is systematically sought is the modern scientific world. It is plain therefore that