-the ancestors contain weather, health illness etc. offerings are made for them.
-in these kinship based socieities whenever there is some kind of misfortune the
interpretation is that there has been a breach in the normally fucntioning, someone did
soemthing that offended the rain god etc. the ancestor is them called upon to diagnose the
problem, the shamans will interpret what the ancestors say and will call for certain
changes. eg return stolen property.
-ancestors help bind together the group. durkheims emphasis as religion as a kind of
social solidarity.we are actually just extending reverence to our own ancestors
The "primitive" - "modern" debate:
Lucien L'vy-Bruhl (1857-1939)
Fonctions mentales dans les societe's inferieures (1910) rejects the Tylor-Frazer school,
which divides humanity into infants and adults rather: premoderns have a different
mentality, where emotional needs override the need for explanation. not a different
degree of rationalitiy just a difference way of mapping the world with the rise of science
humans developed a very different kind of world view.represents a different mentality.
1. mystical orientation- perception is informed by emotion, objects are charged with
2. lack of objectivity- dreams, visions, etc., are taken for the real and sometimes as more
than real. there is a higher reality in dreams and visions. scientific mentality dreams and
visions are projections from our own subjectivie experience.
3.participation- reality forms a interlaced nexus, ties and affinities abound.the
prescientific mentalitiy seesthe entire cosmos as linked together it is not simply a bunch
of little, disconnected parts, everythign is inter-connected.and because of that the pre-
scientific mind tends to look for corelations and connections.
4. pre-logical- law of contradiction flouted, as objects are at once themselves and things
other than themselves.things could be both a and not a they could combine both opposite
powers and potentialities to them. in this premodern mentality boundaries are more fluid
5. communion with the world- reality a Thou, a living anmate other with which one must
establish harmony and integration.here again the contrast with the scientific mentality is
pronounced. The person feels that the sky etc is more interconnected with themselves.
and the key to human sucess is to establish a harmonious balance with that external
reality to which we are intimately connected.the modern science and technology treats
this larger cosmos that we live in as an object to be used for our own purpose.you just
regard the sea as a transportation medium not as something sacred does not have any
other kind of existance other than pure matter,