Page:American Anthropologist NS vol. 1.djvu/394

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Now, we are briefly to consider how this practice originated. Savage men always impute mind, or organized consciousness, to inanimate things, such as plants, rocks, the phenomena of water, and phenomena of the atmosphere. They also impute mind to the heavenly bodies, which they suppose to be molar bodies in the tent of the sky, which to them is the great wigwam of this world. If the savage strikes his foot against a rock and seriously wounds himself, he fails to attribute the accident to his own care- lessness, but he imputes it to the rock itself, as being designed by the rock in order to injure him. Thus motives are assigned to all inanimate things, and events are brought about by others, animate or inanimate, which in fact are due to this activity. This is the fundamental phase of imputation.

Then tribal men believe that mind, which is a property of animal bodies, is a property of all bodies, and that this property is not a concomitant of the body and inherent in the body itself, but that mind is independent of body and can live apart from it, and when the mind leaves one body another mind may take up its residence there. This is the doctrine of ghosts as free, independent, and wandering minds.

There are many phenomena which to the savage mind lead to this opinion. I may briefly mention them : The phenomena of dreams, where men seem to go out of their own bodies and wander about the earth ; the phenomena of ecstasy, produced by exces- sive mental or physical activity, where men seem to have visions of other times and places or to hear voices which do not speak in their ears ; the phenomena of hypnotism, where men seem to see scenes which are not naturally presented to the hypnotized per- son ; the phenomena of intoxication, where men believe they ob- serve that which bystanders know to be not true ; the phenomena of insanity, where the diseased person has thoughts which are erroneous, in which cases the savage believes that the ghost of another has taken possession of the invalid. The doctrines de- rived from these sources seem to be confirmed to the savage mind

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