Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/131

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Psychology and Ethnology. 1 2 1

"dull witted savage" found it difficult "to remember his individual relationships with everybody else";* that, having definite concepts of mother, sister, and daughter, they could not remember in practice who was who, and had therefore to invent a machinery which failed to work until it had been corrected twice or thrice, and by that time was so "bloated " that it fell into disuse.

I will not dwell further on these inconsistencies. I will merel}' remark that I have had some acquaintance with savages, and I have never noticed that, like Lamb's Chinese, they burnt their houses down whenever they wanted to eat roast pig.

The application of functional psychology to ethnology need not detain us here, as we shall show further on that the mental operations of a people cannot be deduced from the customs they practice, or their customs deduced from their mental operations.

We will, for convenience' sake, give the name of biological psychology to those theories that explain customs by instincts, real or supposed, of the human mind. The method is m.uch the same as that of the other schools : we begin with a blank tablet, and on this tablet instinct proceeds to write customs. The objections are the same ; you cannot evolve something out of nothing ; it is impossible to understand how a variety of complex social organizations can in various parts of the world be evolved out of the same bare instinct. Male jealousy is an undoubted instinct, an undoubted factor in human affairs ; but how it can have lain dormant for a time, then, according to Lang's theory, suddenly begun to drive out the younger members of the community, and finally quieted down so far as to accept an organised exogamy, is more than has ever been explained. There is in human affairs a postulate of inertia, as in physics : a force that is acting must go on acting, or we must show cause why it should cease ; every change of direction or intensity must be accounted for. Ibid., p. 113.