Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/495

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ÆSTHETICISM AND RELIGION IN ANIMALS.

propitiating and fawning upon them, creeping and groveling on the ground in abject adoration, in order to assuage their anger or to secure their kind regard. "There is no difference," adds the same author, "between the negro who worships a dangerous animal, and the dog who crouches at his master's feet to obtain pardon for a fault. . . . Animals fly to man for protection as a believer does to his god."

This is precisely the feeling of the savage in respect to the superior skill and power of the civilized man. Taguta kipini te Atua—doctor all the same as God—are the words in which the Morioris, or aborigines of the Chatham Islands, expressed their sense of dependence on a higher agency, whose beneficent workings they perceived but could not comprehend. Among rude tribes the sentiment of devotion to a chief does not differ essentially from that of devotion to a god; the Romans, at the height of their civilization, paid divine honors to their emperors; and in modern monarchies kings are officially addressed in terms of reverential awe and superlative adulation as all-wise and all-powerful beings, whose favor one can not sufficiently implore with servile words and suppliant knee.

"The feeling of religious devotion," says Darwin, "is a highly complex one, consisting of love, complete submission to an exalted and mysterious superior, a strong sense of dependence, fear, reverence, gratitude, hope for the future, and perhaps other elements. No being could experience so complex an emotion until advanced in his intellectual and moral faculties to at least a moderately high level. Nevertheless, we see some distinct approach to this state of mind in the deep love of a dog for his master, associated with complete submission, some fear, and perhaps other feelings."[1]

Comte held that the higher animals are capable of forming fetichistic conceptions, and of being strongly influenced by them. Herbert Spencer denies the truth of this statement in its absolute form, because it does not fit into his theory of the origin and evolution of religious ideas, but admits, what is essentially the same thing so far as the present discussion is concerned, that "the behavior of intelligent animals elucidates the genesis" of fetichism, and gives two illustrations of it. "One of these actions was that of a formidable beast, half mastiff, half bloodhound, belonging to friends of mine. While playing with a walking-stick, which had been given to him and which he had seized by the lower end, it happened that in his gambols he thrust the handle against the ground, the result being that the end he had in his mouth was forced against his palate. Giving a yelp, he dropped the stick,