Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/134

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124 Psychology and Ethnology.

We have as yet no use for Man, because he is much the same all the world over. There certainly are congenital dififerences of character between races, and the influence of these differences upon custom may at some future time be- come an interesting study, when we have first settled the history of these customs ; but, in our present state of ignor- ance, these dififerences are negligible quantities, and man may be treated as an unchanging quantity. Now, from an unchanging quantity it is impossible to deduce the ever changing and endless variety of custom and belief through- out the world.

The psychological anthropologist will not admit that Man is very much the same all the world over : his argument is that different ideas must proceed from different mental con- stitutions. If that assumption is necessary, then we must assume millions of mental types to account for the millions of different customs and beliefs.

I have never heard it suggested that the contemporary French mind is structurally different from that of two hundred years ago. Yet in those days France was the eldest daughter of the Roman Catholic Church ; now the majority are rationalists. We might say without paradox that they are now rationalists because they were once Roman Catholics; the mode of thought is the same; precision, simplicity, logic and consistency, arguing from axioms rather than experience. It is the axioms alone that have changed.

I have never heard it suggested that the inborn mental constitution of savages is modified by Christianity. In fact there are plenty of Fijians who find it quite possible to be at once heathens and Christians. I have translated a Fijian's defence of heathendom.' A Church historian thought it was just the line of argument of the Gnostics. One friend saw in it a parody of contemporary apologetic theology. An

■^ " A Native Fijian on the Decline of his Race," Hibbert Journal, 1912-3, vol. xi., p. 35.