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event he witnesses, the reasons why each state of things he surveys is such as it is and no other, is no product of high civilisation, but a characteristic of his race down to its lowest stages. Among rude savages it is already an intellectual appetite, whose satisfaction claims many of the moments not engrossed by war or sport, food or sleep. Even in the Botocudo or the Australian, scientific speculation has its germ in actual experience."[1] It will be shown later that the food of the savage intellectual appetite is offered and consumed in the shape of explanatory myths.

But we must now observe that the "actual experience," properly so called, of the savage is so limited and so coloured by misconception and superstition, that his knowledge of the world varies very much from the conceptions of civilised races. He seeks an explanation, a theory of things, based on his experience. But his knowledge of physical causes and of natural laws is exceedingly scanty, and he is driven to fall back upon what we may call metaphysical, or, in many cases, supernatural explanations. The narrower the range of man's knowledge of physical causes, the wider is the field which he has to fill up with hypothetical causes of a metaphysical or supernatural character. These supernatural causes themselves the savage believes to be matters of experience. It is to his mind a matter of experience that all nature is personal and animated; that men may change shapes with beasts; that incantations and supernatural beings can cause sunshine and storm.

  1. Primitive Culture, i. 369.