Religions of primitive peoples - PDF by Daniel Garrison Brinton

Religions of primitive peoples

Religions of primitive peoples


Excerpt:

the conceptions of space, motion, and lustre (colour, brightness, etc.), the latter that of time. From the sense of touch arise the " tactual " impressions, which yield the ideas of power and might, through the sensations of resistance and pressure, pleasure and pain. From these primary ideas (or perceptions), drawn directly from impressions, are derived secondary, abstract, and general ideas (apperceptions) by comparison and association (the laws of Identity, Diversity, and Similarity). 

Under ordinary conditions of human life, there are many more impressions on the senses which are everywhere the same or similar, than the reverse. Hence, the ideas, both primary and secondary (perceptions and apperceptions), drawn from them are much more likely to resemble than to differ. 


The consequence of this is that the same laws of growth which develop the physical man everywhere into the traits of the species, act also on his psychical powers, and not less absolutely, to bring their products into conformity. 

This is true not only of his logical faculties but of his lightest fancies and wildest vagaries. " Man's imagination," observes Mr Hartland, " like every other known power, works by fixed laws, the existence and operation of which it is possible to trace; and it works upon the same material, the external universe, the mental and moral constitution of man, and his social relations." 

About my particular subject, Professor Buchmann expressed some years ago what I believe to be the correct result of modern research in these words: " It is easy to prove that the striking similarity in primitive religious ideas comes not from tradition nor from the relationship or historic connections of early peoples, but from the identity in the mental construction of the individual man, wherever he is found." 

We can scarcely escape a painful shock to discover that we are bound by such adamantine chains. As the primitive man could not conceive that inflexible mechanical laws control the processes of nature, so are we slow to acknowledge that others, not less rigid, rule our thoughts and fancies.

Of course, the recognition of this principle does not diminish the attention to be paid to the ethnic or local developments of the culture and to the borrowing or transference of myths and rites. Wherever this can be shown to have occurred, it is an adequate explanation of identities; but in tribes geographically remote, the presumption is that such identities are due to the common element of humanity in the species.

 Such similarities are by no means confined to the primitive forms of religion; but in them, they are more obvious, and their causes are more apparent; so for that reason, a study of such primitive forms is peculiarly remunerative to one who would acquaint himself with the elements of religion in general. No one, in fact, can pretend to have a thorough knowledge of the great historic religions of the world who has not traced their outlines back to the humble faiths of early tribes from which they emerged.

Some contents:

LECTURE I. THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF PRIMITIVE RELIGIONS METHODS AND DEFINITIONS.

 Ethnology Defined The Scientific Study of Religions It is not Theology Its Methods: i. The Historic Method; 2. The Comparative Method ; 3. The Psychologic Method ^Strange Coincidences in Human Thought Conspicuous in Primitive Religions " Primitive " Peoples Defined TheTSavage Mind Examples Means of Study: i. Archaeology; 2. Language : 3. Folk-Lore ; 4. Descriptions of Travellers Examples: The Early Aryans, Etruscans, Semites, Egyptians, American Tribes, Australians, Polynesians, etc. "Religions^' Defined Compared witfi\ ' ' Superstitions " No" One Belief Essential to Religion. Atheistic Religion^fundamentalldentity of Religions -No Tribe Known Devoid of a Religion How the Opposite Opinion Arose Earliest Men probably had No Religion No Signs of Religion in Lower Animals of Religion  Primitive Society True Source of Religion. 

LECTURE II. THE ORIGIN AND CONTENTS OF NATIVE RELIGIONS. 

Formed Theories of the Origin of Religions Inadequacy of this Universal Postulate of Religions that Conscious Volition is the Source of Force How Mind was Assigned to Nature Communion between the Human and the Divine Mind Universality of "Inspiration" Inspiration the Product of the Sub-Conscious Mind Known to Science  This Explained Examples Illustrations from Language No Primitive Monotheism The Special Stimuli of the Religious Emotions /% Dreaming and Allied Conditions Life as a Dream- The Apprehension of Life and Death and the Notion of the Soul-The Perception of Light and Darkness; Day and Nignt^-The Sky God as S the High God 4. The Observation of Extraordinary Exhibitions of Force The Thunder God 5. The Impression of Vastness Dignity of the Sub-Conscious Intelligence. 41





book details :
  • Author: Daniel Garrison Brinton
  • Publication date :  
  • Company: New York, G.P. Putnam's sons

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