Abbildungen der Seite

of worship-the eating or slaughtering of human victims, the obscene orgies, as well as the spiteful and revengeful acts toward disobedient gods. The progress-like the Evolution of Romantic Love-has been from the sensual and selfish to the supersensual and unselfish. In the highest religious ideal, love of God takes the place of fear, adoration that of terror, self-sacrifice that of self-seeking. But we are still very far from that lofty ideal. "The lazzarone of Naples prays to his patron saint to favor his choice of a lottery ticket; if it turns out an unlucky number he will take the little leaden image of the saint from his pocket, revile it, spit on it, and trample it in the mud." "The Swiss clergy opposed the system of insuring growing crops because it made their parishioners indifferent to prayers for their crops" (Brinton, R. S., 126, 82). These are extreme cases, but Italian lazzaroni and Swiss peasants are by no means the only church-goers whose worship is inspired not by love of God but by the expectation of securing a personal benefit. All those who pray for worldly prosperity, or do good deeds for the sake of securing a happy hereafter for their souls, take a selfish, utilitarian view of the deity, and even their gratitude for favors received is too apt to be "a lively sense of possible favors to come." Still, there are now not a few devotees who love God for his own sake; and who pray not for luxuries but that their souls may be fortified in virtue and their sympathies widened. But it is not necessary to dwell on this theme any longer, now that I have shown what I started out to demonstrate, that religious emotion is very complex and variable, that in its early stages it is made up of feelings which are not loving, reverential, or even respectful, but cruel, sacrilegious, criminal, and licentious; that religion, in a word, has (like love, as I am trying to prove) passed through coarse, carnal, degrading, selfish, utilitarian stages before it reached the comparatively refined, spiritual, sympathetic, and devotional attitude of our time.

Besides the growing complexity of the religious sentiment and its gradual ennoblement, there are two points I wish to emphasize. One is that there are among us to-day thousands of intelligent and refined agnostics who are utter strangers to

all religious emotions, just as there are thousands of men and women who have never known and never will know the emotions of sentimental love. Why, then, should it seem so very unlikely that whole nations were strangers to such love (as they were strangers to the higher religious sentiment), even though they were as intelligent as the Greeks and Romans? I offer this consideration not as a conclusive argument, but merely as a means of overcoming a preconceived bias against my theory.

The other point I wish to make clear is that our emotions change with our ideas. Obviously it would be absurd to suppose that a man whose ideas in regard to the nature of his gods do not prevent him from flogging them angrily in case they refuse his requests are the same as those of a pious Christian, who, if his prayers are not answered, says to his revered Creator: "Thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven," and humbly prostrates himself. And if emotions in the religious sphere are thus metamorphosed with ideas, why is it so unlikely that the sexual passion, too, should "suffer a sea change into something rich and strange ?"

The existence of the wide-spread prejudice against the notion that love is subject to the laws of development, is owing to the fact that the comparative psychology of the emotions and sentiments has been strangely neglected. Anthropology, the Klondike of the comparative psychologist, reveals things seemingly much more incredible than the absence of romantic love among barbarians and partly civilized nations who had not yet discovered the nobler supersensual fascinations which women are capable of exerting. The nuggets of truth found in that science show that every virtue known to man grew up slowly into its present exalted form. I will illustrate this assertion with reference to one general feeling, the horror of murder, and then add a few pages regarding virtues relating to the sexual sphere and directly connected with the subject of this book.


The committing of wilful murder is looked on with unutterable horror in modern civilized communities, yet it took cons of time and the co-operation of many religious, social, and moral agencies before the idea of the sanctity of human life became what it is now when might be taken for an instinct inherent in human nature itself. How far it is from being such an instinct we shall see by looking at the facts. Among the lowest races and even some of the higher barbarians, murder, far from being regarded as a crime, is honored as a virtue and a source of glory.

An American Indian's chief pride and claim to tribal honor lies in the number of scalps he has torn from the heads of men he has killed. Of the Fijian, Williams says (97): "Shedding of blood is to him no crime, but a glory. Whoever may be the victim-whether noble or vulgar, old or young, man, woman, or child-whether slain in war or butchered by treachery, to be somehow an acknowledged murderer, is the object of a Fijian's restless ambition." The Australian feels the same irresistible impulse to kill every stranger he comes across as many of our comparatively civilized gentlemen feel toward every bird or wild animal they see. Lumholtz, while he lived among these savages, took good care to follow the advice " never have a black fellow behind you ;" and he relates a story of a squatter who was walking in the bush with his black boy hunting brush monkeys, when the boy touched him on the shoulder from behind and said, "Let me go ahead." When the squatter asked why he wished to go before him, the native answered, "Because I feel such an inclination to kill you."


Dalton (266) says of the Oraons in India: "It is doubtful if they see any moral guilt in murder." But the most astounding race of professional murderers are the Dyaks of Borneo. "Among them," says Earl, "the more heads a man has cut off, the more he is respected." "The white man reads," said a Dyak to St. John: "we hunt heads in


stead." "Our Dyaks," says Charles Brooke, were eternally requesting to be allowed to go for heads, and their urgent entreaties often bore resemblance to children crying after sugar-plums." "An old Dyak," writes Dalton, "loves to dwell upon his success on these hunting excursions, and the terror of the women and children taken affords a fruitful theme of amusement at their meetings." Dalton speaks of one expedition from which seven hundred heads were brought home. The young women were carried off, the old ones killed and all the men's heads were cut off. Not that the women always escaped. Among the Dusun, as a rule, says Preyer, "the heads were obtained in the most cowardly way possible, a woman's or child's being just as good as a man's so, as easier prey, the cowards seek them by lying in ambush near the plantations." Families are sometimes surprised while asleep and their heads cut off. Brooke tells of a man who for awhile kept company with a countrywoman, and then slew her and ran off with her head. "It ought to be called head-stealing not head-hunting," says Hatton; and Earl remarks: "The possession of a human head cannot be considered as a proof of the bravery of the owner for it is not necessary that he should have killed the victim with his own hands, his friends being permitted to assist him or even to perform the act themselves."

It is to be noted that the Dyaks are not in other respects a fierce and diabolical race, but are at home, as Doty attests, "mild, gentle, and given to hospitality." I cali special attention to this by way of indirectly answering an objection frequently urged against my theory: "How is it possible to suppose that a nation so highly civilized as the Greeks of Plato's time should have known love for women only in its lower, carnal phases?" Well, we have here a parallel case. The Dyaks are "mild, gentle, and hospitable," yet their chief delight and glory is murder! And as one of the main objects of this book is to dwell on the various obstacles which impeded the growth of romantic love, it will be interesting

Roth's sumptuous volume, British North Borneo, gives a life-like picture of the Dyaks from every point of view, with numerous illustrations.

to glance for a moment at the causes which prevented the Dyaks from recognizing the sanctity of life. Superstition is one of them; they believe that persons killed by them will be their slaves in the next world. Pride is another. "How many heads did your father get?" a Dyak will ask; and if the number given is less than his own, the other will say, "Well, then you have no occasion to be proud." A man's rank in this world as in the next depends on the number of his skulls; hence the owner of a large number may be distinguished by his proud bearing. But the head hunter's strangest and strongest motive is the desire to please women! No Dyak maiden would condescend to marry a youth who has never killed a man, and in times when the chances for murder were few and far between, suitors have been compelled to wait a year or two before they could bag a skull and lead home their blushing bride. The weird details of this mode of courtship will be given in the chapter on Island Love on the Pacific


In all these cases we are shocked at the utter absence of the sentiment relating to the sanctity of human life. But our horror at this fiendish indifference to murder is doubled when we find that the victims are not strangers but members of the same family. I must defer to the chapter on Sympathy a brief reference to the savage custom of slaughtering sick relatives and aged parents; here I will confine myself to a few words regarding the maternal sentiment. The love of a mother for her offspring is by many philosophers considered the earliest and strongest of all sympathetic feelings; a feeling stronger than death. If we can find a wide-spread failure of this powerful instinct, we shall have one more reason for not assuming as a matter of course, that the sentiment of love must have been always present.

In Australian families it has been the universal custom to bring up only a few children in each family-usually two boys and a girl-the others being destroyed by their own

« ZurückWeiter »