I believe that polytheism is a natural sophistication of the animistic view of the world, of the early tribal societies. It was necessary to build a hiearchy of the 'spirits' that are constructing the sphere of existence, namely our reality, therefore the pantheon (the hiearchical order). Not all 'spirits' were of the same importance for us, some of lesser, the other of higher; the SKY was eternal, therefore always the highest in hiearchy, SUN and MOON had their cycles but were always present, RAIN brought welfare, WINTER brought death, THUNDER brought reverence etc.

By building a hiearchy of 'spirits', one was able to describe the world one was living in. Higher 'spirits' like the one described above, were GODS for they were the lowest common denominators and progenitors of the lesser ones, little gods, demons, spirits etc. The more the society evolved, the more 'spirits' were needed to describe the reality, thus creating GODS of abstractions, love, music, arts, science etc.

The next logical step in the natural sophistication, was the evolvement of polytheism into monotheism. Namely all the 'spirits' had ONE lowest common denominator, which was eternal and omnipresent, it was often the highest GOD of the pantheon (often the sky), thus his name was the one took as the 'eternal one' or the term for GOD as such describing the essence or lowest denomination of 'spirits', the essence from which they existed from.

In Semitic religion, when evolving from polytheism to monotheism, it was 'Ilu (Elohim/Allah) the highest GOD of their pantheon that described the 'eternal one'. In Germanic it was the term Gott, in Slavic it was the term Bog. If they have had made the step from polytheism to monotheism themselves, instead of adopting the already evolved Semitic religion through the Roman culture, the term could have been Odin, and Perun respectively.

If interested in Indo-European proto-religion, read this.

We are currently in the next step of natural sophistication, namely from mysticism to rationalism. Our understanding of the reality evolved to a degree, where mysticism alone is becoming insufficient when needed to describe our sphere of existence, therefore making it obsolete. The process is not completed yet, but still in progress, and will probably stay in this state forever, that means as long as every last bit of nativism is described by rationalism, therefore making us capable to recreate The Existence by ourselves.


Now let's go to the first step mentioned, namely animism, and its supposed origin.


Animism in the widest sense, i.e., thinking of objects as animate, and treating them as if they were animate, is near-universal. Jean Piaget applied the term in child psychology in reference to an implicit understanding of the world in a child's mind which assumes that all events are the product of intention or consciousness. Piaget explains this with a cognitive inability to distinguish the external world from one's . Developmental psychology has since established that the distinction of animate vs. inanimate things is an abstraction acquired by learning.

The justification for attributing life to objects was stated by David Hume in his Natural History of Religion (Section III): "There is a universal tendency among mankind to conceive all beings like themselves, and to transfer to every object those qualities with which they are familiarly acquainted, and of which they are intimately conscious.[/li]

Why did mankind think of objects as animate, assumed that all events are product of his intention or consciousness. Maybe the answer lies in here.


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