dijous, 30 d’abril de 2015

THE GIFT : Philosophy, Alchemy and Theology are all a part of Magic’shistory, but really had nothing to do with the scientific study of the topic. Which let him to theidea of collecting his data, for this book, from both a historical and an analytical point of view.Mauss looks at E. B. Tylor’s anthropological theory of magic, referring to his book entitled, ‘Primitive Culture’, about magical demonology and primitive animism. Mauss’s mainfocus of interest here is on ‘Sympathetic Magic’ and Tylor’s idea that the rituals some how played an important part in ‘The System of Survivals’ (Pg. 14) .Mauss then recognizes J. G Frazer’s hypothesis on magic, “Magic is the foundation of thewhole mystical and scientific universe of primitive man. It is the first stage in the evolution of the human mind” (Pg. 15) .The author then realizes that, “Magic is, therefore the foundation of the whole mysticaland scientific universe of primitive man”. And precedes to relate the following story:“Man thought that he was not only master of his own universe, but imagined he was master of all. He then saw that the universe was resisting him, and decided to bestow upon it great andmysterious powers, that he had once savored for himself. Once upon a time man himself wasGod, and now they populate the world, none will bend to his will. Man now finds himself bending his knee in worship of them” (Pg. 17) .Mauss brings in the ‘Psychology of Magic’ with Lehmann’s definition, “Magic, the practicing of superstitions, that is, those beliefs which are neither religious or scientific, that existin our society, in observable forms of spiritualism and occultism” (Pg. 17) .1 This is, the author realizes, where he and all the other writers on the topic of magic, havespoiled, the project at hand, with their prejudices. They just assumed there was a period of time,in the distant past where magic was in its ‘purest state’ and this thought got twisted into thinkingthat this ‘pure state’ must be ‘Sympathetic Magic’, ignoring all other practices of magic and the people that practice them. ‘Sympathetic Magic’ is just one small part of a much bigger picture (Pg.18) .In chapter 2, Mauss explores the ‘Definition of Magic’; he says, “Magic is verydistinguished and a clear definition can not be content by accepting facts as ‘magic’ simply because they have been called so by participants and observers…subjective view points are notscientific…a religion may claim the remnants of a former cult as ‘magical’ even though the ritesare now performed in a religious manner…magic should be used to refer to those things relatedto society as a whole…not those qualified as such by one portion of that society…in magic thereare officers, actions and representations…magicians are those persons who perform the magic…actions if never repeated can not be called magical…representation is the idea and belief thatrelates to a magical action…if the whole community does not believe in the group of actions,then they can not be called magical” (Pg. 22, 23) .After going over his data so far, the author classifies it as such: 1. Magical and Religiousrites often have different agents, which means they are not performed by the same person. 2.Consider where the magical ceremony is to be performed. Normally these are not done in templeor shrine; magic is usually in an open area, like a wood, away from domestic areas, in the dead of night. In some cases, it is performed in the shadowy corners and secret recesses of one’s ownhome. But mostly it is some remote – out of the way place. 3. Religious rites are performedopenly in full public view. 4. The Medicine man and the Bone-setter work openly, but mutter 2 their spells, cover up their actions and hide behind their performances. (He observes that thedifference in magic and religion is that the magician wishes to be set apart, even to other magicians he seems isolated and so isolation and secrecy are a big part of magic rites.) 5.Religious practices are predictable, prescribed and official. 6. Magic is unauthorized, abnormaland only used to fulfill a need. 7. Medical rites are useful and involve a degree of solemnity.(Once again Mauss understands that medicine men, bone-menders and magicians only serve a particular need and nothing else) (Pg. 28-30) .Chapter 3 is on ‘The Elements of Magic’, section one is called ‘The Magician’ – and isdefined as, “any practitioner of magic who may or may not be a professional…this includes: folk remedies, magical medicine, and domestic rites performed daily…agricultural cycles, huntingand fishing rites, and the which fills a common need, but is limited” (Pg. 31) .Mauss goes on to describe the ‘Qualities of a Magician’: 1. No one can be a magician atwill; it is acquired, inherited or possessed from birth. 2. They can be recognized because of certain physical peculiarities, by which he or she is branded, (something like the devil’s mark onthe body of a witch). In some cases a mark from a heightened emotional state might beconsidered. Also take into consideration a person with an unusual physical form or facialstructure. Maybe someone with a tick or spasm, or a person who just looks at a person in an oddway, these may make people think, they are being given the ‘evil eye’, which gives them reasonto fear or think suspiciously of them. 3. There are some magicians who cultivate these nervousconditions and they manifest them with greater force during ceremonies, along with trances andcataleptic fits. For some these states are natural, but for many it is faked. 4. Then there are theshowmen, these people use their infirmities and/or skills to be noticed by the public: jugglers,ventriloquists and tumblers; those with a limp, hump and even those that are blind; those with3 over – sensitivity (emotional or physical); and those with delusions of grandeur and believe theyare capable of having special powers (Pg. 33 – 35) .Section two is called ‘Action’ and these actions performed by a magician are called‘rites’. Mauss goes on to explain the complexity of these rites and their preparations: 1. Herbs,the various ways to chop them, when to pick and how. 2. The time and place for the ritual. 3.Materials and tools for the ritual. The specific role of Magician and Client. 5. The clothing to be worn…or should clothing be worn at all. 6. The state of mind for Magician and Client, of which, in some cases will be induced by drugsForms and Functions of Exchange in Archaic Societies DAS PÉSSIMAS TRADUÇÕES DO LATIM CLASSICUS - HERITATIS VENENUM VENENO VINCITURI NATURA NATURAM VINCIT - O VENENO VENCE O VENENO A NATUREZA VENCE O NATURAL NATURALMENTE ....A CIRURGIA DOS POVOS DITOS PRIMITIVOS É ASSAZ DESENVOLVIDA E OS FEITICEIROS FORAM OS PRIMEIROS ENVENENADORES E CIRURGIÕES A MEDICINA É UM SUB-PRODUTO DA MAGIA

A General Theory of Magic


 Marcel Mauss was explaining the definition of magic and its elements. 
Magic seems to be considered as an element that is opposed to religion and science. However, on page 11 of the book it states magic includes, "a whole group of practices which we seem to compare with those of religion." I agree with this statement because magic and religion is pretty similar in some aspects. These aspects include faith and believing something that is of a higher being.



The discussion of magic and religion in the book reminds me of something that I learned last quarter in my sociology of religion class. In the book, "Religion in Society: A Sociology of Religion" by Ronald Johnstone, it mentioned how magic is applied to religion. According to Johnstone, "Where magic is most likely to be practiced and condoned, people make little if any distinction between magic and religion or for that matter among scientific knowledge, religious knowledge, common sense knowledge, and magic. Knowledge is knowledge, be it scientific, religious or any other."

In the Johnstone's text it also contained a list of the similarities between Magic and Religion. Magic and religion has four similarities, according to Johnstone: 1) both are serious attempts to deal with and solve the basic problems people face; 2) both are based on faith in the existence and efficacy of powers that cannot be seen and can only be inferred by results; 3) both involve ritual activity, traditionally prescribed patterns of behavior; 4) both are bona fide elements of the group's larger culture and have well-defined norms and taboos to follow and observe. These similarities between magic and religion shows that both are not that much different after all. Both offer a supernatural answer when no solution is within reach by other means.

Religion is based on beliefs, rituals, and practices. Magic and religion both contain rituals. Both magic and religion can be found to be influential to all cultures. The following link is the wikipedia link that discuss more about magic and religion. It also mention how both are found in certain cultures and the aspect of it in artifacts and rituals 

An Analysis and Explanation of Magic’:
 Belief, The Effectiveness of the Ritual, Mana, and Collective States and Collective Forces
.Mauss states that he had gradually reduced his study of magic to an interest in‘Collective Forces’,
 he had found that they are active in both magic and religion. He believedthese forces could explain the whole of magic and its parts. He also mentions here that all knownmagic is continuous in nature and that its elements are just reflections of the same. Therepresentations seem to have sameness about them all throughout history. Magic is actually very simple, so the collective forces involved with them should also be as simple, which means themethods and use of those methods, by the magician, should once again be just as simple


.Magic is thought of in one aspect like religion, either you believe in it or you do not. Onenegative thought on the subject could ‘topple’ the whole idea, bringing suspicion. “Even in our own days, spirits do not let non – believers into their midst”



.Under the effectiveness of ritual the author relates the following: 1. Sympathetic formulaswill not be enough to represent the total idea behind ‘Sympathetic Magic’. 2. The idea of magical
properties, themselves, cannot explain the belief in magical facts. 3. Demonology is better suitedto dealing with rites that involve demons 
definition of ‘Mana’, “Mana is not simply a force, a being, it is also an action, a quality and a state of being…it is said that all things have ‘Mana’…itis seen to be something mysterious, that which is a spiritual action between sympathetic beings” 
“Magic is a social phenomenon that gives form and shape to those poorly coordinated or impotent gestures by which the needs of the individual are expressed…itdoes this through ritual and renders them effective…magic is the most childish of skills and theoldest…magic is nature” 
by his and others prejudicial viewpoints. Mauss’s idea of looking at magic from both a historical and an analytical perspective was well thought out. 
The book would bevery useful for anthropological research. It has been mentioned that Mauss’s book is basically a book that looks at magic of primitive culturES 
 the astonishing modernity of the mind of one of the century's greatest thinkers. The book offers a fascinating snapshot of magic throughout various cultures as well as deep sociological and religious insights still very much relevant today. 
At a period when art, magic and science appear to be crossing paths OF PURE MADNESS

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