Genesis Of The Religious Attitude
( Originally Published 1910 )
THE religious consciousness, as has been said, is a special development of valuational attitudes. The problem now before us is that of determining how this specialization has been accomplished. It is the problem of the origin of religion, as far as psychological science is concerned.
We may start with the hypothesis that the social body has been at least an important factor in this process. There are certainly many things which will readily come to mind as favorable to such a preliminary conception. Many of our highest valuations are distinctly dependent upon a social con-text for even their present significance. The sentiments of love and duty, the notion of sin and of right, have no meaning except in terms of either an actual or an ideal social order. We may well inquire, then, whether these higher valuations of conduct, and even the so-called highest religious conceptions, those of God, freedom, and immortality, do not owe their existence to the influence of the social group upon the simpler values, the origin of which has been sketched in the preceding chapter.
It should be scarcely necessary to remind the reader at this point that the inquiry here proposed does not in the least impugn the significance of the religious attitude. We are merely seeking to determine the natural history of certain facts. If our highest values have developed in a social atmosphere, it means that these values are an organic part of the universe of which human society is also a constituent. If the intercourse of man with man has, under favoring conditions, been instrumental in creating within him lofty conceptions and noble purposes, we can only feel a deeper confidence in the nature of things, whatever that nature may be. It is the purpose of this study to seek for relation-ship where disconnection has often, hitherto, been assumed.
It is, indeed, well recognized, but in a general way, that the atmosphere of the social group is an important stimulus to the development of almost every human characteristic. It is difficult to conceive of the development of language and of art, or of the accumulation and organization of knowledge outside of a social environment. It is to the same source that we should doubtless look for the development of the finer emotional attitudes. What do we not owe to one another in the development of our sense of beauty, of loveliness, and of moral greatness? While we may experience the emotions of fear or of anger toward the forms of life beneath ourselves and even toward the inanimate world, it is significant to note that primitive man, if we may judge from the natural races of to-day, when he experienced these emotions, often conceived of them as directed toward conscious beings like himself. The sense of value itself is so thoroughly bound up with social activities that it may almost be called a social category.
The purpose of this chapter is to analyze this somewhat vague conception of the importance of social intercourse in the formation of human nature in the hope of formulating it more definitely. It will be recalled that in an earlier chap-ter (Chap. II) we pointed to the fact that mental attitudes develop in intimate connection with overt processes, that the psychical state is as much the result of physical activity as it is the cause of further action. As was previously stated, the mental process stands for a crisis of some kind which has arisen in the overt chain of events. Whenever it is considered in itself, it must be thought of as an abstraction from this objective sequence. Now if the activities most likely to give rise to a valuational attitude are those in which many may share, if the crises are crises of the group rather than of the individual, the resulting mental attitudes would certainly be social. Tufts has advanced the theory that the aesthetic consciousness is in this way a social product, arising out of such group activities as the dance, the festival, and other social performances which were originally the expression of practical attitudes called forth by the necessities of the life-process. In other words, that we have in these activities the causes and not the results of certain states of consciousness.' More than this, it is seen that the acts are of a definitely social character, so that the aesthetic development of the value-consciousness is the product of social intercourse. On reflection it seems quite evident that such is the case. It is certainly true that the attitude of appreciation follows rather than precedes the act to which it refers, and if the act is one performed by a social group, if it is, in fact, possible only through social cooperation, as in the case of dance or festival, the aesthetic consciousness is clearly conditioned by the preexisting social body. That the context of activity out of which all the more permanent and far-reaching values have arisen is essentially social, and there-fore that religion, as an aspect of the value-consciousness, is a product of social intercourse, we shall now try to show.
The general notion of worth, as has been pointed out, appears, first of all, when the appropriate response to a stimulus is not immediately forthcoming, and the individual is side-tracked into a lot of intermediate, or preliminary, activities. The presence of an evaluating attitude means, primarily, that in some way the direct outgo of activity has been checked. In the case of primitive man, the most acutely felt inhibitions were certainly those which affected the group as a whole. The occasions of strain which were permanent enough to become fixed in mind were doubtless those of food and defence, and in these the entire group would be concerned. The crises felt by the individual only would be, in most cases, subsidiary to these primary necessities in which all were interested. They would therefore be more transient and less able to afford a basis for the building up of a definite sense of worth. The desires of the individual vary; from purely physical causes his attitudes toward many things are easily subject to even hourly changes. If, however, of the values of which he is conscious at a given time, some are shared with others, to these values he is very likely to come back, even though his appreciation of them may lapse from time to time. Their presence in the minds of others is a constant reminder to him of their existence and a constant stimulus to him to recover them for himself. More than this, whatever has had more than a passing interest for him has almost always turned out to be of concern to others as well as to himself.
So completely is this true, that the primitive man can hardly have been definitely conscious of values which were not supported and shared by the group of which he was a part. A direct result of such a condition would be a vague, indefinite sense of his own personality. The group itself will not be analyzed, but will be conceived in the gross, as the universe in which he moves and has his being, as, in fact, identical with himself. This indefinite sense of personality is well illustrated by the system of relationship current among many Australian tribes. The notion of wife, mother, father, brother, and sister are not clearly differentiated from a rather extended group of relatives. Thus the term brother applies not only to the blood brother, but also to all males born from a certain group of men and women. This is not because the Australian is in doubt as to his blood relationship, but because his own sense of personality is so vague that he conceives vaguely those about him. He apparently thinks chiefly of groups rather than of individuals. The fact, also, that among many primitive types at the present day the sense of personal property is quite limited is an indication of the subordination of the individual's sense of worth to that of the group. Thus, among the Greenland Eskimo' the essential and general utilities of food and shelter can scarcely be said to be limited by private ownership, They are values in which the consciousness of the whole has so identified itself that they are social through and through. There is no chance for the individual to feel them as his own.
The point, thus far, is that the primitive man's greatest values, his highest conceptions of worth, are apparently distinctly social matters, and hence must be the product of social activities, particularly those which cluster about the problems and crises which affect the group as a whole.
A further illustration of this fact we take from W. Robertson Smith. The primitive Semites thought of their gods as caring only for the tribe and not for the individual. The sorrows of the latter were out of place in the religious life of the many. Individual grievances and wants could not expect attention of the deity. Under such a conception, it may be taken as a general rule that whatever is of permanent value will inevitably be associated with tribal life and tribal problems. Individual concerns, having no recognition from others, would be forgotten as the mood of their possessor shifted. On the other hand, that reėnforcement which one's sense of worth gains by the agreement of other minds is certainly of the greatest importance. The fact that some values are so re-enforced and others not so augmented would serve to scale them off with very little reference to their intrinsic appeal to the individual as such. We may safely conclude, then, that the primitive man could scarcely think of a permanent and abiding value except in terms of his group. The group endures while he changes. It is the symbol to him of permanence; it is the universe in which he moves, and with which he is familiar.
That the social organization is practically the universe, the ne plus ultra of the primitive man's life, is a most important point for the development of religious values out of those of less degree. As we shall try to show, the social body not only is an agent in enhancing and rendering permanent the simple values brought to consciousness by the growth of intermediate activities, it also raises them to the highest power. Psycho-logically, the values of the group are not only higher than those of the individual, they are genuinely ultimate and universal. This is our argument in a nutshell, and we can do no more in the pages which follow than illustrate it a little further.
That the tribe is more or less the primitive man's universe is illustrated by his tendency to incorporate within it all that is friendly and important to his own and his fellows' welfare. The ties which bind together the group are those of kinship.
In a group of kin are learned the first notions of friendship and cooperation. It would thus be difficult for a savage to conceive of anything which appeared to be friendly to him as otherwise than in some manner of his kindred. Thus animals and plants which are found to be of importance to the group are included within it, and as such belong to its kinship. There are no doubt some groups in which the notion of relationship is not prominent, and to them the points of this paragraph would hardly apply. We merely wish to emphasize at this point that where values are conceived in terms of kinship they are social values.
The blood bond has, however, been so universally recognized that it may well be taken as a causal agency of the greatest importance in the development of the value-consciousness. Through its medium the social body has produced many of our ethical and religious conceptions. We need only instance the Christian conceptions of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man; and also that well-nigh all the essential Christian doctrines bear in some form the stamp of a social structure in which the appeal to the motive of kindred was of the strongest and of the most convincing character. Note, for example, also, the teaching of Jesus, which starts with the conception of neighborliness, brotherly love, and the like.
In the social group, in which the consciousness of kindred is strong, the acts in which kindred participate become them-selves of importance, and in fact serve to bring out, more clearly the values implicit in kinship itself. Thus, with reference to the ancient Semitic peoples, W. Robertson Smith says : "The act of eating and drinking together is the solemn and stated expression of the fact that all those who share the meal are brethren and . . . all the duties of friendship and brother-hood are acknowledged in their common act." Probably no other social act has been more productive of the higher conceptions of worth.
The point is, then, that whatever development the valuational attitude undergoes, it will probably be mediated by and stated in terms of the social atmosphere in which it originates. The attitude is the reflex in consciousness of certain complexities in social activity. The particular function of the social element is, as we have pointed out, in giving stability and depth to the values brought to consciousness through the rise of intermediate activities. If this is true, the form of social structure will have much influence upon the character of the conceptions of worth which arise within it. Thus, a loose social structure will be productive of vague, uncertain values. This appears to be the case with some of the West African tribes in which fetichism prevails. Nassau holds that all the spirits in which they believe are ultimately of the dead, although often associated with some novel feature of the physical environment. Whether this connection with ancestors is genuine or not is here immaterial. Inasmuch as Ellis, in writing of the negroes of the Slave and Gold coasts,' points out the same association of spirits with natural objects and phenomena, and says, moreover, that he is firmly convinced that in the large majority of cases there is no connection to be traced with the dead, we may hold it as a possibility that, in the case of the negroes known to Nassau, the association of the spirit with the natural object is more primitive than its association with the dead.' But, whatever the origin of the spirits, they seem, among these African tribes, to have no well-defined characteristics or powers. "The powers and functions of the several classes of spirits do not seem to be distinctly defined. Certainly they do not confine them-selves either to their recognized locality or to the usually understood function pertaining to their class. Their powers and functions shade into each other. They are limited as to the nature of their powers; no spirit can do all things. A spirit's efficiency runs only on a certain line or lines."
As an explanation for this state of affairs, we would refer to the character of the social body. As far as can be gathered from Nassau's account, there is nothing fixed and definite about it, as, for example, is the case with the Central Australians. There are few definite marriage regulations, no set of customs relating to the various periods of life, such as initiation ceremonies, in which all join with a definite purpose. There is no exact system of relationship, no regular subordination of the various groups to a ruling body or chief, nor any other than a sporadic priesthood. In fact, the lack of a definite body of regulative customs is proof of a low degree of social organization. The food problem, which is without doubt the most potent cause of social differentiation, hardly exists for these people. Their few secret societies and their ceremonies, such as the one preliminary to fishing, to which reference has already been made, are always matters of concern for limited groups only, and for individuals. They afford no opportunity for the crystallization of any permanent corporate consciousness. It is not strange that the values of such a people are chaotic and changing. What little general religion has been developed has been only imperfectly conceived by the people. Nassau tells us' "the views of the great masses of the people on these subjects (public religious ceremonies) are exceedingly vague and indefinite. They attend these ceremonies on account of the parade and excitement that usually accompany them, but they have no knowledge of their origin, their true nature, or their results." In other words, the social body is not definite enough to produce a clear-cut religious attitude, but, such as it is, it mediates a value attitude of a lower grade, namely, that which comes from mere mingling together in the performance of a ceremony. It is possible, of course, that such a ceremony points to a time when the social consciousness was more stable and definite; if such was the case, it is necessary to account for the present condition through some sort of degeneration. On the other hand, if it were a comparatively simple ceremony closely associated with, or expressing, some practical interest, it would be through just such social excitement in the performance that the sense of ultimate and profound worth would develop.
Among the Eskimo of Greenland maybe found very definite conceptions of value in lines closely connected with their life-activities, but beyond these everything is vaguely conceived. Thus their idea of the duties of hospitality is clear, as also that of the private ownership of certain kinds of property and the possession in common of other kinds of property, particularly of food supplies. And the same holds true with what-ever else is connected intimately with their somewhat insistent problems of existence. When, however, any activity or conception loses its close connection with these objects of vivid attention, it loses definiteness. "There are many legends and much superstition, but it all lacks clear and definite form; conceptions of the supernatural vary from individual to individual, and they produce, as a whole, the impression of a religion in process of formation, a mass of incoherent and fantastic notions which have not yet crystallized into a definite view of the world."' This is no doubt an example of a half-developed religion which cannot, under present conditions, integrate any further. Matters connected with food, shelter, and clothing are, of necessity, so insistently present to attention that it is impossible for any large number of subsidiary, and only indirectly useful, activities to accumulate. Most of the things done must produce definite and tangible results. Hence personal skill in the handling of kaiaks and weapons has developed to a very high degree, and there are relatively few of the preliminary ceremonies found among races whose food conditions are less strenuous. So obviously does skill determine the success of an expedition or hunt that there has been small opportunity for any theories of the assistance of spirits or unseen agencies to grow up and take possession of their minds, as, for example, has been the case with the Malays. They do have some ideas of spirit help and spirit opposition, but, from the accounts one can procure of them, these ideas are not the centralizing ones which they are found to be in other quarters of the globe.
The negroes of the Slave coast, described by Ellis, furnish further evidence of the effect of defective social structure upon the notion of value. Passing along the Slave and the Gold coasts, according to this author, one finds an increasing definiteness of social organization. The Tshi-speaking people of the Slave coast have no definite central organization. The topography of the country has caused the natives to settle in little groups, families, and town companies, all more or less isolated. There are, among them, vaguely recognized general deities, but the local spirits are by far more important. These are, however, of the most fluctuating character. Every natural feature that has attracted attention has its spirit, and some of these are capable of being transferred to fetich objects which are reverenced or discarded almost at the whim of their possessors. Nothing has a definite and fixed value which under all circumstances the individual is bound to respect. This is evidently because there is no definitely evolved tribal consciousness which reėnforces and sustains the transient valuations of the single individual.
Passing along the coast to the Ewe- and Yoruba-speaking peoples, one finds an increasingly definite and permanent social organization and a corresponding decrease in the importance of the vague local spirits, and an increased importance attributed to the general deities, who with them have definite, well-recognized, and permanent characteristics. It is true we should not hastily conclude that the indefinite social organization is the cause of the indefinite values simply because the two are found to be coexistent. The question might be raised as to whether both could not be coordinate results of some temperamental trait in certain peoples. This, of course, would not be an explanation, but merely a shift of the problem. Temperament is an effect rather than a cause, and it is undoubtedly to be traced to various objective conditions under which the life-process of divers groups has had to work itself out. It is in some subtle combination of these objective conditions that we are to find the ultimate basis of different types of social organization. As we have seen in the case of the Eskimo, the food conditions may be pre-eminent factors; or topographical conditions, as in the case of the negroes mentioned above, may be chief factors. These objective conditions, whatever they are, determine both the character of the social group and the kinds of values which it possesses. Our point, then, is that the development of these values is closely dependent upon the social atmosphere.
It is interesting to compare the conceptions of value current among these loosely organized African tribes with those of the lower but more definitely organized Australians. The Australian system of relationship and the regulations of marriage involve an elaborate organization of the tribes. This organization is permanent; the details of it have fixed names, and are connected in various ways with a totemistic system. The result is a vast accumulation of worths, or values, both built up and sustained by the social body. Their initiation ceremonies are far more elaborate and apparently of far more significance to them than is the case with those of the negroes. There can be no question but that the union of the entire group in the performance of these ceremonies makes them of great import to the old and middle-aged men, not to speak of the awe they inspire in the novitiates and in the women. The same may be said of the ceremonies, the Intichiuma, designed to increase the supply of the totem animal or plant. Primitive notions of sacredness appear in the secrecy observed regarding certain of the rites, the names bestowed on the boys at initiation, and the traditions of the totems which are then for the first time told to them. "It is by means of the performances . . . that the traditions dealing with this subject, which is of the greatest importance in the eyes of the natives, are firmly impressed upon the mind of the novice, to whom everything he sees and hears is new and surrounded with an air of mystery."
In the initiation ceremonies the doings of their half-human ancestors are dramatically represented, and the totemic group concerned is thus kept keenly alive to their peculiar theory of reincarnation.' We wish to suggest here the possibility that the very theory itself may owe its existence to the dramatic rehearsal of the Alcheringa (ancestral) doings. If such is the case, it is an interesting illustration of our theory of the development of emotional values. Is it not more than likely that ceremonies directly imitative of animals, as these are in many cases, should in the savage mind produce in time the belief that the performer was the reincarnation of the spirit of the being represented? The fact that in all the tribes, with the exception of certain ones in the interior, the Arunta and the Ilpirra, these ceremonies avowedly and simply represent the actions of certain totemic animals, points, as it seems to us, to a time when these dramatic rehearsals, along with the knocking out of teeth, and circumcision, were initiation ceremonies, and that among the central tribes the particular meaning above referred to was developed. There are many ways in which primitive man might be led to imitate the actions of familiar animals. Depending upon some of them for food, and having to be on his guard against others, he is of necessity quite acutely conscious of them and their habits. Their swiftness, their cunning, and their strength cannot fail to act upon him as forceful suggestions. He might imitate them to gain their powers, to get control over them before the hunt, or, as a sort of sport, he might rehearse afterwards the conflict of the chase and enjoy again its emotional thrills. The result of such imitative performances would be relatively evanescent if they were largely matters of individual caprice. But when groups of individuals unite in them, they inevitably become social habits, and under these circumstances new meanings can develop almost ad infinitum. Thus a custom is almost sure to persist, although the occasion for it has ceased to exist. Along with the habit, or custom, remain its psychical effects, and these may be reinterpreted in any way the savage pleases. In time, there would develop out of these simple mediating acts elaborate ceremonials, having profound values in initiations, and as the most complex and remote value of all, a theory regarding the origin of the tribe and the doings of its ancestors. These effects, let it be noted, are all absolutely dependent upon the existence of a social atmosphere which gives continuity to the habit, and stimulates it at the proper time. The degree to which the consciousness of value has developed through these various practices is evident from the fact that they are performed with the greatest circumspection and with the highest degree of solemnity.
The Central Australians have a well-developed conception of sacred places in their Ertnatalunga, or secret repositories of sacred objects, the Churinga. Their conception is quite different from the African's notion of places inhabited by spirits. The exact location of these sacred storehouses is carefully concealed from the women and from other groups. They are the resting-places of the most sacred possessions of a group. Now both these collections of sacred objects and their permanent hiding-places would be impossible of development except under the influence of a well-organized and fairly permanent social body. The sacredness of the Ertnatalunga is further enhanced by the fact that a man must prove that he is worthy by showing his self-control and dignity before these sacred places are revealed to him. If he is frivolous and given to chattering, like the women, he may never be permitted to see their location. The importance of the social body in creating and sustaining such an attitude is perfectly obvious.
The Churinga may be compared with the fetich objects of the negroes described by Ellis, Nassau, and Miss Kingsley. These, in most cases, have little perzent value, such as there is depending almost entirely upon the whim of the owner. The fetich is the conceived abode of a spirit, easily secured and as lightly cast aside, if the spirit is suspected of being inefficient or of having left it. The Clhuringa are not exactly fetiches, although they are associated in some way with the spirit individuals of the group. The importance of the group in determining their character is clear. They have a permanent and hence a greater value than do the fetiches. The spirits associated with them, instead of representing individual caprice, stand for the permanent social group. They are guarded by the old men as the most sacred possession of the tribe; the loss of them would be the most serious evil which could befall it. They are sometimes loaned with the greatest ceremony to neighboring tribes. The entire system of beliefs regarding them would be almost inconceivable outside of a strongly organized social body, which would in the first place create the sense of their worth in the novice and reėnforce it and sustain it when once created.
Creation myths are symbols of a certain type of value which can appear only among well-developed social groups. With most, if not all, primitive peoples such myths deal with the origin of the tribes possessing them rather than with the actual beginnings of the material universe. The creation myth is an objective expression or projection of the group's sense of self-hood, or individuality. They express the conceived relation of the tribe to the world in which it finds itself. Their definiteness and organization may be taken as an index of the group's corporate consciousness. Other things being equal, the possession of a well-developed creation myth would point to the presence within the group of many well-worked-out conceptions of value. The Eskimo, who, as we have seen, have a simple social organization, and whose conditions of life have made the food, problem the most insistent object of attention, have only a few scattering and unimportant myths of their origin. Their stories deal almost entirely with conditions as they are at present; they are reflections, in other words, of their dominant objects of attention. The Indians of the western plateaus of North America have also no creation myths, but only a great mass of animal stories of little or no organization, corresponding exactly with their shifting, uncertain type of life. On the other hand, the elaborately organized clans of the North Pacific coast and the Pueblos of the Southwest have correspondingly complicated myths of their origin and of the fashioning of the world into a habitation suited to their needs. The highly developed Iroquois tribes also had an elaborate creation myth.
Turning to the West Africans, we find they have no creation myths as far as we can learn from the accounts of their observers, while the natives of central Australia have an extremely well-developed one. The creation myth may be regarded as an organized statement of the ultimate relationship of the group to the material, animal, and vegetable world by which it is surrounded. While not in itself religious, the possession of such a myth by a people is an indication of the development of a type of consciousness which can retain quite deep and insistent conceptions of value. There is no doubt but that there are some types of environment which are in themselves unfavorable to any permanent sense of worth. Such an environment arouses no great and generally felt need in the populations supported by it. Wants are easily satisfied, and there are no great dangers to avoid. It is also no doubt due to the character of the environment, in large measure, that the social organization is itself of high or low grade. But the character of society, whatever its cause, reacts powerfully, as we have shown, upon the primitive conceptions of worth mediated by natural conditions, so that a double force may be said to be active in the development of the higher value attitudes.
The primitive Semites furnish a good deal of illustration of the importance of the social factor in the formation and development of value-concepts. The exigencies of desert life on the scattered oases capable of supporting only small bodies of people resulted in the formation of small and relatively compact clans. Stability of organization was necessary for a clan which held its own against those who sought to secure its food advantages. This stability resulted in many customs built up about the problems of food, and these, in turn, furnished the basis for their conceptions of value. Of these customs we shall speak in the next chapter. We are here interested only to see that the value-concepts of later Semitic culture were given form and permanence by these primitive social activities. Mention has already been made of the important appreciations of value arising out of the notion of kinship. We may here add the conception of fertility, both animal and vegetable, which became a symbol, in later times, of many religious values, or, rather, it created some value-attitudes which, under certain conditions, became religious. Out of these primitive activities came also the notion of sacrifice, with all its subtle meanings.
The fundamental fact is the persisting social structure which expresses itself in certain sorts of activity. In the case of the Semites, these activities seem pretty clearly to have been economic ones. Some of their most important customs centred about the act of eating together and in festivals connected with their flocks and the harvesting of their most important vegetable food, the date. The problem of reproduction was an important one to them, probably because the clans were polyandrous, and descent was counted through the mother, which custom is, in turn, to be explained by their economic conditions. The communal meal served as a medium for the development of the notion of communion with the god, and this is an important step toward the higher ethical notions of the deity. We shall return to this point shortly in the discussion of the general problem of the development of the idea of God. The point here is that the evolution of a higher conception of worth is conditioned by the social act of eating together.
The definitely appointed and observed festivals of the yeaning time and of the date-palm harvest' were also, with the Semites, centres about which definite values grew up. In fact every one of their religious beliefs can be shown primarily to have been an evaluation of some social activity.
W. Robertson Smith held that, in primitive times, among these people, everything connected with the group or clan had its religious significance, that is to say, its value side. This diffuse religious consciousness is to be interpreted as a stage antecedent to the consciousness of any far-reaching values. It can hardly be said to be a religious stage at all. It is simply the condition in which the various necessary objects of endeavor have developed their appropriate and well-recognized technique. It means, of course, that these things must be performed with circumspection, but so, also, it is with us in our daily work. We have found out ways of doing things, ways which appear to us as best, and we usually follow care-fully the rules which experience has thus taught us. The primitive man, to be sure, thought of all these activities as conditioned in many ways by spiritual essences or powers, but that of itself made his acts no more religious than are ours when we treat live wires with caution.
There are evidences of this diffuse value-consciousness among many other primitive people than the Semites. Thus, of the Hurons we are told, "`their remedies for diseases; their greatest amusements when in good health; their fishing, their hunting, and their trading; the success of their crops, of their wars, and of their council; almost all abound in diabolical ceremonies. Hardly any feast was held at which some tobacco or fat was not thrown into the fire as a mark of respect to some deity or deities." In all such cases the religious practices, as they are called, are hardly above the level of mere practical expedients. Perhaps one reason why these simple ceremonies have been regarded as religious has been that they are quite like the genuine religious practices of a later stage of development. As certain of these values stand out and acquire great prominence in the social consciousness, they become in so far religious, and the activities, which were before only practical expedients, are now transformed into religious ceremonials.
Abundant illustrations could be found of the connection between the values recognized by a people and their objects of economic interest. It is perfectly natural that such objects should, among many peoples, be persistently at the centre of attention. It is important to realize that it is this ability to claim attention that is the basis of the value-consciousness rather than the mere fact of economic utility. The values recognized by the Kafirs of South Africa and by the Todos of India are clearly extensions of economic worths. So are many of those of the Australians, as we have already pointed out.
But, among peoples where the problem of food is less serious, the activities, and hence the values, have been of quite a different sort. It has been shown that the negroes of West Africa find it comparatively easy to obtain food, so that the attention is left free for other things. Their values are located in high hills, in dangerous pools and watercourses, and in diseases such as smallpox. Here, however, as we have attempted to indicate, there is a low degree of social solidarity, and there is therefore small chance for these values to assume a definite and permanent form.
The Head-hunting Dyaks of Borneo furnish another interesting variation. Here we find well-organized groups who have begun head-hunting in comparatively recent times.' About this vocation, or diversion, cluster their values. The heads of enemies are the bearers of the greatest blessings to the captors. They say that the value of the captured head was first called to their attention by a dream which one of their leaders once had, but the realization of the value by the group as a whole is to be attributed rather to the exciting expeditions in which all unite their efforts. The extreme precautions necessary to insure success and the subsequent necessity of guarding their own long-house from possible retaliations all involve considerable mental tension, which easily finds its objective symbol in the fruits of the hunt, namely, the captured heads. In the case of these Head-hunters, as can be readily seen, the objects of attention are not directly economic. They seem to have very little religious belief aside from what finds expression in the captured heads; these are their gods, the transmitters to them of every conceivable blessing. The explanation is that the attention of these savages is so entirely absorbed in these expeditions and in the consequences of the expeditions, that they find therein the complete expression of their ideals of life, of their highest conceptions of value. The importance of the compact social group in the creation of these values is self-evident.
That which has been in some measure illustrated, and in a degree proved, it is hoped, may be restated thus : A compact group, such as may be found among the Central Australians, the Dyaks, or the primitive Semites, furnishes a basis on which the notion of far-reaching values can take footing. The relatively stable social background is absolutely essential to the extended development of value-attitudes. This seems to be certain, because where the social organization is of low grade and hence somewhat fluent, the values mediated are found to be correspondingly indefinite, uncertain, private, and more or less transitory. The social group may be said to furnish the matrix from which are differentiated all permanent notions of value, and these are primarily conscious attitudes aroused in connection with activities which mediate problems more or less important for the perpetuation of the social body. These values may be of any kind, but especially ęsthetic and religious, which are representative of such values in their most definite form. Whether the attitude turns out to be religious, or whether ęsthetic, depends upon the nature of the context which gives rise to it. In general it may be said that the difference between them is one of relationships rather than of intrinsic content. Thus, the peculiarity of ęsthetic values is that they are detached or isolated from the problems of life, while values of the religious type are expressions of these problems in their most ultimate form. But in any case there can be no question as to the close connection of the two attitudes, and in all probability they are always intermingled. A valuational attitude in which the emphasis is upon the detached enjoyment of the moment would, of course, be ęsthetic, while it would be religious if the emphasis were upon the consciousness of the relationship of the act to the welfare of the group. In some types of the modern religious consciousness the connection is not with the group but with some conception of the ultimate welfare of the individual. In primitive religion such a conception is impossible. The individual can think of his own continued welfare only in connection with the continued prosperity of the group.
Many illustrations may be found of the interrelation of the ęsthetic and the religious in social activities. Thus, the performance of the Mountain Chant, a nine-day religious festival of the Navaho, affords not only opportunity for religious expression but also for a jolly social time.' The merrymaking attendant upon the religious rites of primitive Semitic peoples is evidence of the large ęsthetic element involved in them. The intricate details of the Australian ceremonials are undoubtedly productive of ęsthetic reactions in the per-formers and onlookers, just as with ourselves in watching the evolutions of a body of soldiers, or any other complicated activity.
Thus far our main object has been to point out the way in which the social body mediates the development of value-attitudes. Of necessity, many religious acts have been used as illustrative of the process. A few words yet remain to be said to connect it more definitely with the religious consciousness per se. The religious sense of the modern man represents an indefinite extension of the notion of value. From the point of view here suggested, the religious attitude may be said to be the consciousness of the value of action in terms of its ultimate organization. In a highly figurative and symbolic form of statement this attitude may be described by some people as `living in the power of an endless life.' This statement would apply to the primitive as well as to the modern conception of religious value, for the activity organized with reference to the welfare of the tribe as a whole is equivalent, psychologically, to behavior viewed by the individual as significant eternally with reference to his own destiny. To the primitive man, the group to which he belongs is his universe; whatever else appeals to him in any way is taken, as a matter of course, to be related to the group. Thus, in several parts of the world, the natural races have conceived the whites as the embodied spirits of their own departed tribesmen.' The extent to which the conception referred to above is generalized, or develops, depends upon the character of the organization of the group. If, as we have pointed out, the group is definite and compact, there will be many activities in which it, as a whole, takes part, and there is therefore more opportunity afforded for the development of conceptions of ultimate value, that is, conceptions which are, as a matter of course, expressed in terms of the entire group. Such values are ultimate values because the primitive man's horizon is bounded by his tribe. They cannot even be a degree less than ultimate, because, from the first, they have come to consciousness as concerning the whole group.
The question of the relationship between the religious conceptions and attitudes of the culture races, and these, described in this chapter, which lie so close to activities which mediate the pressing problems of existence, is an interesting one. As was pointed out in Chapter II, when the notion of value is once aroused, it can be transmitted from generation to generation in connection with the activities with which it is associated, by what has been called social heredity. In time these activities are transformed into rituals of more or less refined and subdued types, but they serve still to sustain the concepts and attitudes to which they at the first gave rise. It is important to see that the mere verbal transmission of the religious concepts would not suffice for the excitation of the religious attitude in the new generation. The setting of activity, either of ritual or of prescribed religious duties or virtues, serves to give body to the concepts, or to give them vital connection with life. It is only thus that the psychic state which we have called an attitude could originally appear, and its reappearance in each generation is due to the continuance of the same type of conditions.