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03. Theories Affecting Investigator's Work

As stated the difference between the ethnographical complexes of the observers and that of ethnical groups observed produces great difficulties in carrying out investigations and in the analysis of alien complexes. This is especially true for beginners. But even the investigators who are advanced in their work are often found in a difficult position owing to the assimilation of ready-made theories. Some of these theories produced an effect on investigators and in many instances were responsible for an arrest in the ethnographical studies.

I shall not now repeat what has been stated in reference to the theory of evolution and its influence on the investigators of languages and all inevitable consequences which may affect results and lead to erroneous hypotheses [11]. Yet, monistic interpretations of ethnographical phenomena, e.g. economic, geographical, and the like have already left the place, for a while occupied by them, to other systems; but their revival is still possible and their effect upon the investigators from time to time reappears [12]. The theory of animism as proposed by E. B. Tylor, and further developed by A. Lang, and especially by Sir J. G. Frazer was ore of theories which had great influence on investigators. However, it was represented in such a manner that instead of bringing facts together it separated some into a group of «primitivism» and on the other hand made of the theory a too broad conception. In fact, animism is a universal conception which forma the background of various complexes. These complexes show an enormous range of variation and local interpretation. The fact of recognition of «animus» (spirits) is thus too general. This may be illustrated by any number of instances picked up from different complexes. However, if animism is accepted as a finished system of thinking, as a kind of philosophy, it may overshadow other theories accepted and used by the ethnical units. As a matter of fact, animism may exist by the side of the theories and systems grown on the ground of a critical study of milieu. Yet, the spirits (animus) may have different origins and different properties, - e.g. the «spirits» of different branches of Christianity, those of the Buddhism amongst the Mongols, the spirits of the Australians. These spirits are essentially different: yet all of them are based upon a hypothesis, — the existence of spirits, which man, even perhaps the human ancestor, made in time immemorial [13]. In spite of this, the theoreticians of the last century by accumulation of facts concerning «animism» among various groups have constructed hypothetical systems of animism which as such were mere by-product of the European complex. Indeed, such systems do not exist beyond the European scientific complex. Apart from the fundamental hypothesis of «animus», no one of actually existing complexes can be put into the framework of theoretical animism. Nevertheless the European ethnographer when meeting new ethnical groups tries, with the help of these theories, to find new proofs for supporting them. The facts are not lacking, so that after a selection he naturally increases the old amount of «proofs». The Tungus, Australians, American natives and others who would like to find new proofs from the study of European complex, for supporting their own «animistic» theories, are in the same position. One of the curious manipulations of this type has recently been made by the theosophic writers who, taking the facts which they needed out of «scientific complex», have found new support for their own animistic system. However, either they do not want or they cannot adopt the scientific complex as a whole which absolutely deprives them of the possibility of penetration into the complex of science. In the same position are those who begin their investigation into alien psychomental complexes with the help of the theory of animism as it has come out of science of the last century. They naturally remain faithful to their beliefs, again supported by the facts picked up from an alien complex, for they always; remain in their own complex. No understanding, no penetrations into the alien complex is possible, just as a theosophist cannot understand the fact that the science-complex may do well without the hypothesis of «high spirits».

Another theory, perhaps yet more dangerous for the investigator, is that of the existence of «primitive mentality», and more generally, mentality which is postulated to be different from that of the investigator and especially of the theoreticians. Mentality can be understood only after a careful study of the whole complex, which has been produced by it, and after an absolute understanding of the mechanism, — the logic, — is reached by the investigator. As in the case of the theory of animism, facts may be picked up from the records of travellers and investigators for supporting a new theory of «primitive mentality» but this theory will remain with and within the European ethnographical complex. In accordance with evolutionistic postulate it has been supposed by L. Bruhl that mankind had passed through the period of pre-logic and from a mosaic work he has produced his hypothetic reconstruction. His position was more difficult than that of his predecessors who did the same kind of work to build up their theory of «animism», for the number of facts which he could use was not so vast as that in the case of «animism». Therefore he had to use some facts from doubtful sources, some facts which were misunderstood, at last some facts which were merely mistaken. Yet, a large number of facts were dismissed from the discussion although these facts could be used for building a theory just opposite to that proposed by L. Bruhl. It is not surprising that the tendency to show an absolutely similar mentality amongst all peoples of the Earth, with all consequences resulting from it, was continuously to gain many followers. Indeed, the new theory may bring, to maintain itself, as many facts, as the opposite theory; for the chief condition of the success lies in the theoretical premises, namely, the recognition of the theory of the evolution of cultural phenomena and this presumes that mankind went through a series of successive stages, so that the ethnographical facts, taken in abstracts, may be used just as those used by the biologist when he traces the evolving series of animals by the comparison of a series of homologous bones of the extinct and the living. Such a scaffolding of hypotheses and theories based on an analogy may be better understood from the comparison of such a reasoning with the reasoning by analogy characteristic of the «primitive mentality», as it is described by the writers on primitive mentality. The reasoning by analogy with the organic and thus physical phenomena is especially dangerous, for in the ethnographical phenomena no analogous nor homologous elements may be distinguished, for the complexes are still very little investigated and we know nothing about various «missing links» which might bind the isolated complexes as sequence series. However, if we are successful (which is very doubtful) in building up such a series it will prove nothing regarding the «evolution» of these phenomena for they are not organic, physical phenomena; but they are a function. It is evident that the ethnographical elements may form any complex, if the internal equilibrium of the complex is preserved and it the complex may serve as a good form of adaptation. However, the importance and meaning of different elements in different complexes may be different, — an element may be borrowed from the complexes which have nothing to do with that which incorporates the elements into its body. Yet, the same element may entirely change its function In a new complex. It is clear that in the case of the discovery of such an erratic element one may fall into an error as to its function, meaning, and origin. It is thus evident that the elements taken out of the complexes can be used only when they are checked up every time as to their present, as well as their former, meaning in the complexes, their role, and origin. In other words the complex must be first investigated and its elements carefully defined. When L. Bruhl was constructing his theory he was picking up the facts which might suit his theory. From the methodological point of view there is no great difference between his modus operandi and that of his predecessors. However, the influence of the theory on investigators is still more dangerous than the simplicist theory of animism, because the theory of primitive mentality looks more «scientific, than the old theory of «animism», it operates with the facts better adjusted to the theory, and it is more up to date with reference to the ethnographical shape of modern science. Although the theory proposed by L Bruhl, according to the conviction of many authors has never been accepted, nor seriously discussed by ethnographers, it cannot be so easily dismissed for it is only one of manifestations of the conceptions originally proposed by E. Durkheim in a series of works at the end of the last century and at the beginning of the present century for whom society (alter ego of culture, etc.) was a supra-organic phenomenon with its own life, history, mechanism, etc. but immaterial in its nature. A whole generation of ethnographers was living on this new modification of the old conception of ethnographical phenomena considered as an entity disconnected with the physical bearers and physical conditions which presumes the existence and «life» of the ethnographical complexes. So that, if the theory of L. Bruhl is rejected it will not mean that the method of treatment will be rejected. As a matter of fact its new modifications may now be seen in the works of his historians, ethnographers, and sociologists sometimes artfully presented in new forma [14].

A new approach is made by S. Malinowski who under the influence of a new psychological school attacked 'the problem from another point of view, namely, the «complexal» aspect of the elements, interpreted in terms of their psychological mechanism. First of all, this approach does not help to disclose the origin of ethnographical elements which is put by S. Malinowski as one of important aims of his ethnography and, in so far as these attempts are made, the constructions become mere hypotheses which do not essentially differ from the hypotheses — proposed by «animists», «evolutionists» and «primitivists». In fact, to know the psychological mechanism of society does not yet mean that one will know the «origin» of the elements of the psychomental complex. Yet, when the complex is dissected into its elements and these elements are separately analysed the psychological analysis will not help in the understanding of the mechanism regulating the variations of the complexes as a whole. Those ethnographers who will follow this new trend of ideas either will lose themselves in theoretical and hypothetical constructions, as has already happened with the creators of psychoanalysis, particularly, S. Freud, who has made attempts at the treatment of enigmatic ethnographical problems Such as exogamy customs of avoidance, etc.; or in the best cases of application of this method, they will present new and old facts in a new wording, little helping to understand the complexes as whole, but greatly emphasising certain aspects — just as tight effects in theatrical performances are produced when, with different colours of light, experienced artists make different pictures come out of the same stage [15].

I do not mean to say that this psychological method should not be used by ethnographers; but I want to say that its practical application must be reserved to the special aspects of the ethnographical work in which it must be recognized as a good and successful method, — it is only a technical method par excellence and it must not be abused [16].

1 have dwelt on the «psychological» method for it has already produced its harmful effect on the ethnographers who treated the problem of shamanism among the Tungus. In the chapters dealing with it I shall analyse the attitude of an ethnographer in this ease, but now I want only to point out that by applying psychological method, L. Steinberg has come to the idea that shamanism at its basis has a sexual complex. As a defence of this proposition is difficult when one deals with the totality of facts treated in the complexes he had to select certain facts in the manner of Sir J. G. Frazer, L. Bruhl, and other mosaicists. Indeed, the sexual complex cannot be excluded from the consideration of the psycho-mental complex in general, however it is not alone responsible for the existence of shamanism and origin of shamanism among various ethnical groups. This trend of ideas is also one of the components of the European complex and in its application to ethnographical investigations it may turn the attention of the investigator from the analysis of the alien complex as a whole and particularly from the analysis of its elements.

The historico-cultural method (also historico-ethnographical, and «Kulturkreise» method) chiefly created by E. Grabner, W. Schmidt and W. Koppers, being quite useful for the investigation of special problems, particularly historico-ethnico-cultural problems, may also produce an undesirable effect upon the investigator if he wishes to continue his methodology to this method alone. The internal mechanism of complexes and their «functioning» may be easily overshadowed by a formalistic reconstruction or complexes which perhaps never existed. So that in this case as in the case of modern psychological trend the investigator must not forget that there are other aspects of ethnographical complexes.

Attempts have been made at the creation of new systems from the pieces of old theories which have not yet been totally rejected. Such is the case of F. Boas who partly rejected the theory of evolution and who substituted seemingly new hypotheses for its weakest points at the same time preserving time preserving the theory of progress and some other at attributes of the theory of evolution [17]. Another case is that of R. H. Lowie who had decidedly rejected the old theory of evolution, but did not go further than u simple enumeration of various forms of «religion» arid «social organization*, but who preserves the old conception of «primitivism». His own theory is that which may be called a theory of all possibilities. Yet, he goes as far as to recommend that no new material be gathered, for, according to him, no such material is needed any more [18] in spite of the fact that the analysis and investigation, even simple description of the complexes, have not yet been begun, while the facts previously gathered badly need revision. The theory of R. H. Lowie deserves special attention for it revives the early «rationalistic» school. In fact, he brings forth the idea of «utility» of institutions which defines their existence [19]. One more instance of theoretical eclecticism may be quoted, namely, that developed in publications by A. Kroeber who tries to bring back ethnography to an organic conception of culture [20], but who at the same time and with good reason raises the problem of culture in other animals.

Perhaps the greatest theoretical hindrance to a successful investigation is a series of theories concerning classification of human groups into primitive, civilised, superior, inferior etc. Indeed, there are deep ethnographical reasons for existence of these theories, which reside in the European complex. Still, ethnographical studies take their own course. Investigations among different ethnical groups have already brought so many facts which destroy the idea of «primitiveness», that many investigators have changed their behaviour. Similarity of some ways of thinking and behaving observed among distinct groups has shadowed dissimilarities which had been formerly dismissed from the consideration. As a matter of fact, the method used for proving this proposition is the same as that for disproving the opposite proposition, — a picking up of facts for a mosaic picture, and a regrouping of facts [21]. Of course, both theories are accepted by different groups of readers, including the investigators, according to their own complexes, as was the case with the followers of different theories regarding the «animism».

The evident deficiency of the theories which recognize, superiority and inferiority of ethnical groups and «civilizations» has brought new conceptions of distinction. In fact, the old schemes of relative position of the ethnical groups in the scale of «progress», «development» and «evolution», which unfailingly were crowned by the ethnical group to which the authors belonged, were compromised, but since this complex always survived it was given a new, and seemingly scientific appearance. The difference between the ethnographical complexes was expressed not in the form of the denial and refutation of the culture of other groups, but in their quantitative aspect in which the old presumption remained untouched, — the greater the quantity, the better. Yet, there has also been given dynamic conception of difference in culture. J. Deniker in the second edition of his work Les races et lespeuples de la terre (1926) reproduces his naive classification of groups according to the tempo of change, namely, — the groups a progres exclusivement lent, the groups a progres appreciable, mais lent, the groups a progres rapide. According to this scheme, the Chinese, together with the Malays, Mongols and ancient Egyptians, belong to the middle groups of semi-civilised. His classification was a pure and simple hypothesis for nobody had measured the tempo of variations among different groups discussed, and the tempo itself without consideration of the population and interethnical pressure means very little. Naturally, the Western Europeans occupied the first place in this classification. According to this classification, ethnical groups (peuples et nations) were put about in the same order of the hierarchy as they were in the old classification of Morgan and Vierkandt, also other authors who based themselves on the lack of some cultural elements which defined in their mind the relative place of the groups. Indeed, a desire of being «first» (an interesting psychological complex!) is the condition which leads to the idea of such a classification. So it is not a scientific classification, but it is a reaction rationalized in pseudo-scientific forms. It may be supposed that a careful study of other complexes will probably result in finding similar attitudes among other groups beyond Europe, e.g. in India and China.

In spite of all good will to build up a new method, the old European complex with its element of the consciousness of immeasurable superiority shows its face. In such special studies as that, for instance, of F. H. Hankins [22] also in R. H. Lowie's the idea of «primitive» and «civilized» peoples occupies the place of importance.

The question of superiority and inferiority closely connected with the ideas of progress etc. supposes a movement from inferiority to superiority, from simple to complex, from barbarism to the civilization, as it is commonly understood from «bad» to «good». This conception is still narrower than the idea of «evolution» and it is always supposed that the early stage is worse than the later one in the, minds of «optimistic» people, and vice versa in the minds of «pessimistic» people. This complex is very deeply rooted in the European and other complexes. It probably has its roots in the «subconscious strata», — the growth of the child, the «instinct» of accumulation (food, etc.). Let us take some instances. If the stature of the given ethnical unit or of a group of units is changing positively (the increase of stature very commonly observed) this gives great satisfaction to the unit; if it changes negatively it produces a kind of fear of «de-generation». However, we do not know what is better for the self-preservation of the unit. Biologically every change points to some process which the unit is undergoing; so that at this moment the unit is in the state of relative instability and we cannot say which end will ensue in the process [23]. As a matter of fact, the positive and negative changes may result both in the survival and decline of the unit for the question la: in which condition is the unit better adapted for survival or decline? The same may be referred to any other change, both static, physical (morphological) and functional (cultural, and physiological). The only objective way of judgement is whether the process results in the preservation or decline of the unit, and from this point of view it may be «good» or «bad» for the unit and individual who undergo the process [24]. If it is possible to prove that the over-growth of stature gives certain preference in the struggle for existence then it is «good», but from the instance of the giant elephants and giant deer of quaternary period it. may be seen that the size may result in difficulty of adaptation. On the other hand a decrease of the size may be «good» especially under changing conditions of the struggle for existence, but we also know the case of the quaternary elephants the reduction of the size of which was associated with their extinction in Malta. Who can say whether a change really assures existence of the unit, if the latter complicates its culture and refines its psychomental complex, or leads the unit to its decline and extinction? If such a definition of the process as «good» may be used in reference to the units which have their own history, which begin from small size, grow, overgrow, and usually sooner or later die, then it cannot be used in reference to «mankind» as the present species of man. Gradual extinction of some ethnical units leaves the place for other units which may grow better (faster) and in this way they may assure the existence of the human species as opposed to other animal species. One may continue this reasoning further and the result will be the same: a relativity of the meaning of the change of physical and cultural adaptation. So the complex of «progress», «development» etc. cannot be justified as terms of an exact language in reference to the ethnographical phenomena. Their introduction into our scientific terminology may also hinder the analysis of the ethnographical and (ethnological) phenomena.

One of the particular cases of theories dangerous for the investigators is the complex of superiority in the form of belief in the «mysticism» of the non-scientific mentality. The theory of spirits in some complexes is quite a satisfactory working hypothesis for solving certain problems. However, as such it does maintain the equilibrium of the psychomental complex and thus the unit may peacefully continue its existence. Science will change later, so its present state will be as much «mystic» as the theory of spirits seems to be to the «anti-mystic» scientists of our day. Since the terms «mystic», «mysticism» etc. are introduced into the terminology of an ethnographer it is almost certain that this ethnographer will not be able to penetrate into the essential elements of the «primitive» complex. This label enables him to hide from himself and from the readers his own lack of understanding of an alien complex. Therefore, it is very common that such a naive investigator puts in this box everything which is beyond his understanding. In fact, even in recent years, the phenomena of self-suggestion, mass hypnosis, even mental and psychic maladies were classified under this heading. It is not the label which is dangerous but the failure of the power of observation on the part of the investigator which is inevitable since a simplest solution of difficult problems is found. It is not surprising that in the writings of poor observers thinkers the «ac-cusation» of mysticism of primitive» and «religious» people, also their own colleagues is common.

The history of the theories of totemism, of late years; occupying attention of all ethnographers, shows quite clearly [25] how this phenomenon might be modelled in the midst of the European groups with their ethnographical complexes. After a series of attempts at the solution of this relatively simple problem the theoreticians have come to the conclusion of giving up the idea of creating a general theory. Indeed, it is quite natural for totemism (in a narrow sense, as a theory of other ethnical groups) can be understood in every case when understood in every case when taken separately, within the complex only. It may be compared with the theory of animism and it may be treated as one of theories resulting from the wide-spread theory of animus. Under the influence of current fashions, many investigators have tried to disclose totemism everywhere where hints to animals and plants were found. The zeal of ethnographers brought them to the unintentional distortion of facts actually recorded, in order to suit them to the theories. Yet, in its greatest development it has reached the summit of imagination when treated by E. Durkheim and his followers as a social system in the scale of «human evolution». Indeed, totemism as W. H. Rivers suggested might migrate very easily as such and in the complexes and thus might now be found in many a place where it could be accepted as an element which created a better equilibrium with the other elements of the psychomental complex.

In order to conclude this short enumeration of difficulties created by the recent increase of scientific theories which may greatly handicap the investigators I want to point out that these difficulties at present can be better realised, if we remember that the process of thinking, according to some psychologists, is going along the channels of previous practice, and according to the physiologists either as a chain of conditioned reflexes, or as physically existing connections of the brain tissues. Since the process (proceeding in the «channels» and through the system of association, proceeding as a system of reflexes or in the «engross») is fixed in everyday thinking, still more supported by the complex of European ethnographical milieu, the young investigator will always go along these «channels» for combining the newly acquired facts concerning other ethnical groups (alien complexes), if his own critical spirit (method) is not strong and is inclined to the stabilization and petrification of theories received from the milieu. Such a conservatism, as I have already shown on different occasions, is one of the conditions of the transmission of existing ethnographical complexes (including «culture», «civilization», «science»), so its existence is conditioned not only by the individual character of persons, but also by the mechanism of the continuity of the secondary milieu in general Under the existing conditions it is quite natural that the exceptionally brilliant young pupils endowed of talents and appreciated by their teachers often fail in their own investigations. The cases when the teachers of genius also leave no pupils are well known in all branches of knowledge. In such cases the pupils may be too oppressed by the grandeur of their teachers. The same is true of the musicians-performers who very often show their geniality in childhood after passing through the «good school» of the best teachers later become mediocrity's. More than that, many scientific discoveries have been made by person who had not been originally specialized in the field of their discoveries. All these cases are of a purely psychological order. It ought to be added that the liberation from the mechanical movement along the channels or system of conditioned reflexes acquired during long life in the midst of the given ethnical unit and supported by the complexes of an unconscious order (Freudian) is extremely difficult for the beginners when they begin their observation of alien complexes and almost impossible for the persons of a certain age and previous training along the special lines.


11. Cf. Aspects, Chapter III.

12. In spite of the fact that these theories are out of use, they do reappear. From the ethnological point of view one of interesting cases is that of «economic interpretation», in its further modification of «class struggle», as it in nowadays revived among the ethnographers dependent upon the communistic party which has taken control of Russia. Speculative in its nature, historically by-product of German scholastics of the beginning of nineteenth century, after an assimilation of early pre-Darwinian theories of «struggle» and «catastrophic» changes, it became a modernized form of a pseudo-scientific justification of the politicians of a new formation who needed it for opposing themselves to their predecessors in «reforming» the European social system. The relapse of this theory among the present ethnographers is due to two causes, namely, a General lowering of cultural complex in Russia (seen, for instance, in the decrease of food and clothing supply, reduction of the number of educated people, simplification of the social organization, etc.) resulting in a lowering of scientific criticism', and in an excessive political pressure of a party which, as elsewhere, cannot be competent to direct science, indeed, such a theory greatly reduces the scientific outcome of the work; but it is, so to say, an abnormal phenomenon which has occurred within a disintegrated unit (group of units) and it in not characteristic of modern scientific trend. Moreover, it has no chance for survival, it may now occur only in the conditions of disintegration of present cultural complexes and ethnical units (and groups), in which condition ethnography would become quite a superfluous luxury, as a special branch of knowledge, moreover quite impossible owing to the requirements of a preliminary theoretical training of ethnographers. Together with other cultural elements it will also perish, as well as ethnographers, without producing any effect upon ethnography as a science cultivated in other ethnical complexes. I do not need to pause on geographical monism which is observed among those who, owing to their defective general education, fail to become real geographers (extensive naturalistic knowledge), and ethnographers (in addition to the general education special training in linguistics, «humanities», etc.).

13. From the fact of burial ritual observed in the period of old stone culture we have to infer that the idea of spirit was known to the men of the Neanderthal «race» so that the origin of this idea is lost for ever. The theories regarding the origin of «animism» are naturally confined to the hypothesis based upon reasoning and not upon facts. The man of Neanderthal is not considered, by the anthropologists, as an animal of the same species as Homo Sapiens. We cannot postulate that the hypothesis of spirit did not exist in the complex of still earlier ancestors of present man. The ethnical groups which exist at present time are as modern as European groups, so that without another postulate, — the survival of old ethnographical complexes amongst the «primitive» groups, — it is impossible to believe that the investigation of these groups may give us the key for establishing the origin of this conception of spirit. An understanding of the weight of this element in the psychomental complexes does not require a finding of the «origins» so that the search for the origin of this hypothesis is rather useless for we have no means to establish and restore the complex in which the hypotheses of «animus» has made its first appearance. Without knowing the complex it is impossible to find out how and why it was created and what was its original function and meaning. Since that time the. hypothesis of «animus» was transmitted from one to another generation, from one to another ethnical unit, and perhaps from one to another animal species.

14. Vide e.g. M. Granet's publications.

15. e.g. vide recent publication by A. I. Richards, Hunger and Work in a Savage Tribe. A functional study of nutrition among the Southern Bantu, London, 1932.

16. It is clear that my use of the term «functional» is much wider than that adopted by S. Malinowski and his followers. I must emphasize it because the same «sounding» starter-function-functional, etc. - may be used as starters of different chains of conditioned reflexes, to have different «meaning». A full «meaning» of my use of these terms will be clear after the reading of this work.

17. Cf. F. Boas The Mind of Primitive Man, 1916, also his article Anthropology in «Encyclopaedia of Social Sciencew, 1920. Indeed, F. Boas' «critical method» is a technical method of preparing material for analysis, which has made him still more sterile in so far as the orientation in the ethnographical phenomena is concerned.

18. Cf. R. H. Lowie Primitive Society, also Primitive Religion.

19. Rationalization of ethnographical phenomena is characteristic not only of the investigators, but also of the units when they are undergoing a process of variation at a rapid tempo. In fact, when the process is going on very fast the unit has no time for perceiving the elements of the complex as stable ones, given by the high spirits, or established by the semi-deified ancestors. Then the unit is inclined to explain all phenomena as product of a rational calculus. This is the case of some modern ethnical groups which undergo the process of change at a rapid tempo. The rationalization of the ethnographical phenomena amongst the ethnical groups observed by the investigators is also very common. One of forms of rationalization is the utilitarian interpretation of these phenomena. This attitude is also closely connected with the prevailing ethnographical complex characteristic of a unit to which the investigator belongs. Indeed, such a unit may be one of the groups which forms the ethnical unit (vide infra, Section 5). I will not stop longer on this theory for its methodological defectiveness is evident.

20. Cf. A. Kroeber, Historical Reconstruction of Culture Growth and Organic Evolution, in: American Anthropologist, Vol. 33, No. 2, pp. 149-156,1931.

21. Cf. for instance, O. Leroy, La Raisonprimitive. Essai de refutationde la theorie du prelogisme, Paris, 1927.

22. Cf. F. H. Hankins, The Racial Basis of Civilization. This work is interesting for it reflects the ideas of a certain group in America which has not yet completed the process of ethnical formation and where the ethnical elements which form this new unit greatly feel the difference of their complexes. However, the title of this work, as well as its contents, show that neither «racial» nor «prejudice» are clear to F. H. Hankins, and these elements he takes in good faith as elements against which he is called to fight. This work is not isolated. Lately there have been published many pamphlets, articles and even books the authors of which manipulate these ideas pro and contra, under the cover of science, but actually with a practical aim of strengthening the position of the units to which they belong or believe themselves to belong, or with a practical aim of weakening the position of their actual or imaginary enemies (ethnical, and even merely professional). All these publications may give good material for an ethnologist who would devote his time to the study of ethnical reactions, both aggressive and self-defensive. I hope to come back to this problem in my future publications.

23. The change of attitude chiefly depends on the general trend of behaviour of the ethnical unit. In fact, if the unit is in the state of growth and may hold its position among other ethnical units an «optimistic» behaviour is very likely to appear, while the units which, lose their internal equilibrium (particularly after the flexion of the curve of cyclic growth of population) are inclined to show «pessimistic» behaviour, which in certain conditions of interethnical pressure may lead to a complete loss of vital resistance and collapse (internal). Indeed, since the masses of population are built up of individuals, the individuals are affected by the change of behaviour which is also correlated with the individual reactions and general conditions (of individuals). Therefore a purely psychological and psycho-pathological approach to this problem cannot help in the analysis of the origin of the change of the ethnical attitude.

24. The «pessimistic» point of view: the first step of the child is that to death, which is quite true, for life is limited, This is «pessimism» of a man on his decline. It is different with the young people who never think about death, the idea of which does not yet come to their minds if they are «normal.» The same is true with reference to the mass psychology observed in the ethnical units which, if they are biologically strong, believe in their eternal existence and this psychic attitude assures the necessary tension of their reactions. As a matter of fact, the observation of the psychic behaviour and the tempo of variations, under a known interethnical pressure and at the known moment of the population cycle, may suffice for giving hints as to the near future of the unit.

25. Cf. A. van Gennep Le totemisme.

 
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