Emotion as the Basis of Civilization

Emotion as the Basis of Civilization

Emotion as the Basis of Civilization

Emotion as the Basis of Civilization

Excerpt

Civilization develops only where considerable numbers of men work together for common ends. Such unity is brought about, not so much by community of bare ideas as by community of the feelings by which ideas are "emotionalized" and become beliefs and motives. The unifying, like the divisive, forces of civilization may thus be described as psychological. The history of civilizations has been written from various points of view--political, geographical and climatic, economic--but while these factors are not to be ignored or underestimated, they are conditions and circumstances, which may explain peculiarities of particular civilizations, or their rise and fall, but do not account for civilization itself.

The author distinguishes two principal types of civilization corresponding to the ways in which society is unified and the common purpose framed and effectuated, to name them as polities, "autocratic" and "democratic," or, as he prefers to define them by the nature of the emotions from which they proceed and their germs in smaller and simpler groups, "patriarchal" and "fratriarchal," respectively. But though both have their natural origin in the family, the development, by means largely ceremonial in nature, of "emotional cultures" adapted to extend and strengthen these feelings is a most important element in civilization. At all stages religion has contributed largely and effectively to this development, and the author has, therefore, described the relevant phenomena of the so-called primitive religions, with which anthropologists have recently been much occupied, and the more complex structures of the advanced religions, so that large space in the work is given to the history of religions in their relation to national and supranational civili-

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