Although primitives (to use the commonly accepted term) can clearly differentiate things that appear supernatural from those that occur in the ordinary course of nature, they rarely imagine them as separate, for in them the "sense of the impossible" is lacking. What we should call miraculous appears to primitives commonplace, and though it may cause them emotion it does not readily surprise them. The events which strike their imagination do not actually proceed from "secondary causes," but are due to the functioning of unseen powers. The success or the failure of an enterprise, the well-being or the misfortune of the community, the life and the death of its members—all these depend at all times upon powers, "spirits," influences, forces innumerable, which surround the primitive on all sides, and constitute themselves the real masters of his destiny. In short, to judge by what he habitually thinks and fears, it would seem as if the supernatural itself forms part of nature to him.


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Primitives and the Supernatural LL Bruhl 1935