Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/461

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Totemism, and Religion. 425

attributes, as of Fatherhood, goodness, and regard for the ethics of his children ; these ethics having been developed naturally in the evolution of social life. In all this there is nothing . . as far as I can see, beyond the limited mental powers of any beings that deserve to be called human." This is only a guess, but, at all events, any savage who once con- ceived of a maker of the world would find hisconception about a being so powerful expanding in the sense in which the All Father is undeniably envisaged by many tribes ; and again the conception would fade with the rise of a vast theory of animism, and of evolution, as among the Northern Arunta.

The earlier part of my book The Making of Religion was devoted to a study of certain world-wide beliefs, found in all ages and degrees of culture, compared with certain con- temporary evidence as to abnormal and supernormal experi- ences. Why anthropologists, — except Bastian in his Ueber psychische Beobachtungen bei Nahirvolkern (1900), — should bury their heads in the sand and be blind themselves to the existence of so large a field of research and comparison, I have never been able to understand. Lord Avebury writes, — " if I were to despair it would be to see some of our ablest intellects still clinging to the most childish superstitions of the darkest ages and the lowest savages."^ Well, very low savages appear to have some practical knowledge of hypnotism and of crystal-gazing. But these things are facts. There is such a thing as hypnotic influ- ence ; hallucinations can be induced, in a percentage of educated, civilised persons, by crystal-gazing. Why should Lord Avebury be inchned to despair because we investigate human faculties .-* As M. van Gennep says, " it is unscien- tific to deny that certain persons can find water-springs by aid of the divining rod {baguette) merely because we cannot explain the phenomenon."*^ It is much too late to dismiss facts by giving them a bad name as " superstitions.'*

A. Lang.

^ Religions^ Mceurs et Legetides, vol. iii., p. 45.