MATERIAL AND MORAL CULTURE Turning to the subject of material culture, that is, of arts and crafts as manifested in such appliances and products as are of a physical nature and, so to speak, can find a place in a museum, one may first note that natural objects embody culture just in so far as they bear the impress of human intelligence, and can communicate it to others. Thus the cathedral builder, as it were, spiritualizes the stone and thereby converts it into a medium of religious rapture. The ape that hurls a casual missile communi cates a throwing impulse to his imitative companions; but a material cuiture has not come into being until a somewhat more intelligent animal selects his stick or his stone and keeps it by him for individual or collective use; or perhaps goes on to adapt it to his grasp by actual trimming such as involves some attempt at design. At this stage art has definitely begun, and presently makes another forward stride when the composite implement is contrived ; stone and stick no longer serving severally in some thing like the shape that nature gave them, but being artificially combined by somehow fixing stone to stick so that they work together. Thenceforward it is but a question of selecting, shaping and combining the raw materials with ever-increasing ingenuity; and forthwith man's relation to the physical environment is so revolutionized that, instead of its slave, he becomes its master. History viewed from this angle is the history of great inventions; and, even when culture is considered as a whole, they are of out standing importance, since with them can be closely correlated the chief stages in the economic life of mankind. Thus the mere food-collector, scattered about the waste, has little more than fire and hand-tools of wood, stone or bone to help him. Food raising implies the domestication of animals and plants and in volves the use of many devices peculiar to the pastoral or the agricultural life---conditions which alike enable men to live closely together and so cause them to need one another more. With metal-working dawns the age of conquest, navigation, commerce; and to support such vastly extended communications the art of writing is developed.
It must not, however, be sup posed that all material culture subserves the economic side of life in particular. The arts can be divided broadly into two main classes: those that help man to live, and those that help him to live well. Practical and liberal or useful and decorative, are terms sometimes used to express this distinction. Thus in the former class would be reckoned such arts as relate to food, clothing. shelter, fighting, trading and transport; in the second, those con cerned with fine art, science and religion, together with various lighter interests that may be summed up under the head of amusements. Indeed, it might be also said of the savage in regard to some of his habits, as, for instance, his manner of dress, that, if he can only have the luxuries he will dispense with the necessaries. The same tendency to sacrifice convenience to charm is not unknown among the civilized, and with all the less reason, seeing that the charm in their case has aesthetic significance only, whereas for the savage it may well have a magical or religious value as well, as when his necklace of teeth or shells is ornament and amulet in one. There is always a psychological as well as a sociological side to every institution, the inward meaning provid ing in the last resort the key to the outward form. There must be organization, and there must be a reason for it ; though often the reason is implicit, and those concerned have no clear notion of what they are about. Indeed, with the savage, custom is a blind king. It is rare that any explanation of its decrees is f orth coming; or, suppose one to be given, it has all the appearance of an afterthought or excuse. After all, the principle, "Act first and justify afterwards," pervades all our actions far more than we are aware.
The psychological bond of society is, and always has been, imitation; but imitation is a process that becomes more intelligent as it develops. The outward sign by which mind com municates with mind must he interpreted, and man becomes a better thought-reader as a larger store of suggestions is accumu lated, partly by means of language, partly through material cul ture as it incorporates meaning and purpose in wood and stone. At first, however, man has to rely mostly on imitating the bodily movements of his group-fellows, and such a primitive method of communication is more successful in propagating emotions than ideas. "Pull, pull together" is the burden of the primitive chorus; and, after all, that is more than half the battle of life. The moral element involved in all moral culture consists precisely in a sense of common effort directed towards a common end. Moreover, throughout human history the sentiment of community has been more important, because more widely shared, than the intellectual apprehension of the nature of the end. Every crowd must have a leader; and it is for the leader in particular to have the end in sight, whereas the rest can afford to attend chiefly to making the work go with a swing. The primitive leader of society at least knows better what he is about than his average follower; though his ideas come to him mainly as dream-like shapes that baffle his mental grasp because the means of fixing and defining them are wanting.
Slowly does language gain the power of representing thoughts accurately ; and in the meantime the primitive man of ideas has to fall back on pantomime, helped out as it is with every kind of material accompaniment, paint or feather, mask or image, bull-roarer or drum, that may assist the dramatization of his meaning.
In judging the degree of intelligence at work in early society, one must be careful to get past the letter to the spirit—in other words, to make sure that one can translate the savage symbol into the sense it is meant to bear. In their concrete-minded way, primitive folk get to understand each other very well so long as they remain in actual contact. Their difficulty is to extend the limits of effective organization beyond the range of voice and eye, that is, spatially speaking, beyond the radius of the camp or, at most, beyond that of a tribal boundary that can be reached in a few days' walk.
Religious.—Primitive man is pre-eminently religious in his way of life. He puts the unseen before the seen as his object of strictly practical attention. One might, in fact, say that the hunter judges success to be more a matter of luck than skill, and therefore concentrates on getting the luck. This, however, would be to take rather a superficial view of the case. It would go nearer to the root of the matter if one expressed it rather thus: that in hunting, faith seems to count far more than skill or anything else. What precisely such faith should be in, for its efficacy to be greatest, is a problem that an is still engaged in working out. Considered anthropologically, that is, from the human end, religious faith is man's faith in him self. He believes in powers that he can somehow evoke f rom within himself, or else invoke from some mysterious source out side, simply by willing to take life seriously. By so doing, certain values such as the true, the beautiful and the good are, as it were, consecrated, that is, separated from the ordinary concerns of life, and lifted up into an ideal heaven whence they shine timelessly like stars. This, however, is more a description of the direction taken by advanced religion—so far, at least, as it interests itself in life, shaking off a somewhat morbid preoccupation with death —than of the outlook of primitive religion. The inferiority of the primitive religion can be summed up by saying that it is imper fectly moralized. It does not see so far as advanced religion into the moral significance of its symbols. Thus one might say, very roughly, that the lower religions conceive the divine nature as power; the middle religions as justice; and the higher religions as love. If truth, beauty and goodness meet anywhere, it is surely in love.
On the other hand, primitive religion, though devoid of insight into its own deeper meaning, has a certain advantage over religion as an ele ment in modern civilization, in that, if less coherent, it is more comprehensive. All the values of life, utilitarian and humane, from food to sculpture and painting, from the study of plants and beasts to the study of the heavens, are primarily viewed by the savage as religious interests. After all, he lives in such a little world that he has in some way a better chance of seeing the various institutions of society in their entirety as a way of life than can a modern man who, to get a grip on his moral universe, must take so much more into consideration. Thus, economics and religion being alike aspects of one process of culture, that is, self cultivation, there can be no gap between them in the good man's consciousness if he he sufficiently enlightened.
The vaster organizations of to day are apt to reduce the individual to a cog in the social mecha nism; and, the control of intelligence being correspondingly reduced, the inevitable end must be collapse, unless moral educa tion by deepening and widening the sense of common purpose can come to the rescue. Many of the fundamental institutions of modern civilization, marriage, for instance, and religion itself, work none too well, and the reason is the difficulty of keeping them true to the central purpose of getting more and ever more out of life, not only as to be lived under supernatural conditions, but as lived under natural conditions here and now. For the anthropologist, indeed, whose business is but to observe the course of history, there is no saying why moral evolution should be desirable. He simply notes that it results from trying to sur vive in proportion as such trying becomes intelligent, that is, chooses its way in the light of a conscious purpose. Whole litera tures deal with the various aspects of moral culture taken sepa rately. Here, instead of running through the history of insti tutions chapter by chapter, it must suffice to insist that the anthropologist, seeking to view the development of human life as a whole, has somehow to bring the love of food and the love of God into one moral scheme. Indeed, everything that man has done or suffered is relevant to his subject; with this important qualification, that he studies the "how," not the "why," of an evolutionary process whereby life appears to be granted in f ullest measure to those for whom it has come to have most meaning.