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would need names for his persons, just as the novelist does. If among the people with whom he lived such names as Flower of Dawn, Red Sun, Flying Cloud, Black Storm, were as common as (or more than) Vavasour, Delamere, De Vere, Delormay, and the like among ourselves, why, he would inevitably give such names as Flower of Dawn, Red Sun, Flying Cloud, and so forth, to his fictitious characters.20 Thus it is impossible to argue, with safety, that a name in heroic myth which means a natural phenomenon originally denoted a phenomenon of nature. Thus the philological method, though it may have its uses—though, for example (as in the case of Zeus Asterios), it may perhaps indicate the foreign origin of a Greek god
-yet cannot be accepted as the only safe foundation of comparative mythology. I have exposed the nature of that safety. .
For this method we propose to substitute, as one main instrument, the method of Völkerpsychologie, or “Folklore,' or 'ethnopsychology,' or anthropology, or, to use Dr. Taylor's term, the Hottentotic method.' We must compare all the myths of the world, as far as we can get trustworthy information, and we must examine the psychology of the peoples among whom these myths are current. We must try to ascertain whether myths are not the result of a certain condition of thought, rather than of a disease of language influencing thought. Employing this method, we study the psychology and the myths of savages.
Here, of course, we are met by such arguments as Mr. Max Müller employs in his article “The Savage. 21 As to our method, 'I differ from it, I have no taste for it,' says our learned adversary.22 I am reminded of Thackeray's Miss Tickleto by and her Lectures on English History, where she dilates on the painful impression occasioned by the contemplation of early barbarism,' and on the disposition of the human mind to avoid such a study. It is full of disagreeable discoveries, but they must be faced, not avoided.
Our method is based on the following principles. The myths of the Greeks and Aryans of India are charged with the wildest, most incredible, most absurd, and morally most. abominable narratives. Gods devour and disgorge their offspring, assume the shapes of beasts and birds, change men and women into trees, or birds, or bears, or stars, and conduct themselves more like omnipotent and unprincipled clowns in a pantomime than like pure natural forces or sublime anthropomorphic deities. There is nothing in the psychology of the Greeks as historically known to us to account for such “senseless' · beliefs. But if we examine the psychology of the lower races as actually existing, or as described in the past, we find that all these idiotic myths are in perfect accordance with their psychology. There are none of the freaks of Zeus or Indra which the medicine men of the lower races do not profess to be able to perform. They can turn into cuckoos, like Hera, or fishes, like Ares, or rams, like Indra and Zeus, and they can, like Zeus, convert a human being into a bear, while their ancestors, like Callisto, have either been bears or become stars, or in a thousand wild ways 'pass beyond the goal of ordinance.'
20 Gold Flower of Dawn was a young Abipone chief known to Dobrizhofer : his father was Sun. Flying Cloud and the rest are Iroquois names. Among the Australians such names are often chosen for a child from the aspect of the weather at the time of his birth, or at the moment when the name is imposed. 21 Nineteenth Century, January 1885.
22 Ibid. June 1884.
To be brief, then, we argue that the remote ancestors of the historical Greeks and Aryans of India had either passed through the mental stages in which we find Australians and Bushmen, or had imported into their religion an enormous number of the myths which by such a mental condition are naturally produced. Among the myths of the lower races we find all the elements that astonish and shock us in Greek myth. Among the lower races themselves we discover actually existing the psychological conditions out of which such myths are born. It is a natural inference that where, as in Greece, we find similar myths without the corresponding mental conditions, those myths are religious survivals from that condition in the past, or have been imported from people who were, or had been, in that psychological state. In either case, borrowed or native, those myths would be relics of the peculiar psychological conditions now prevailing among Bushmen and Australians.
It seems superfluous to state that, if these opinions can be proved, the method of mythology becomes a mere branch of the Darwinian, or evolutionary, method in general. That method explains many physical peculiarities as survivals or rudiments of organs more fully developed in an earlier condition of the organism. We explain many peculiarities of myths as survivals from an earlier social and mental condition of humanity.
The question of proof then becomes all important. Are the lower races actually in the psychological state which necessarily produces myths like those which shock or puzzle us among the Greeks ? Is there (apart from the myths themselves) reason to believe that the Greeks had either passed through the psychological condition of the lower races, or borrowed very largely from peoples who were, or had been, in that stage ?
It is against these positions that Mr. Max Müller probably argues in his article on The Savage.' He thinks, as I understand him, that the very word savage' lacks scientific distinctness, and to please him and his followers I have tried here to avoid the term. He dilates on the difficulty of defining a savage. He mentions a number of traits, each of which, though apparently savage,' does not necessarily prove savagery in the persons who display it in action.
Yes, but what of the people who unite all and every one of these traits in their character and conduct? Are they properly called
savages,' or must we banish the word “savage' from the English language, or at least from scientific discussion ? It is not cruelty, alone, that makes a man a savage. It is not nakedness, alone, or
the naked philosophers of India'would be more savage than the Kurnai in their 'possum-skin cloaks. It is not fetishism that makes a man a savage, or Dr. Johnson would have been as savage as any Birraark; nor is believing in ghosts the test, nor cannibalism, nor infanticide, nor polyandry, nor cruelty to women. If it were so, the Psychical Society, and the crew of the Mignonette, and the Venetian noblesse of Casanova's time, and the unmarried mothers of England, and the married rufians of England, would all be in the same boat .(or rather canoe) as savages. All this may be granted to Mr. Müller. On the other hand, if any set of human beings are at once cruel, nearly naked, believers in fetish stones and so forth, are worshippers of ghosts, are cannibals, polyandrous, and addicted to infanticide-if they accumulate all or most of these unamiable traits, and add certain mental characteristics and social institutions, then we have perhaps a right to call them savages. Let us take an example of what might be styled, without needless rudeness, a savage of the darkest dye. He is nearly naked. Like Cain, in De Quincey, he tools with a stone' for want of metal. He believes sincerely in ghosts. He has no house, and scarcely even a hut. He has no domesticated animals, or very few. He is a cannibal and has even a system of rules as to who may take down whom at dinner '—what joint of the uncle falls to the nephew, and so forth. He has not, and apparently never had, any pottery. He is chiefly governed by a wild sort of 'mediums,' who pretend to converse with the dead, and to be
levitated' through the air. He is extremely prodigal in his amours, which, however, are regulated by very complicated laws. His science is magic. His art is chiefly tattooing. He has not, and probably never had, the bow and arrow. Perhaps Mr. Müller will admit that this being (a slightly flattered portrait of the ordinary, pre-European, native of Australia) may, without violence to language, be called a savage. So far we have not defined a savage, but we have exhibited a type who deserves the title. We may go further. We do not, at present, say what a savage is, but we do say that the nearly naked, nomadic, stone-tool-using, cannibal, ghost-worshipping, improvident man, without bow or pot, cruel, lustful, and superstitious, and ignorant, is a savage. He has many admirable qualities. People who know him well at home find him truthful, plucky, kind, affectionate, towards persons with whom he is in friendly relations. But he has also the peculiarities already enumerated, and these (with other traits to be mentioned later) make savage' the English name for him.
From this type of savage the lower and less-developed races shade off into lower and higher barbarism up to the conditions of Iroquois and Maoris, and so on to that of Aztecs, and finally we rise to the level of Egyptians and Homeric Greeks in various degrees of real civilisation. Our argument is, that tbe mental condition in which the typical savage is proved to be, survives into the higher barbarism and leaves its relics (owing to the conservative influence of religion) in those kinds of myths and superstitions which Greeks undeniably have in common with Australians and Maoris and Bushmen.
As all this may appear too vague, let us state explicitly what we mean by a savage; be cannot be defined in an epigram. “A savage is made to do everything that an anthropologist wants him to do,' says Mr. Max Müller. I can only give my word that I have superabundant evidence for all that a savage is said to do in the following page.
(1) In material equipment, the savage is he who employs tools of stone and wood, not of metal; who is nomadic rather than settled ; who is acquainted (if at all) only with the rudest forms of the arts of potting, weaving, fire-making, &c.; and who derives more of his food from the chase and from wild roots and plants than from any kind of agriculture or from the flesh of domesticated animals.
(2) In psychology, the savage is he who (extending unconsciously to the universe his own implicit consciousness of personality) regards all natural objects as animated and intelligent beings, and-drawing no hard-and-fast line between himself and the things in the world-is readily persuaded that men may be metamorphosed into plants, beasts, and stars; that winds and clouds, sun and dawn, are persons with human passions and parts; and that the lower animals especially may be creatures more powerful than himself, and, in a sense, divine and creative.
(3) In religion, the savage is he who (while probably, in certain moods, conscious of a far higher moral faith) believes chiefly in ancestral ghosts or spirits of woods and wells that were never ancestral ; prays chiefly by dint of magic; adores inanimate objects, and even appeals to the beasts as supernatural protectors.
(4) In society, the sarage is he who bases his laws on the welldefined lines of totemism 23_that is, claims descent from natural objects, and derives from the sacredness of those objects the sanction of his marriage probibitions, and blood-feuds.
Such, for our purpose, is the savage, and we propose to explain the more senseless' parts in the Greek mythology as 'survivals' of these ideas and customs preserved by religious conservatism and local traditions, or (less probably) borrowed from races which were, or had been, savage.
Let it be observed that this theory commits us to no opinion
23 It seems all but impossible to make some people understand what Totemism means: the curious may consult Professor Robertson Smith's Kinship and Marriage in Arabia.
about the condition of primitive man. We do not deny that he may have been a kind of angel, who fell from Paradise in consequence of an act of disobedience. Still less do we say that modern savages represent primitive man. They are already rich in implements and customs which could only have been slowly developed. We merely say that (however they started) the Greeks either passed through a state answering to that of modern savages or borrowed freely from savages. Their disgusting rites in their mysteries; and their human sacrifices; and their habits of smearing fetish stones with red paint or oil; and their Australian method of laying the ghosts of murdered men; and their use of the “bull-roarer' (the savage chapel bell) and the company of beasts that attended gods themselves often represented in bestial forms and fond of bestial transformations—all these things demonstrate either that the ancestors of the historic Greeks were once savages or that they adopted a crowd of savage customs and institutions.
Our opinion is that they also inherited or borrowed from savages those portions of their mythology which closely correspond with the myths of the most backward races, and which, demonstrably, are the inevitable fruit of the savage psychological conditions. Be it remarked that we have a vera causa, an historically proved mental stage, as the soil whence the myths arose. On the other hand, the historical school of Mr. Max Müller relies on hypothetical and unproved mental conditions, on a supposed delirium of language.
While mythologists have now to a certain extent withdrawn their old tabu on the method of anthropologists, while Mr. Max Müller, for example, shows less distaste' for it in his article on 'Solar Myths' than in his article on “Forgotten Bibles, they still deny that it can cast more than a few rays of collateral light' on mythology.
Naturally we think our method can do more than that, and I go on to offer briefly a few examples of problems which the method may be said either to solve or to place in a novel and interesting light.
(1) In the first place, no puzzle of mythology is older, and none more perplexing, than the worship of the lower animals. In Egypt this was carried to an amazing extent, and one has only to turn to Plutarch 24 to see what a number of contradictory and fanciful explanations were given by native and Greek theologians. The Greeks, as Plutarch himself observes, represented certain gods wholly, or partially, as beasts—bulls, horses, and so forth. But, adds Plutarch, they behave more correctly than the Egyptians, for while the Egyptians take beasts for gods, the Greeks only say that to the gods these beasts are sacred.25 Here Plutarch himself shows his consciousness that the animal-worship of Egypt has an essential connection with the belief which filled Greek temples with images of sacred animals, and Greek myths with tales of gods who assumed bestial shapes. 21 De Iside et Osiride.
23 Ibid. lxxi.