The Making of Religion eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 426 pages of information about The Making of Religion.

[Footnote 10:  I am not responsible, of course, for the scientific validity of Dr. Charcot’s theory of healing ‘by idea.’  My point merely is that certain experts of no slight experience or mean reputation do now admit, as important certainties within their personal knowledge, exactly the phenomena which Hume asks the wise and learned to laugh at, indeed, but never to investigate.]

[Footnote 11:  Pp. 353-356.]

[Footnote 12:  P. 93.]

[Footnote 13:  Traeume, p. 76.]

[Footnote 14:  Hegel accepts the clairvoyance of the Pucelle.]

[Footnote 15:  See Dr. Dessoir, in Das Doppel Ich, as quoted by Mr. Myers, Proceedings, vol. vi. 213.]

[Footnote 16:  Philosophie des Geistes, Werke, vol. vii. 179.  Berlin. 1845.  The examples and much of the philosophising are in the Zusaetze, not translated in Mr. Wallace’s version, Oxford, 1894.]

[Footnote 17:  Proceedings, S.P.R., vol. ii. pp. 201-207, 390-392.]

[Footnote 18:  Elements of Hypnotism, p. 67.]

[Footnote 19:  Possibly Mr. Vincent only means that Elliotson’s experiments, ‘little more than sober footing’ (p. 57), with the sisters Okey, were rubbish.  But whether the sisters Okey were or were not honest is a question on which we cannot enter here.]



Among the various forms of science which are reaching and affecting the new popular tradition, we have reckoned Anthropology.  Pleasantly enough, Anthropology has herself but recently emerged from that limbo of the unrecognised in which Psychical Research is pining.  The British Association used to reject anthropological papers as ’vain dreams based on travellers’ tales.’  No doubt the British Association would reject a paper on clairvoyance as a vain dream based on old wives’ fables, or on hysterical imposture.  Undeniably the study of such themes is hampered by fable and fraud, just as anthropology has to be ceaselessly on its guard against ‘travellers’ tales,’ against European misunderstandings of savage ideas, and against civilised notions and scientific theories unconsciously read into barbaric customs, rites, traditions, and usages.  Man, ondoyant et divers, is the subject alike of anthropology and of psychical research.  Man (especially savage man) cannot be secluded from disturbing influences, and watched, like the materials of a chemical experiment in a laboratory.  Nor can man be caught in a ‘primitive’ state:  his intellectual beginnings lie very far behind the stage of culture in which we find the lowest known races.  Consequently the matter on which anthropology works is fluctuating; the evidence on which it rests needs the most sceptical criticism, and many of its conclusions, in the necessary absence of historical testimony as to times far behind the lowest known savages, must be hypothetical.

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The Making of Religion from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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