PSYCHOTHERAPY SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS

A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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44           PSYCHOTHERAPY: SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS chap.
powers of man and nature on the other. From this it follows that magic is not the product of an abstract conception of universal law, applied to concrete cases. The truth is exactly the opposite of this : each type of magic arose as a means of meeting particular situations, was born of the emotional tensions set up, and indicates the flow of ideas from a spontaneous reaction. Such universal features of magic as there are, and such general conceptions as lie at its foundation, are due to the uniformity of the mental processes characteristic of man's reactions to his environment.
It is well known that, among unscientific people, the evidential value of a positive instance always outweighs that of a negative one ; and as a result the examples which support the claims of magic always loom larger than those which tell against them. But there are other facts which lend support to the system. The credulous believe that the magic ritual must have originated in a supernatural revelation in a real experience and, though we cannot now share this conviction, it must be admitted that the men who gave to their people the nucleus of new magic performances, acting in perfect good faith in response to some overwhelming experience, were gifted with genius. At the same time, those who followed these innovators, no doubt under the impression that they were practising what had been handed on to them, but in reality reconstructing and developing the traditional, must always have been men of great intelligence, energy and enterprise. They would be the kind of men who always rise to emergencies. It is an observed fact that in all primitive societies outstanding personality and ability in magic go hand in hand and thus magic coincided with personal success, skill, courage and mental power. No wonder it is considered a source of success !
Primitive man is supplied by magic with a number