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them as actors, as actors like himself, and thus call the horse his runner, the dog his watcher, the cow his nurse, the bull his man, the mouse his thief, the serpent a creeper or a throttler. It was this necessity of language and of thought which brought the animals near to him and preserved that intimacy between man and beast which has survived in the animal fables of so many countries.
But what was to be done with other objects of nature, such as trees, rivers, mountains, sky, sun, and moon? They too, if our theory is right, could only be named and conceived in the same way. They had to submit to the various categories of activity for which expression had been found. To us this seems very natural, but this small step from 'He digs' to 'It digs' amounted really to the creation of a new world of thought, the objective, as distinguished from the subjective world.
What is of the greatest importance, however, is this, that, as in the case of the first formation of concepts, so here in the first formation of what we now call inythology, but what was really a perfectly natural stage of thought, and almost a necessity of language, we should clearly see its inevitable character. At that time man knew as yet one kind of being only, namely his own, one kind of language only, namely that which expressed his own subjective acts and his own subjective states, and those of his fellow-workers. What then could he predicate of outward objects except some kind of activity like his own, and what language could he apply to them except that which he had formed to express his own acts and his own states ? When he saw the lightning tearing a hole in his field, what
could he say but that the digger had dug a hole ? When he saw the wind grinding branches together till they caught fire, what could he say but that the grinder, whom he might possibly call Prometheus, in Sanskrit pramantha, had ground out fire, just as man himself ground out sparks by rubbing two fire-sticks till they spurted out flames? What we now call lightning was in that stage of thought, tearing, digging, bursting, sparkling there and then. What we now call storm or wind, was with the earliest speakers and thinkers 'smashing, grinding, hurling, blowing there and then.'
Dynamic Stage. As soon as this new mental act was performed, and performed not intentionally, but, and this is again the important point, inevitably, a new world was called into existence, a world of names, or as we now call it, the world of myth. Whatever had to be called and conceived, had to be conceived as active, had to be called by means of roots which expressed originally the consciousness of our own acts. There was no other way open as yet by which nature could be reached, and hence a whole stratum of language was formed which I should like to call the dramatic, but that I fear I might be misunderstood, and which therefore I prefer to call dynamic. All that had to be expressed had to be changed into actors, and hence the name dramatic would have been very appropriate. But as there was also an easy transition from actors to powers, whenever the human and personal characteristics of actors were allowed to vanish, or possibly had never been called out into definite prominence, dynamic will be as useful a name.
In this inevitable dynamic stage of thought and language we have the true key to all those processes which go by the names of Animism, Anthropomo?'phism, Personification, etc.
Animism. It was the fashion to say that primitive man in a poetical mood ascribed life to all things by which he found himself surrounded and affected. This peculiar tendency was called in German beseelen. Beseelen, however, could mean two things; either simply animare, to endow with life, or mente et ratione instruere, to endow with mind and reason. It is true that these two ideas often run together, and that a poet, if he once ascribed life to a tree, might soon represent it also as not only feeling, but likewise as thinking and reasoning. Still for philosophical purposes it would be well to distinguish between the two. Unfortunately there is the same ambiguity in the English rendering, viz. animism. Animism, we are told, consists in our endowing the phenomena of nature with personal life?' But what is meant here by personal life? Is it simply the individual life of a bird, or does it include all we mean by our own personality? We may ascribe life to a river and speak of living water, without as yet ascribing perception, much less thought and reason, to such phenomena of nature. If to ascribe life to lifeless things is Animism, then to ascribe mind to mindless things should be distinguished by some other name, such as Intellectism. What is still more misleading in the name of Animism is that, besides having been used long ago as a name
Fortnightly Review, 15th Aug. 1884,
of Stahl's theory of an Anima mundi, it has recently been appropriated as a name of the belief in the existence of spirits as apart from matter and in a spiritual world generally.
If Animism could be restricted once more to the conception of inanimate beings as animate, it might hold its own place by the side of Personification, which would be the conception of non-personal beings as personal, and Anthropomorphism, which would be the conception of non-human beings as human.
But we should clearly see that all these are but names, it may be, useful names, if only properly defined, but that by themselves they explain nothing. To say that to look upon a river as animated is Animism is pure tautology. We state a fact, but we do not even attempt to explain it. The dynamic theory, on the contrary, shows how these processes arose; nay, it shows that, given language such as it was during that early stage, it was inevitable. When man could as yet predicate acts only, the subjects of his predications became necessarily actors, capable of performing the acts ascribed to them.
It is here where we perceive the importance of the discovery that nearly all roots, that is to say, nearly all the elements of our thought, express actions. It is here where the Science of Language is recognised as the true foundation of the Science of Mythology, and hereafter, of Religion.
Before we examine the familiar cases of dynamic conception and naming in the Aryan world, it may be well to glance at other countries and other languages in order to see whether the same process which we have traced back to the nature of our Aryan roots, can be discovered elsewhere, and thus confirm the theory we have propounded.
Egypt. · Turning first to Egypt we find that Mr. Le Page Renouf, in his thoughtful Hibbert Lectures, faces the problem which so few students of religion have the sense to face, namely, the real meaning belonging to words which we are accustomed to translate by God. In order to show you what I mean let me by anticipation give you one illustration. You know that the Latin deus, god, corresponds to the Sanskrit deva. I shall say nothing about the Greek Deós, for such is the conscientiousness of modern etymology that any connection between deus and Deós is now denied, because it is impossible as yet to account for a Greek 0 in the place of a Sanskrit and Latin de. But anyhow the presence of deva in Sanskrit and of deus in Latin shows that this word existed before what I call the Aryan Separation, the date of which lies so far back that few scholars would be so hardy, not to say foolhardy, as to attempt to fix it chronologically.
However, the mere presence of this name for god in Sanskrit and Latin would not teach us very much. It would be curious, perhaps more than merely curious, that these two languages should have the same word for god ; but the question of real interest, how they came to have the same word for God would remain unanswered. It is here where a study of language steps in to solve the riddle. Deus in Latin means god and nothing but god. But deva in Sanskrit means first bright and brilliant. The sun, the dawn, the sky, the day, all are deva in the sense