chapter  4
26 Pages

Religious Themes in the Novels of Chingiz Aitmatov

Animism is generally understood to be a belief in personalised spirits which inhabit features of the natural environment. There is a school of thought, associated with the anthropologist Edward B. Tylor, which holds that this is the essence of primitive religious feeling. Tylor maintains that man has a tendency to imagine the world in his own image and, since animals, plants and objects move, act, behave and help or hinder him, primitive man will naturally assume that they are endowed with souls or spirits. Animism is an expression of something which may be termed the religious 'urge': the drive to determine and systematise the nature of ultimate reality and its relation to the universe and to man.