Syzygy (syzygy) wrote in syz_quasirelig,

Wittgenstein on Frazer

I would like to say: Nothing shows our relationship with the former savages better than that Frazer has at hand a word that is familiar to him and to us, such as "ghost" or "shade," to describe the views of these people.

(This is of course different than if he were to write, for instance, how the savages imagined (imagine) that their head falls off when they have killed an enemy. Here there would be nothing superstitious or magical about our description.)

Yes, this peculiarity is related not only to the expressions "ghost" and "shade" and we have made much too little fuss over the fact that we count the word "soul," "spirit" as part of our own educated vocabulary. In comparison to that, it is a trifle that we don't believe that our soul eats and drinks.

In our language a whole mythology is laid down.

--from Wittgenstein's marginalia on Frazer's Golden Bough, as quoted in Magic, science, religion, and the scope of rationality 63
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