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But man in general, and primitive man in particular, has a tendency to imagine the outer world in his own image.And since animals, plants, and objects move, act, behave, help man or hinder him, they must also be endowed with souls or spirits.
Magic, for Malinowski, is always utilitarian, whereas religion lacks all utility.
Religion, he contends, must be seen as an end in-and-of-itself.
Now the soul obviously continues to lead an existence after death, for it appears in dreams, haunts the survivors in memories and in visions and apparently influences human destinies.
Thus originated the belief in ghosts and the spirits of the dead, in immortality and in a nether world.
The credit of having laid the foundations of an anthropological study of religion belongs to Edward B. In his well-known theory he maintains that the essence of primitive religion is animism, the belief in spiritual beings, and he shows how this belief has originated in a mistaken but consistent interpretation of dreams, visions, hallucinations, cataleptic states, and similar phenomena.
Reflecting on these, the savage philosopher or theologian was led to distinguish the human soul from the body.Another distinguishing factor is that while magic can be amoral, religion is essentially moral.Although Malinowski's specific ethnographic examples have been criticized, he was effective in demonstrating that ritual activities are most often performed whenever the outcome of a human undertaking is uncertain.This is undertaken in an attempt to form a definite impression and understanding of the Trobrianders of New Guinea.The chapters of this book include: "Magic, Science and Religion", "Primitive Man and his Religion", "Rational Mastery by Man of his Surroundings", "Faith and Cult", "The Creative Acts of Religion", "Providence in Primitive Life", "Man's Selective Interest in Nature", etcetera.His diary contained what many considered to be unflattering racial slurs against native peoples. Although Radcliffe-Brown used the term function in a strictly biological sense, Malinowski used the term with reference to "purposes" and/or societal goals.Nevertheless, Malinowski is still highly regarded as a fieldwork researcher and was among the first to incorporate ethnographic descriptions that included native commentaries concerning their likes and dislikes, daily routines, actions, and beliefs. His ideas concerning functionalism differ somewhat from those of his contemporary A. Malinowski's most important theoretical contribution to the study of religion is his 1925 essay Magic, Science and Religion .In these he has set forth the three main problems of primitive religion with which present-day anthropology is busy: magic and its relation [MB 19] to religion and science; totemism and the sociological aspect of early faith; the cults of fertility and vegetation. Frazer's Golden Bough, the great codex of primitive magic, shows clearly that animism is not the only, nor even the dominating belief in primitive culture.Early man seeks above all to control the course of nature for practical ends, and he does it directly, by rite and spell, compelling wind and weather, animals and crops to obey his will.Please see the permission section of the page for details of the print & copy limits on our e Books.Malinowski is renowned for his meticulously detailed and sympathetic descriptions of Trobriand Island life, although his reputation was diminished somewhat by the unauthorized publication of his personal diary in 1967.