Normal humanity has never taken kindly to the idea of annihilation. As far back as anthropology has pushed its researches traces of a belief in a survival after death have been found. We have but to open the tombs of the men of the neolithic period to discover idols, mystic symbols, traces of food and clothes, with which our far-off progenitors sought to express their belief that the dead still lived and were open to the ministries of pious affection. The truth is, the thought of annihilation is too abstract to be intelligible to the primitive mind. Wordsworth's “little maid” could not conceive death except in terms of life, and her inability is a universal mark of undeveloped thought. Savage man has no knowledge of death as a fact or process of nature, only as the product of some hidden and malevolent energy which, though it may destroy, cannot annihilate. The dead are not really dead. They haunt the spot which on earth they loved, mingle with the dreams, and affect for good or evil the fortunes of the living. Out of this instinctive impulse, through the growth of mental faculties and the reaction of environment, have been gradually evolved the lofty hopes of religion and philosophy.
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