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Unformatted text preview: and monogamy. And the members of
some groups are born to ideals, customs and habits that make it right for a member to sing obscene songs and
to be obscene at certain periods, to kill and destroy the enemy, to sacrifice the unbeliever, to worship a clay
image, to have as many wives as possible, and that make it WRONG to do otherwise. Indeed, he who wishes a
child to believe absolutely in a code of morals would better postpone teaching him the customs and beliefs of
other people until habit has made him adamant to new ideas.
It is with pleasure that I turn the attention of the reader to the work of Frazier in the growth of human belief,
custom and institutions that he has incorporated into the stupendous series of books called "The Golden
Bough." The things that influence us most in our lives are heritages, not much changed, from the beliefs of
primitive societies. Believing that the forces of the world were animate, like himself, and that they might be
moved, persuaded, cajoled and frightened into favorable action, undeveloped man based most of his customs
on efforts to obtain some desired result from the gods. Out of these customs grew the majority of our
institutions; out of these queer beliefs and superstitions, out of witchcraft, sympathetic magic, the "Old Man"
idea, the primitive reaction to sleep, epilepsy and death grew medicine, science, religion, festivals, the
kingship, the idea of soul and most of the other governing and directing ideas of our lives. It is true that the
noble beliefs and sciences also grew from these rude seeds, but with them and permeating our social structure
are crops of atrophied ideas, hampering customs, cramping ideals. Further, in every race in every country, in
every family, there are somewhat different assortments of these directing traditional forces; and it is these
social inheritances which are more responsible for difference in people than a native difference in stock.
Consider the difference that being bo...
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This note was uploaded on 09/26/2011 for the course PSYCHOLOGY 110 taught by Professor Kannan during the Spring '11 term at Anna University Chennai - Regional Office, Coimbatore.
- Spring '11