In the earliest days of his upward evolution man was satisfied with a very crude explanation of natural phenomena—that to which the name " animism " has been given. In this stage of mental development all the various forces of Nature are personified : the rushing torrent, the devastating fire, the wind rustling the forest leaves—in the mind of the animistic savage all these are personalities, spirits, like himself, but animated by motives more or less antagonistic to him. I suppose that no possible exception could be taken to the statement that modern science renders animism impossible. But let us inquire in exactly what sense this is true. It is not true that science robs natural phenomena of their spiritual significance. The mistake is often made of supposing that science explains, or endeavours to explain, phenomena. But that is the business of philosophy. The task science attempts is the simpler one of the correlation of natural phenomena, and in this effort leaves the ultimate problems of metaphysics untouched. - Animism is the belief that objects, places, and creatures all possess a distinct spiritual essence. Potentially, animism perceives all thing —animals, plants, rocks, rivers, weather systems, human handiwork, and perhaps even words—as animated and alive
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