LÃ©vy-Bruhl goes on the point out very justly that all this implies a conception of time and space that is not in our sense of the word “rational”: one in which both past and future, cause and effect, coincide in a present experience. By “folklore” we mean that whole and consistent body of culture which has been handed down, not in books but by word of mouth and in practice, from time beyond the reach of historical research, in the form of legends, fairy tales, ballads, games, toys, crafts, medicine, agriculture, and other rites, and forms of social organization, especially those that we call “tribal.” This is a cultural complex independent of national and even racial boundaries, and of remarkably similarity through the world; in other words, a culture of extraordinary vitality. There is, perhaps, no subject that has been more extensively investigated and more prejudicially misunderstood by the modern scientist than that of folklore. To a very large extent both employ one and the same symbols, which are taken more literally in the one case, and in the other understood parabolically; for example, the “giants” and “heroes” of popular legend are the titans and gods of the more learned mythology, the seven-league boots of the hero correspond to the strides of an Agni or a Buddha, and “Tom Thumb” is no other that the Son whom Eckhart describes as “small, but so puissant”. Natural or artificial objects are not for the primitive, as they can be for us, arbitrary symbols of some other and higher reality, but actual manifestations of this reality; the eagle or the lion , for example, is not so much a symbol or image of the Sun as it is the Sun in a likeness (the form being more important than the nature in which it may be manifested); and in the same way every house is the world in a likeness, and every altar situated at the center of the earth; it is only because we are more interested in what things are than in what they mean, more interested in particular facts than in universal ideas, that this is inconceivable to us. Artistic natures, poets, painter, sculptors, musicians, seers, who see God face to face, remain all their lives eidetically rooted in their creations. What real distinction of two mentalities can be made is, in fact, the distinction of a modern from a mediaeval or oriental mentality; and this is not a specific distinction, but one of sickness from health. We shall consider, then, the “primitive mentality” as described, very often accurately enough, by LÃ©vi-Bruhl and other psychologist-anthropolosits. Hence its sacred character. Racism and all the other ‘isms’ grow from primitive tribalism, the instinctive hostility against those of another tribe, race, religion, nationality, class or whatever. Search metadata Search text contents Search TV news captions Search radio transcripts Search archived web sites Advanced Search "We civilized men have lost the Paradise of the 'Soul of primitive imagery'. The next and most famous characteristic of the primitive mentality has been called "participation", or more specifically, "mystical participation". The superior intellectuality of primitive and "folk" art is often confessed, even by those who regard the "emancipation" of art from its linguistic and communicative functions as a desirable progress. So that as the ‘Majjhima Nikaya’,1.265-266 expresses it, three things are required for conception, viz. We do not call folk art “abstract” because the forms are not arrived at by process of omission; nor do we call it “conventional”, since its forms have not been arrived at by experiment and agreement; nor do we call it “decorative” in the modern sense of the word, since it is not meaningless; it is properly speaking a prinicipial art, and supernatural rather than naturalistic. Hence also its efficacy. It is very far from true that in traditional societies the individual is regimented: it is only in democracies, soviets, and dictatorships that a way of life is imposed upon the individual from without. The explanation of the possibility of disagreement in such a matter has much to do with the belief in progress, by which, in fact, all our conceptions of the history of civilization are distorted. Far more rarely, an archeologist such as Andrae has the courage to express as his own belief that "when we sound the archetype, the ultimate origin of the form, then we find that it is anchored in the highest, not the lowest," and to affirm that "the sensible forms [of art], in which there was at first a polar balance of physical and metaphysical, have been more and more voided of content on their way down to us.". Hence also its efficacy.” Far more rarely, an archeologist such as Andrae has the courage to express as his own belief that “when we sound the archetype, the ultimate origin of the form, then we find that it is anchored in the highest, not the lowest,” and to affirm that “the sensible forms [of art], in which there was at first a polar balance of physical and metaphysical, have been more and more voided of content on their way down to us.”.