Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/597

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A PHILOSOPHY OF GEOGRAPHY

all provinces of psychology! Occupations affect mental states to a great extent, and these often depend upon geography. Health, often determined by drainage, swamps, ozone—how well do we know to what extent it can make or unmake our minds!

Philosophy, which may be briefly defined as an attempt at formulating the universe, utilizes the material results of all fields of knowledge and science, and, in so far as these are related to geography, in so far is philosophy also associated. For the names of philosophers who have been influenced by geographical problems and conditions, one has but to turn the pages of the history of geography, and see the names of Thales, Aristotle, Pythagoras, Ptolemy, Bacon, Ritter, Tyndall, Darwin, Comte. What can, and has, more radically shaped theories concerning the ultimate and the universe than the attempts at the solution of such problems as uniformitarianism, diastrophism and vulcanism?

Religions may not have had their origins in natural phenomena, yet the influence of these has often played a wonderful part. From the Himalayan austerity, the solitude of tropic forests, the unmastered floods of great rivers—from such tremendous natural phenomena came the Hindoo religion, a nature worship tinged with the melancholy of future oblivion. In Hindoo mythology the lofty mountains are invested with great sanctity and thousands of pilgrims journey year after year to the holy sources of the Ganges. From the cruel desert came the idea of Mohammedanism, of eternal bliss, an unending dream of sensuous delight attained by the faithful after the privations of a desert life. Ancient Jewish religion was much affected by the geographical factor. Wliere, too, did the puritans dwell and what was the type of their religion? And how has commerce, born of a geographic source, influenced the religions of men?

J. A. Symonds says: "In their early ignorance of cause, the Greek wondered at everything. When thunder terrified them they attributed their own nature to the phenomenon, and they conceived of Heaven as a vast body which gave notice of its anger by lightning and thunderings. Their sun was called a shepherd, in the early myths, and the clouds his sheep. It was easy for them to make a god of the sea—a husky-voiced and turbulent old man whose form none might clearly know because he changed so often and was so secret in his ways, who shook the earth in anger and had the white-maned billows of the deep for horses." All earliest religions at least had their nature worship. The rain made food grow; the sun gave warmth; the thunder-storms could put an end to a long drought. Then, there is a minor nature worship that deals with rivers and springs, with trees and groves, with rocks and stones. The spring was haunted by nymphs, the oak inhabited by a dryad. The Nile and the Ganges were holy. England is full of "sacred hills" which once received prayers and offerings. High places were hallowed in all lands.