THERE – Theory and Empiricism of Religious Evolution: Foundation of a Research Program

5. Evolutionary Foundation of Systems Theory (fn)

Based on these considerations, the question of prehistoric mentality needs to be reconsidered. The concept of “mystic participations” by which Lévy-Bruhl [1922] 1923, 35 designates ‘the intellectual world of the primitive’, covers the unity of reality and dream, presence, past and future as well as initiation and expression of an event (also cf.Dux (1982)). Furthermore, the phenomenon of “the multi-presence” (Lévy-Bruhl 1923, 107) excludes or mediates between one and many, equal and unequal, as well as animate and inanimate. Therefore, a person, for instance, can be present in different places at the same time, and physically non-present individuals (persons, animals, objects) can be made present. Even though the concept of “mystic participations” as brought forward by Lévy-Bruhl is untenable, one can still assume a fluidity between the physical-organic and the socio-cultural level, which characterizes Paleolithic thinking (Clottes 2010, 22). However, fluidity does not mean a state of lacking differentiation. We might not know whether the distinction between technical-instrumental and explicative action was stable in the cognitive household of Stone Age communication, but various states of reality must have already been identified; otherwise the formation of a socio-cultural reality and first approaches of the formation of societies would not have been possible.

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