Study Guide

The World's Religions - Chapter IX, The Primal Religions, The Primal World, Summary & Analysis

Huston Smith
This Study Guide consists of approximately 51 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The World's Religions.
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Chapter IX, The Primal Religions, The Primal World, Summary and Analysis

Tribal people are embedded within their world, and apart from the tribe, they sense little independent identity. The tribe concurrently is embedded in nature as expressed in totemism. In totemism, the human tribe is joined in a social and ceremonial way with an animal species, which comes to symbolize a life force. The totems are links with the sustained processes of nature and the psychological needs of the tribe. Even the lines between the animate and the inanimate are less distinct in primal religion. The idea that everything is alive heightens the powers of observation to the point that not only are the people embedded in nature, but that nature is embedded in the people. In the languages of the American Indians, for example, there is no...

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This section contains 230 words
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