The Ancient Library

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would be the most valuable of man's weapons in the struggle for existence. It is easily intelligible that he is loth to cast it away as useless. That is why divination is the longest lived of superstitions. That the presupposi­tions on which it rests are irrational is no fatal bar to longevity. How seldom in practical life is it possible to consider the ultimate pre­suppositions on which are based the theories embodied in our conduct—in political or social problems, for example ! And the very elabora­tion to which some of the most puerile methods attain tends to obscure the weakness of the foundation in the imposing intricacy of the superstructure.

Now if there are these universal causes at work to produce divinatory arts, we shall naturally be chary of accounting for similarities between the practices of different nations as necessarily due to borrowing or transplantation. When two different peoples both divine from the entrails of sacrificial animals it will by no means follow immediately that the one must necessarily have borrowed from the other. Of course this is possible; but it is also possible that the natural tendencies which govern the development of the sub-rite of divination have independently inspired its practice. When

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