Distracting Rituals

Professor Keirsey's Blog


Anthropologist James Frazer claimed that myth emerges out of ritual during the evolution of religions. In his twelve volumes of The Golden Bough Frazer argues that man progresses from the rituals based on magic, through belief in deities, to science. Believing natural law, man guesses he can influence nature by correctly applying this law: “In magic man depends on his own strength to meet the difficulties and dangers that beset him on every side. He believes in a certain established order of nature on which he can surely count, and which he can manipulate for his own ends.”

However, the natural law man imagines—magic—does not work. When he sees that his pretended natural law is false, man gives up the idea of a knowable natural law and “throws himself humbly on the mercy of certain great invisible beings behind the veil of nature, to whom he now ascribes…

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