Read The Magic Art and the Evolution of Kings, Vol 1. The Golden Bough, #1 by James George Frazer Free Online

Ebook The Magic Art and the Evolution of Kings, Vol 1. The Golden Bough, #1 by James George Frazer read! Book Title: The Magic Art and the Evolution of Kings, Vol 1. The Golden Bough, #1
The author of the book: James George Frazer
Language: English
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 24.81 MB
Edition: MacMillan
Date of issue: 1920

Read full description of the books The Magic Art and the Evolution of Kings, Vol 1. The Golden Bough, #1:

The structure of the first volume comes like this

1. Descriptive analysis of the Nemi landscape and chasing various threads in the Nemi ritual, like the Diana myth and its similarity to Artemis & Hippolytus, as well as certain other analogues in various other religions. This is the most structurally aloof part of the book, and its just a chasing of various threads.
2. Small explanation of the King-Priest, which I was first introduced to by Julius Evola. While Evola provides the moral(ly-pernicious) explanation for the need of the Priest-King, Frazer takes the anthropological approach. But this chapter is very brief.
3. A HUMONGOUS list of examples of primitive magic charms, based on his idea that Magic follows two logical fallacies, the Rule of Similarities and the Rule of Contagiousness. You should read this chapter as a poetic catalogue.
4. It is this chapter where Frazer begins to talk about his core thesis and his project, in some of the best prose that can appear in a historical-anthropological study.
5. A quick explanation of Public Magicians as proto-Natural Scientists, and MORE EXAMPLES of weather control magic.
6. Full sketch of how Magicians rose to Magic-Chieftains to Magic-Kings
7. Finally sketches of how Magic-King became Man-God, as well as many examples of possession and incarnations of Gods on Earth

Now let me talk about his ideas mainly

1. He proposes a 'soft' Great-Man theory of history, which is that man started off as a primitive democracy that eventually became an Oligarchy or Monarchy under a priest-king. Frazer attributes the progress of mankind to the stability created by these priest-kings. He claims that, against the idea of the noble savage, savages in early civilization were merely people bad at logic and made slave to the whims of their forefathers and superstition. I find this quite convincing, even though Frazer wrote his book at an age that didn't know that Authoritarian political systems could lead to a conflict even worse than anything humanity had ever encountered before. I consider it a 'soft' Great-Man theory because Frazer does admit that the guys who came it power could have been anybody manipulative enough to make use of their priest-king status to go beyond, and very few were benevolent enough to lead well after coming into power (he gives Augustus and Caesar as the examples). He attributes early human progress to these great leaders who came above the whole lot of very bad superstitious and unambitious leaders. Personally I believe in a kind of soft theory as well, that the people at the forefront of things like Science and Arts are pushing things forward while majority sticks in the middle of the bell-curve, at least until the Singularity or some weird thing like that. But I also think that the current famous ideology of democracy-with-conditions is the best way to keep those people working the best they can on what they have to do, without being dragged down into the gutter. The problem is that, with any ideology, it is very subject to the whims of chance, fate and environment, which can still lead to tons of abuse, and the perpetuation of lesser men in key areas of power.

2. His idea that early Magic is bad Science is also quite plausible. Early men were merely very bad empiricists, since they had little to work with anyway and had a confirmation bias. I find the transition from early Magic to Religion the most interesting, which Frazer attributes to the existential crisis that occurs when Magicians realize their magic is failing and decide to place faith in a 'better Magician' that everything is being run. He also quite amazingly points out the fact that Religion is where people start conceiving of reality as malleable (early Magic still saw reality as stable and based on set rules, just the wrong rules), and it raises the interesting idea that somewhere along the process, self-awareness about the Mind was introduced and people started conceiving of the world in an early type of Philosophical Idealism. They started seeing things in abstract, and started to impute values like Infinity to their superstition, and thus came up with concepts that were mixes of Abstract Symbols and Concrete Phenomena. The whole description of the process, where Frazer describes early Man slowly realizing the insignificance of his actions in the larger scope of nature, and falls into existential crisis, is GODLIKE.

3. Wittgenstein had a lot of problem with Frazer taking the higher moral ground in his writing, which is due to his whole Anti-Foundationalist philosophy of language games, which involves the conclusion of cultural relativism. Indeed Frazer believes in progress and human logic and hates mediocrity (given his volatile writing against early democracy). Wittgenstein thought that it was useless to call the thinking of these early humans 'errors'. These had its own cultural significance and its own meaning. Kind of like the play Death and the King's Horseman by Soyinka. But anyway I don't really support that cultural-relativist view, and I think that there is indeed a base-line for self-awareness, progress, and human stupidity. I don't see any value to keeping to cultural practices that go beyond just fostering simple unified identity, and actually leads to pernicious rituals being committed (all the rituals involving self-mutilation and blood for example.) and I think its important to point this out.

4. "Frazer says that it is very hard to discover the error in magic-and that is why it has lasted so long-because, for example, an incantation that is supposed to bring rain certainly seems efficacious sooner or later.But then it is surely remarkable that people don't realize earlier
that sooner or later it's going to rain anyhow." (Wittgenstein) Little did Wittgenstein know that later people like Daniel Kahneman would release books detailing how even in our enlightened society of today, people still easily commit statistical errors and fall into a whole ton of confirmation biases. So I find Frazer's thesis very plausible anyhow, that early Men made a whole ton of fallacious mistakes.

5. Yet a part of me is still held in wonder at some of the metaphors that arose in primitive magic, no matter how deluded. For example Frazer's description of the Ephesian Artemis

“At Ephesus, the most celebrated of all seats of her worship, her universal motherhood was set forth unmistakably in her sacred image. Copies of it have come down to us which agree in their main features… a multitude of protruding breasts; the head of animals of many kinds, both wild and tame, spring from the front of her body in a series of bands that extend from the breasts to the feet; bees, roses, and sometimes butterflies decorate her sides from the hips downward. The animals that thus issue from her person vary in different copies of the statue; they include lions, bulls, stags, horses, goats, and rams. Moreover, lions rest on her upper arms; in at least one copy, serpents twine round her lower arms; her bosom is festooned with a wreath of blossoms, and she wears a necklace of acorns. In one of the statues the breast of her robe is decorated with two winged male figures, who hold sheaves in both hands.”

Its quite a stunning description, given that it seems what they were doing was just equating boobs to fertility and coming to the conclusion that a god of fertility must have boatloads of boobs. And then throwing in a bunch of wild animals for good measure because Goddesses of agriculture gotta have their animals. These correspondences hold poetic and aesthetic value, but nothing else. I'm a person that can find a certain kind of description beautiful, but if you try to cross the line to try to manifest that correspondence as a metaphysical truth, you're just gonna dig yourself into a hole. In fact there's a reason why Nazi Germany was so focused on mythologizing and creating correspondences between their institutions and various Romantic aspects of Germany's mythic past. Beauty is its own domain, and when mixed with other things in real life, can lead to such confusions where people impute Beauty to other things, like a political figurehead. Corresponding symbols with other symbols is merely an aesthetic game, and while it happens to be a very sublime one that many people dedicate their whole lives to, all Art is still at the bottom just sublime fancy.

6. There's also the skepticism to 'Grand Theories' of human history that appears at the start of chapter 6. Frazer claims his method of exploration, without subscription to an overall generalization, is the best method. I think this was the same type of thinking that characterized the Annales School of history in Greece.

7. Take note that I myself live in a 'post-colonial' society, and while I understand how Frazer might say stuff that sounds completely heinous and imperialistic, I believe he is still more or less right. It is simply that an imperialist usually turns out to commit the same massive flaws in logic as the primitive man, himself being a part of some muck of cultural milieu, and also having their own unsavory goals of self-gain which undercuts the whole civilizing experiment whatsoever (It is selfishness of most humans to think that they themselves are exempted from the fact), and causes weird screwed up variations in the natural development of human societies. You get stuff like Prince Leopold completely screwing up Africa by just looting all their shit. Cultural Imperialism is a stupid concept because people mix the causes for the means. Cultural Imperialism is a means by which a Tyrant acquires control, by propagating his own idea of culture. But that does not make the act of Cultural Re-Evaluation, or the destruction of culture, a fault in itself, despite being a large tool used by such Tyrants. As Frazer sketches out, it is a natural process. What is at the bottom of all the wrong is power-play, which is a result of a lack of empathy and kindness overall. Currently I speak primarily English, live in a state which includes amalgamation of Chinese, Indian and Malay cultures, I watch tons of Japanese anime and manga online, listen to African-American hip hop and read African-American poetry, and my philosophy is influenced from all sorts of places Russian Orthodox Existential Christianity, to Chinese Buddhism, to German Philosophy, to Middle-Eastern Logic. I hold no orthodoxy towards any culture whatsoever (woah does that make me a full-fledged Postmodern? Whatever the hell that means). Thus, to me, the death of Culture is the beginning of Humanism, the beginning of Universality when you can inculcate all such diversities inside you without giving a damn about stupid things like Nationalism and Superiority of any one way of thought. Because no matter what culture artefacts you attach to yourself, the main important thing is compassion and rationality at the bottom of it all.

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Ebook The Magic Art and the Evolution of Kings, Vol 1. The Golden Bough, #1 read Online! Scottish social anthropologist influential in the early stages of the modern studies of mythology and comparative religion.

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