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V: Cruelty

Hunting as the earliest mystery-craft must have helped to invest blood with a sacredness that may account for the origin of cooking as a purificatory rite; while the slaying of the animal, wild or domesticated, is felt to need apology. So too in human sacrifice, the victim, slave or enemy though he be, is never without a certain sacredness, which extending also to the slain criminal, transforms each into a kind of martyr, as is more obviously the case with the king slain at the end of his term of office, or the widow who undergoes suttee. These, then, vicariously represent a general habit of self-torture which, though sublimated into self-sacrifice, looks back to ugly beginnings.

AMONG the natural stimulants to which human emotion is more especially susceptible is blood of any description. Just as the smell or taste of it will drive certain animals almost frantic either with the presage of death or with the killing fever, so any kind of sensible contact with it, including the bare sight, is enough to cause the primitive kind of man to lose his mental balance. Anything, in fact, from complete nausea to a wild exhilaration may result from the violent fluctuation of his feelings. Now the one extreme case was perhaps sufficiently illustrated by the incest-taboo with which we dealt last time; for there can be little doubt that, however it may have come about, the horror of incest is with the savage essentially the horror of sinning against the blood. With the other extreme case it remains to deal in the present lecture. A certain craving for bloodshed is a feature of the cruder forms of religion which, however revolting, we cannot ignore, if we are seeking to understand their psychological sources, or indeed if we should wish to account on historical lines for various survivals and sublimations that are to be found in civilized religion taken at its highest. Not that outbursts of the blood-lust pure and simple are likely to be encountered within the religious sphere. There is always something mixed—something, as Freud would say, ambivalent—about emotion in its specifically religious character that lends to its clearest note an overtone of discord; so that life-feeling is modified by death-feeling, hope by fear, to the fuller enrichment of the whole affective quality and significance. Thus the worst kind of religious cruelty is never quite merciless, even when the sympathy shown with the suffering inflicted is little more than a disguised self-pity. Given the necessary state of exaltation, the slaying of a human being or even of an animal takes on a note of tragedy, as if each participant were privy to a death that might as well be his own; and this suggestion of danger is never quite overcome, even when the pendulum swings towards joy, and the particular death is regarded as affording ransom or positive provision for a life universal.

Let us begin by imagining the human hunting-pack of the remotest pre-Palaeolithic era—men or half-men who have acquired a taste for flesh and are fairly adept at getting it, but have yet to learn the use of fire. For such folk both killing and eating will be a bloody business, and the one will follow on the other so closely that there will be little time, if plenty of reason, for saying grace. Wolfishly they will tear and mangle their prey, licking their own wounds by way of a dessert. Give them what credit we can for a nascent humanity that would put them a degree ahead of the real wolf-pack in their table manners—let them for example be already too well-disciplined to squabble seriously over the pickings—even so it could not have been a pretty sight. For the matter of that the modern Eskimo, so advanced, if perhaps one can hardly say so refined, in their cultural habits, yet are reported to get inside a stranded whale as a preliminary to getting outside it, and literally no less than metaphorically to soak themselves in blubber. Or, again, every African traveller knows that his native escort, however keen and efficient they may be, cannot be moved from fresh meat that he has shot for them until every scrap has been blissfully swallowed by gormandizers for whom surfeit has no meaning. Poets must have sung of food long before they sang of drink—so long ago, in fact, that no surviving literature does justice to the primitive notion of a feast, not even Homer or Rabelais. Eating was life renewed, life glorified; and since it was an eating together—for the first law of the human pack must have been to insist on that—it was the social life that was renewed in glory. If communion needed a symbol, here it was.

Now the blood which in those early days we may suppose to have been equally in evidence in the killing and the eating might well seem to be the central principle of the joint transaction—the pivot on which the feelings of each and all swung round from fear to hope, from the threat of starvation to the promise of replenished strength. Whenever kill-to-eat became a mystery, blood was palpably the heart of it. Meanwhile, hunting is essentially a mystery-craft—the earliest of a long series. As the game is unaccountable in its ways, even so must the hunter be circumspect in his. He must be void of offence in the eyes of the beasts, so quick to notice as they are and so ready to take umbrage. That they have to be killed and eaten is clear; it is what they are for. No reasonable beast, then, ought to object if the thing is done properly, that is, with all the respect due to his natural feelings. Now in times of dearth, when the game was scarce and shy, it might strike the group-elders, hungrily and therefore pensively contrasting their present lot with former seasons of prosperity, that possibly they had been somewhat too lavish in their killing. They would almost certainly not reason it out that they had drawn too heavily on stock. Yet, with a far dimmer sense of cause and effect, they might go so far as to conclude that somehow they had made the beasts angry. Unholy orgies of slaughter might come back to mind from those lost, nay, forfeited, days of superabundance. Thus at Solutré, not far from Lyons, there is a veritable Golgotha, composed of horses’, and mostly of young horses’, bones, where the hunters of the Late Palaeolithic must evidently have held high and wasteful revel. From the position of this vast bone-heap, at the foot of an abrupt escarpment, it has been inferred that the wild horses were corralled and driven over the edge en masse by encircling tactics similar to those which the Plains Indians of North America used on the bison with exactly the same object and result. What a wild slaughter must have gone on among the foundered and struggling brutes, and, despite prodigies of car-nivoracity, what fat leavings must have remained for the vultures and hyenas! I recollect how, because a white man in Australia had poisoned a wombat for burrowing in his garden, a native was horrified and said to me most solemnly of the waster of food, ‘him bad fellow’. I can easily conceive, then, how to the conscience of the ancient hunter there might come pangs sympathetic with those of his belly and charged with protest against his former extravagance. Somehow, then, he must propitiate the injured beasts by denying himself. He must answer for too greedy a killing by eating less greedily. To atone for bloodshed he must taboo blood.

Anthropologists are wont to explain the origin of cooking on the principle of Charles Lamb’s story of how the Chinaman discovered the virtues of roast pork. They suppose that having started a fire, or having merely come across one, in which something succulent had been done to a turn, man started his career as an epicure, forswearing omophagy from that moment on. I venture to suggest, however, that the culinary art may have had its source in religion, the original object being to purify the meat—to cleanse it from the taint of blood. Indeed, fire itself may from the first have belonged to the category of sacred things; in which case the power imputed to it might well have been chiefly of a destructive order, before closer acquaintance had revealed the kindly side of its nature. Howsoever this may be, blood-drinking and the eating of raw meat are in later times associated with Dionysiac rites and similar outbursts of orgiastic frenzy. From religious licence one can usually infer a religious prohibition in the opposite sense holding for normal as contrasted with exceptional and abnormal occasions. For the rest, if bloodless eating was not adopted simply and wholly as an atonement for bloodshed, there was an additional reason of a kind convincing to the savage intelligence why the blood should not be consumed, namely, that it must be restored if the game was to be made to live again. Every hunter, thanks to what Tylor calls his butcher’s anatomy, would know that the heart with the heart’s blood is the stronghold of the life of his prize, the bull’s eye of his target. The artists of the French and Spanish caves make this clear by painting a large red heart just where it ought to be found in the animals that figure in their pictured incantations. Hence it would be good policy, if the game is to be helped to reincarnate in due course, to send the blood, that is the life, back thither whence it came. However, then, it may have happened, the blood of the slain animal became holy, a thing most dangerous, yet pregnant with the hope of good hunting and of good fortune in general. All men believed that, if dealt with religiously and in due form, it was no less instinct with blessing for the wise than, used profanely, it was fraught with bane for the foolish.

Passing on to conditions which come more directly under observation, we have next to note that, by way of apology for liberties taken in the ordinary course of doing an animal-kind to death, it became the practice to kill ritually a representative of the kind in question in order to show that mankind appreciated the delicacy of the situation—that, in short, the intentions of the hunter were nice, even if his proceedings were at times inevitably nasty. Numerous instances of propitiatory ceremonies of this class could be cited both as associated with totemism and apart from any such complicating condition. Of the latter variety a typical example is the bear-feast of the Ainu, which has parallels among the Palaeo-Siberian tribes with whom the Ainu have affinities in the way of culture if not of blood. The facts are too well known to need detailed description. Suffice it to say, that a young bear is first loaded with favours and then treated to the happy dispatch, so that he may in due course be born again, and in the meantime may inform the other bears how much the Ainu love them in the most comprehensive sense of the word. The sufferer resumes the universal, if hardly divine, nature that is in him as a bear, while as the messenger of mankind he confesses their faults and conveys their desire for forgiveness. As for man himself, he cannot or at any rate will not forgo his career as a man of blood; yet, by the paradoxical means of an additional act of cruelty, he repents of his natural propensity to kill. By bringing a certain regret, half sham half real, to bear on it, he gives rise within himself to a more complex mood of sympathy with all life, including the life on which his animal nature forces him to prey. A beast may slay ruthlessly, but not a man. Even the gory symbolism of the hunter—the mere food-seeker who is not yet a food-raiser—suggests that the human, as propelled by a heightened stir of the life-feeling, is already bound in the direction of the humane.

When the food-raiser has come to his own and animals have become domesticated, the ritual slaying of them continues with little change of meaning; for training and humouring are parts of one process, and it was doubtless by treating the beast more or less as if he were a man, and so giving him the full benefit of any doubts that there might be about it, that eventually certain animal-kinds—not many of them, it is true, but so many as they amount to of immeasurable value to mankind—were half forced and half induced to enter man’s service. Not having yet acquired the outlook of the complete slave-driver, the savage is apt to look upon the domesticated animal as a friend and, indeed, as the word domestication implies, as part of his household, as a member of his family. Killing to eat in such circumstances could be little better than an act of endo-cannibal-ism; though to a savage this would not necessarily mean that it was therefore an impious thing to do. What is known to anthropologists as senicide, the putting away of elderly relatives who have become useless mouths, or who cannot stand the hardships of the trail, can be shown to have formerly been a fairly common custom with primitive peoples, whether they were driven to it by an invincible necessity, or had succumbed to baser motives such as the love of ease. In any such case, however, they would be sure to acknowledge the pathos of the situation by explaining away the death as some sort of happy release—as a departure, however premature, to some gathering of the clan, some reunion of the family. So, too, then, the domestic animal, if slain and eaten—for, however edible, he will often be allowed by primitive folk to live out his life in peace—must be accorded something like funeral honours. The women, for example, will be expected to set up a loud lament, as they do among the Dinka on such an occasion. The theory that the victim is going back to be reborn may by this time have faded almost away; but even so the animal-kind is held to retain a collective interest in the affair. Hence, if the cattle go wrong in a body, man knows that he has done something to offend them—has seethed the kid in its mother’s milk, or has otherwise sinned against the proprieties. Thus, however lacking in divinity the animal-kind may have become, supposing that at any time it possessed it—and the so-called divinity of the totem may easily be rated far too high—the act of shedding his blood is likely to retain a religious quality. Always it remains the act of a butcher-priest—one who slays solemnly, because he inflicts death not for its own sake but for the sake of further life.

Before discussing the subject of the slaying of animals, let us also remember that, apart from those which provide food, or, though not normally eaten, like the dog, are otherwise useful, there are destructive beasts, the sworn foes of the human race. Thus on the whole the felidae proudly defy man’s efforts to dominate them, though the cheetah may condescend to hunt with him rather than for him, and the cat with ill-disguised contempt has allowed itself to descend into domesticity by way of deification; while, for the rest, the flesh of one and all is anything but toothsome. Here, then, it might seem was from man’s point of view a case for relentless slaughter. How could any sentiment stand in the way of the annihilation of the public enemy? Yet, as man knew to his cost, the purely noxious beast was brave, even uncannily so; he might, in fact, be trusted to put up a very ‘devil’ of a fight. Thus a grudging respect mingled with the hate that he inspired. Partly to conciliate him, partly to acquire his death-dealing qualities, one might eat a portion of him sacramentally, despite the protest of the stomach; or, more conveniently, especially if the object were to borrow his fearsomeness, one could add his claws to one’s armoury of war-charms, or make other use of the remains of such a spiritual ally. Nay, a leopard-society might be formed to assimilate his qualities, even though his man-eating proclivities must be imitated in order to become the perfect leopard-man. At the same time, if the strongest kind of killing mana could thus be acquired, the taboo on eating the flesh in a common and profane way must be proportionately strict. Religion would second nature in proclaiming this to be the very type of an unclean meat—something that on ordinary occasions must be put beyond the risk of harm by calling in the aid of the very elements—consigning to the unclean birds of the air, burying in earth, drowning in water, or, most effective riddance of all, purging by the sacred agency of fire. Thus even the killing of the devil-beast generated an emotion that played double—roused a hate and relieved a fear, both of them tinged alike with admiration for a power which, duly modified, a man would gladly have for himself.

Passing on from the butchery of animals to the far more sinister butchery of human beings, it is fortunate that man-slaying is on the whole too dangerous a business—one too likely to prove a case of catching a Tartar—to have ever made it possible to solve the economic problem on cannibalistic lines. Being perfectly nutritious, human flesh may have quite occasionally become an article, even a prized article, of diet in regions, such as Oceania or parts of Africa, where meat was otherwise difficult to obtain. On the whole, however, this may be treated as an exceptional and morbid development of society, and we may therefore expect to find no general analogy between manslaughter and the killing of animals, wild or tame, for food. In such a connexion, however, it is worth observing that, whenever ritual homicide displays, as it sometimes does, a tendency to be recklessly prodigal of human life, it is precisely at that stage of society at which a domesticated animal has been made out of man by the institution of slavery. It may easily come to be felt among the class of the dominants that, if a blood-sacrifice is needed, a human drudge will answer the purpose as well as or better than an animal drudge. Nay, as the psychology of the man is better understood than that of the brute, it might even seem that less harm was likely to ensue from offending so powerless a kind of creature as a slave than from giving reason, let us say, to a cow to go off her milk. Though it is easier to prove that animal victims have been substituted for human than that the opposite process has occurred, it may well be that the latter possibility has also to be reckoned with. It must be added that the slave, who is perfectly aware that he will be sacrificed one day, even when treated kindly in the meantime and perhaps encouraged to raise a family with the same grim destiny in prospect, is apt to show all the meek unconcern of the unthinking cattle. One certainly cannot attribute to him what Matthew Arnold has termed, in a mood that must have been a racial inheritance from Old Testament days, ‘the blood-thirsty love of life of the British middle-classes’. Yet any human worm will turn, and it is refreshing to hear from Livingstone’s lips how he once met a slave-gang who, with the African’s readiness to look at the brighter side of things, were chanting as they went of what plagues they would inflict on their captors as soon as they were ghosts. And, truly, whatever curse might be brewing for their oppressors would be well deserved!

The dangerous animal, then, rather than the domesticated one, must provide the parallel when we consider that typical form of human sacrifice in which the victim is a public enemy, whether foreigner or native. Thus, to deal first with the member of a rival group, he is at the least that wicked kind of beast which defends itself when attacked, and for the matter of that his greed or even his fear may at any time prompt him to play the aggressor. In the world’s central areas of competition the pressure of population in itself makes it necessary for each people to choose between being hammer or anvil; so that to hate the enemy and to survive become almost convertible terms. To keep up one’s courage—always an uncertain quality in a man, in whom a cold-blooded ferocity is not normal, and at most is second nature, a matter of training—all sorts of devices must be used, moral no less than technical; and primitive religion cannot be wholly blamed if it gives its blessing to the war-dance. Even in Australia, with nothing to steal except women, with plenty of room for all, and with no dangerous animals to excite the hunter to fury, we learn from Howitt that the Kurnai of Gippsland made a point not only of slaying the brajerak or strange black, but of ceremonially eating a portion of him; reserving another portion for the youths left behind in camp, that they should likewise eat and know what to do when their turn came. I may mention by the way that wishing to recommend myself to an old Kurnai woman, almost the last of her race, by showing some knowledge of her language, I referred to myself as a brajerak with most unfortunate results, as the old lady shook with contemptuous laughter at the expense of one who by his own confession was a barbarian, a foreign devil. Nowhere, however, has the torturing and ritual slaying of the war-captive been carried to such pitiless lengths as on the American Continent, and notably by the most civilized of the indigenous stocks. It is almost as if the natural stoicism of the redskin temperament demanded unusual effort on the part of those who would wear it down to breaking-point. There may be some exaggeration in the accounts which the old Spanish writers have left of atrocities in the way of human sacrifice from all the advanced peoples of Central and South America alike; but the Mexican war-god undoubtedly accounted for more victims than even the Spanish Inquisition that took his place. Nowhere else does one hear of expeditions conducted with the simple object of collecting pabulum for the altar; and there is reason to think that the Mexicans themselves, whose moral standards were so high in other respects, were becoming heartily sick of a custom which from no possible point of view was anything but disgusting. It made it little better that here as elsewhere in a continent which was deficient in domesticable animals human sacrifice had come to be adopted as a general means of obtaining the favour of the gods; as, for instance, when the maize-goddess was propitiated with rites that put a somewhat different complexion on the victim’s character, so that he seemed rather mediator than scapegoat. Yet, whatever the gloss put upon it, there was cruelty, intensified by cult into mania sanguinis, behind the most developed religion of native America. For the rest, however well one searches the whole primitive world for instances in which ritual proceedings reflect admiration for the virtues of the slain enemy mingled with the hate that is the primary reaction towards him, very little that is edifying comes to light, while there is much to illustrate the text, homo homini lupus.

That the execution of the criminal can be brought under the head of sacrifice might seem, from the standpoint of modern law, absurd, though a careful study of the confusion of ideas underlying the legal theory of punishment might suggest that it depends to this day far less on rational than on emotional considerations. Every punishment is a public protest of a spectacular kind against a given type of crime at the expense of the particular criminal; and the blame attaching to him in this vicarious character overshadows such personal guilt as helps to justify his fate. When we go back to primitive peoples we find little attention paid to individual desert, or indeed to the voluntary aspect of the offence at all; and this is especially true of that major kind of wrongdoing which consists in the violation of a taboo. In the case of such a crime, or rather sin, the offender is as it were slain by his own act, and society merely intervenes to remove the body, bearing witness meanwhile to the judgement of God. Afterwards, every one can breathe again because something unclean has been removed from the midst of the assembly. Pitied for his misfortune rather than hated for his transgression, the vessel of wrath is cast away: SACER ESTO, let him be accurst. In his miserable person the majesty of the Divine dispensation so vindicates itself that all may see and be aware. Unwilling as any victim in his private capacity is bound to be, the sufferer nevertheless dies to save others. Feared for his malevolence, yet prized for his unwitting beneficence, he acquires a mana which renders him redoubtable whether for good or ill; so that any relic of him and especially his blood is potent. The Sicilian peasant still reckons the decollati—decapitated persons of notoriety—as very much on a par with the saints in their power of rewarding suitable attentions. Meanwhile, apart from the incidental blessings which all the world over are deemed to be obtainable by ritual means from the death of the social outcast, there can be little doubt that the blood of the martyrs of superstition is the seed of an effective administration of justice. For instance, Captain Rattray’s recent study of Ashanti law makes it clear that in the native view all matters calling for judicial intervention fall into two classes, man-palavers and god-palavers, trivial and serious. The first are settled with a minimum of fuss by the fathers of households. The second alone come under the cognizance of the state, which, however, regards itself as simply the organ and mandatary of a divine justice, which accuser and accused invoke by each calling down a conditional curse on himself if he be in the wrong. The drawback to such a procedure is that there is only one penalty in the serious kind of case, namely death; for the rejected of heaven cannot benefit the earth, except in so far as he purges it by renouncing his life. On the other hand, human authority by claiming and acknowledging a higher sanction than the will of a despot both gains immeasurably in its influence over the minds of men, and interprets its own prerogative in a way likely to convert it into an impersonal instrument of the public welfare.

From criminal to king, from sinner to sacrosanct head of the state, there stretches a social gulf which primitive religion bridges by declaring both alike to be consecrated lives. At this point we find ourselves passing from sacrifice to self-sacrifice, from the unwilling to the willing victim. The animal, the enemy, the offender against the law—all these die wrathfully, like cornered rats. Their slayers, uneasily aware that it is of such stuff that avenging ghosts are made, do their best to propitiate, that is, to cajole them. In Mexico they even went so far as to give the war-captive a chance, tethered as he was to the stone of sacrifice, and furnished only with a wooden sword, to defend himself against fully armed assailants who attacked him in succession; and if he slew four—some authorities say six—of these in turn, the gladiator was spared. On the whole, however, the celebrants show a callous indifference, or even a perverse delight, in regard to the death-pangs of the medium of their edification. The student of the psychology of primitive religion must face the fact that the thrill of the obscene in all its forms can for the time being quicken the sense of life; as if any stirring of the mud was bound to bring up hope together with the rest from the depths of the human soul. Meanwhile, whatever biological justification there may be for the promotion of life at the cost of other life, even when provided from within the same species, it is far easier to discover a moral excuse for it when the sacrifice is voluntary. The most pertinacious stickler for a cosmic justice will hardly deny that there is seemliness or even sweetness in the act of the man who dies for his country. Thus the primitive king, of whose resignation by apotheosis Sir James Frazer has written so much, is hardly to be counted among those royal martyrs who have been murdered judicially or otherwise by their rebellious subjects. The chief of the Shilluk or of Unyoro was from the first aware that he must be slain before old age could impair the mana which it was his duty to hand on intact to his successor; and, however fatalistically, acquiesced in the custom and constitution of his country. It is true that the most divine of monarchs has his human side; so that one cannot be surprised if the King of Calicut preferred a ceremony in which the would-be slayer of royalty was cut down so as to provide a victim by substitution; or if a Nubian prince, whose mind had been warped by a civilized education, anticipated his own removal by massacring the entire college of priests, and so ingloriously attained a ripe old age. In the typical and uncontaminated instance, however, the savage ruler whose life is thus dedicated under the terms of his sacred office meets his appointed doom in the spirit of an ancient Roman; and self-sacrifice in an undeveloped form has come into existence to relieve a bloodthirsty superstition of the charge of utter foulness.

Another type of religious, or, one may well say, superstitious, observance in which one can descry the beginnings of self-sacrifice is the Indian suttee, together with similar developments on a grander scale; so that from ancient Sumer to modern Dahomey there come before the mind’s eye majestic if gloomy pageants of some mighty despot starting off to the next world with a long retinue of wives and attendants. Those who were actually consentient spectators of such last rites were doubtless moved by pity and fear, yet above all other feelings there must have prevailed sheer admiration for the loyalty thus fittingly displayed; for where else should these others be, or want to be, except beside their lord and master? It may be that the widows of lesser men do not always exhibit the same willingness to share their fate; but their public duty is not so obvious to all, including themselves, nor do they—if it is not unduly cynical to say so—enjoy so public an opportunity of manifesting their devotion. So let custom be made responsible for the needless waste of life, and let the victims have full credit for being faithful unto death. Here again, then, something noble emerges from the association of religion with the blood-lust.

A few concluding words must suffice on the subject of self-sacrifice of the developed type in which the compelling motive clearly comes from within. It would perhaps be vain to search the savage world for a pure case, seeing that the primitive conscience is on the whole unreflective and amounts to little more than a sense of social propriety. On the other hand, it would be a mistake to suppose that the ordinary member of the community regards himself as exempt from the obligation to suffer personal hardship which religious duty enjoins on kings, widows, and so on, in what might be called their official capacity. To begin with, these cruelties inflicted on individuals in virtue of their special status are as it were but refinements of painful experiences to which every one is liable in the normal course of things. Thus killing the king is senicide in excelsis; or suttee is cutting for the dead carried a point further. Even the slaying of the war-captive in Ancient Mexico, which might seem from the onlooker’s point of view as festive an occasion as the hanging of a highwayman used to be made in England, involved the ministrations of priests who resorted to every means of self-torture, from piercing their tongues with the sharp spines of the aloe to complete self-mutilation; while on various solemn occasions the rest of the worshippers, male and female, would cut themselves freely in order to make blood-offerings to their cannibal gods. It would indeed be easy to cite examples from every part of America, not to speak of the remaining continents, of penitential practices which if directed towards others would have to be stigmatized as cruel in the extreme. Such scarifications and skewerings as, for instance, the Plains Indians inflicted on themselves may have been partly intended as tests of endurance, means of obtaining ecstatic experiences, and so on; but in the main their object was primarily to excite pity by their sufferings and loud laments, even when it remained obscure whose pity was sought. From the human end it was enough to know that thus to mortify the flesh made strong medicine. Now there is a well-known type of neurotic who appears to enjoy the taste of pain, and paradoxical, as it may sound, such a mania for self-torture is to be treated as a development of the blood-lust. The wretched fakir who chews glass is psychologically not far removed from the Grand Inquisitor; and seeing that, as compared with the hunter or the warrior, the priest has less excuse to be a man of blood, it is perhaps poetic justice that, if he is to shed blood at all, it should be his own.

It may be, then, that in the eyes of the psychologist no less than in those of the historian of religion the notion of self-sacrifice must always have a suspect air. Courage and endurance are noble virtues, but they can be associated with hope no less easily than with suffering; and, though a remedial value may undoubtedly attach to suffering in the sense that it may be unavoidable during the process of recovery, the suffering as such is of no use in itself, and does not even afford a test of the efficacy of the cure. Thanks to the grosser forms of the sacrificial rite, the middle religions—not those of savages so much as those of the half-civilized peoples—reek of blood like a shambles. It was the sacrifice of Iphigeneia that called forth the protest of Lucretius in immortal verse: tan-tum religio potuit suadere malorum. Yet if the facts are so, let us face them fairly. If religion is liable to unloose the beast in us even while seeking to free the man, we must learn how this deviation occurs, so that religion may be kept to the true direction. As psychologists, then, we must not be content to speak together in whispers about the lust or the cruelty that found their way into the religious complex together with the noblest of the human tendencies. Let us honestly proclaim that religious emotion is ambivalent, exciting the mind at once for better and for worse. At times, then, man is apt to think that he has reached the heights when he has merely touched the lowest depths of his spiritual nature.