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  • Experience taught Stone Age people the difference between what poisoned them and what satisfied

  • their hunger. Their minds gathered empirical realities necessary for survival. They did

  • the best they could in drawing conclusions about the world beyond them. They assumed

  • that they were at the center of the universe, which they saw as flat, small and under sky.

  • They called themselves "the people" and thought that strangers were creatures of another sort

  • -- less human than they. They believed that if they ate the flesh of

  • a strong beast they might acquire its spirit, or if they ate a portion of the body of a

  • leader who had died they might acquire his special qualities. They assumed that the sun

  • and moon they saw moving across the sky were animate beings. A face of a dead person they

  • knew and recognized in the peculiar shapes on the face of a rock was associated with

  • the living spirit of that person dwelling within that rock.

  • With no defined difference between spirit and materiality, they believed that in preserving

  • a corpse they were also helping to preserve the spirit of one who had died. They believed

  • that a body went limp at death because the spirit that had been within it had left it

  • for the invisible world of the spirits. They felt no urge to meld these ideas of spirits

  • and materiality into a consistent picture. People correctly associated their own movement

  • with their will, and they believed that all movement was the product of will. They saw

  • insects as moving by will. They assumed that plants grew because of a will within. They

  • saw the sun, moon and stars as closer than they really were and as moving by will. For

  • Stone Age people, will was spirit, and they saw the world as filled with many spirits.

  • Or, to use another word: gods. They saw gods within everything that moved. There was a

  • god within the wind and another god within the rivers. A god in the ocean made the waters

  • rush to the beach and then retreat. The sun was a god. They saw their reflection in water

  • and believed that what they were seeing was their spirit.

  • People attributed much that happened to the spirits and to magic. Lightning, thunder,

  • rain, the tides, procreation and fire were all magic. And fire was not only a product

  • of magic it was a manifestation of spirit. Their view of the world came to them with

  • invented stories. These were stories that were told and accepted without recognition

  • of a difference between fact and fantasy. Every society had its stories about creation,

  • each with a different twist. Storytelling described their world in a way

  • that they could understand. There were stories of a god having created them out of earth

  • and a story among others that they had been created from the bark of a tree. An occasional

  • exception to universal order might be described as the work of a demon spirit, an evil of

  • sorts. There were stories about evil and dread, a story with a threatening demon of some sort

  • producing more excitement than one without danger.

  • People believed that if the gods could perform magic so too could they. The earliest form

  • of religious ritual was an attempt at magic through imitation -- such as painting a face

  • on the belly of a pregnant woman in hope that the magic of the drawing would encourage birth.

  • Hunter-gatherers were trying to get by rather than to change their world. They tended to

  • believe the world would always be as the gods had made it. They had no sense of social progress

  • or image of humanity's capabilities beyond their abilities. The imagination of those

  • who had a biological potential for genius and those of normal intelligence were limited

  • by their culture. Had it been otherwise, modern society would

  • have appeared much sooner.

Experience taught Stone Age people the difference between what poisoned them and what satisfied


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B1 中級 美國腔

大故事。宗教的起源 (The Big Story: Origins of Religion)

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    稲葉白兎 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日