Page:Totem and Taboo (1919).djvu/45

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THE AMBIVALENCE OF EMOTION

powerful mana (magical influence) of chiefs and priests; (c) providing against the dangers incurred by handling or coming in contact with corpses, by eating certain food, etc.; (d) guarding the chief acts of life—births, initiation, marriage and sexual functions—against interference; (e) securing human beings against the wrath or power of gods and spirits;[1] (f) securing unborn infants and young children, who stand in a specially sympathetic relation with their parents, from the consequence of certain actions, and more especially from the communication of qualities supposed to be derived from certain foods. 2. Taboos are imposed in order to secure against thieves the property of an individual, his fields, tools, etc.”

Other parts of the article may be summarized as follows. Originally the punishment for the violation of a taboo was probably left to an inner, automatic arrangement. The violated taboo avenged itself. Wherever the taboo was related to ideas of gods and demons an automatic punishment was expected from the power of the godhead. In other cases, probably as a result of a further development of the idea, society took over the punishment of the offender, whose action has endangered his companions.

  1. This application of the taboo can be omitted as not originally belonging in this connection.