Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/269

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
255
Reviews.

believe the "seed" of religion to consist merely in this or that way of conceiving something. That is the intellectualist fallacy. Mr. Clodd, however, is aware that religion is something more than creed. He sees that the something conceived pre-exists as something felt. The uncanny is feared before it is invested with the spirit or soul that man, thanks to reflection on his dream-experience and so on, has previously discovered in himself. Nay more, Mr. Clodd distinguishes between this somewhat elaborate anthropomorphizing of the object of man's mystic fear and a vague kind of anthropomorphizing that yields a notion better rendered by "power" than by spirit proper; and in this context quotes a very interesting passage from Mr. Risley, Census of India (190 1), Vol. I. Pt. I. p. 352. Had he worked out this side of the subject more fully he might, I think, have found reason to acquiesce in a very considerable curtailment of the sphere of Animism (understood as the recognition of spirit proper). As it is, many instances he quotes to prove attribution of spirit seem more or less beside the point; for example, the old story about the Koussa Kaffirs who saluted the anchor, or that about the Kukis who revengefully cut down the tree from which one of their number had fallen (p. 43). I cannot here go into the matter further, but would refer Mr. Clodd to that pamphlet of Dr. Preuss which I reviewed in the last number of Folk-Lore; there he will find a good case made out for the existence of a type of non-animistic anthropomorphizing of the uncanny, namely, the attribution of mana, that threatens to deprive animism at one fell swoop of a good half of its kingdom. Finally I would add that, even when all I have referred to has been duly taken into account, we are still on psychological ground. But psychology by itself cannot lay down the law about the seed or essence of religion, if, as I believe, religion primarily consists in cult, a social fact.

R. R. Marett.