To define what is meant by religion, a net must be cast very widely to include, not just contemporary
organized religions, but all religious experience. This can include everything from individuals practicing
magic and witchcraft to group cults to mass religious movements, from simple superstitions to complex
philosophies. Fundamentally, religion involves some relationship with supernatural forces of any type
and ritual behaviors which are repeated acts (such as prayers) that must be performed in a certain
way to have the desired .effect. It also includes sacred times, sacred places, and mythology (sacred
Referring to Attachment 1, it can be seen that spiritual expression of some type goes back to the Ice Age,
with silhouettes of hands reaching upward, either from depths or towards heights. Ice Age art also includes
cave wall depictions of hunting scenes and Venus figurines, both of which may have been created for
sympathetic magic (making a depiction or model of something to make it come into reality), be it a suc-
cessful hunt or a fertile woman. Depictions of animal-human combinations are seen in "The Sorceror"
from the Ice Age and Anubis from Egyptian civilization, while, by contrast, Shinto animism focuses on
spirit inhabiting all of nature. Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea, so significant for a seafaring civiliza-
tion, suggests a trend towards anthropomorphic dieties. Hinduism's depiction of Brahma, the Supreme
Diety is stylized as a human with multiple aspects, more than human. The Buddha, a historical person
living during early civilization, is depicted as he may have appeared in life. How the spiritual forces
are depicted has a relationship to the culture in which the people live.
Ritual behavior was the subject of much debate in the twentieth century by two anthropologists.
Bronislaw Malinowski argued that rituals eased anxiety; an example would be how funeral
rituals relieve the anxiety of the disposal of the dead, to assure the safe passage of the deceased
to the afterlife. A.R. Radcliffe-Brown argued that rituals aided social integration after a link in the
social network was broken, as after the death of an individual. This was resolved by Harry Homans,
who claimed they were both correct. What is certain is that ritual behavior is how humans deal with
life's uncertainties: perform the ritual as prescribed and the danger is averted.
Rituals may usher in sacred times at sacred places, such as Memorial Day services at national
cemeteries, or prayers at a solemn holiday such as Good Friday or Yom Kippur. The emotional
atmosphere changes palpably until another ritual ends the time and people leave the place.
During the sacred time, sacred stories, which anthropologists call " mythology" may be recounted.
These stories may range from historically true, to partly true, to completely fictional, but they
serve the purposes of remembrance and social solidarity.
What is art? We know that there are arts, such as visual arts (e.g.,painting, photography), literary arts (e.g.,
poetry, novels), performing arts (e.g., music, dance,) and arts which combine the visual, literary, and per-
formance (e.g., opera, cinema, musical theater), as well as art with political content and commercial art.
But what is art, itself? Art is aesthetic, appealing to a sense of beauty. Art is evocative, causing the
participants and others to react emotionally. Art may even be transformative. A book or movie or sculpture
may be so remarkable that the art lover is changed in a profound way.
Who decides what constitutes good art? There are art critics of all varieties: restaurant critics, movie
and theater critics, book critics, et al. Are they infallible, with perfect knowledge, experience, and taste,
or are they biased and fallible? Critics, when trained in the particular art itself, have much to offer in
advice. They can be biased the same way that scientists can have biases, but critics, like scientists,
have reputations to uphold, and a biased professional might not last long in their profession. There are
fads in clothing and styles of cuisine that some critics favor, but there are established classic styles
and standards that a trained critic of any sort would know. Where critics fail most is with new styles of
visual art or the performing arts. One such example is the reception of the now-celebrated painting
"Nude Descending Staircase" by Marcel Duchamp XXXXXXXXXXsee Attachment 2). The element of move-
ment of an abstract depiction of a figure is appreciated at this time. This view of a human was too
unsettling for critics to appreciate it at the time.
Different cultures experience aesthetics differently, that is, one has a different ethos (theme) than
another. Cultures with an Apollonian ethos express art, architecture, and ceremonies with reserve
and subtlety, yet with depth of emotion. Stately classical Greek architecture and the austere
Japanese tea ceremony are two examples of Apollonian artistic expression. Cultures with a
Dionysian ethos express the arts with intensity of emotion and elaborate ornamentation. The
Palace of Versailles, with its richly decorative paintings and chandeliers, embodies this ethos.
The following shows how the practice of religion and performance of art is integrated with the
form of social organization of the culture.
Bands - Mobile food collectors in egalitarian band societies practice individualistic cults (belief systems).
Each person can relate directly to the supernatural when needed or required by the culture. It may involve
intense meditation and removal from the society; it may involve fasting, sleep deprivation, taking drugs, or
self-injury, until a vision (a hallucination) appears. The art is portable: jewelry, body adornment, small
musical instruments, dance, storytelling.
Tribes - Semi-sedentary villagers, with part-time or temporary leaders, practice shamanistic cults. These
have part-time or temporary specialists ( shamans) who have access to the supernatural because of their
personalities and mind-altering techniques. These include drum-beating, chanting, dance, and drugs,
which allow the shamans to communicate with spirits. Art such as musical instruments may now be larger
and less portable since the societies are less mobile.
Chiefdoms - People living in permanent towns with permanent, full-time political leaders have
communalistic cults with full-time religious specialists. These priests or priestesses perform rites of
passage in which the specialists and participants perform rituals and the participants gain new status
relative to the society. Art is now done by specialists.
States - State level societies are hierarchical with many strata of specialists. They have ecclesiastical
cults, which have a hierarchy of specialists who are also organized into hierarchies. Art is performed by
specialists, some of whom can work as artists full-time.
People living in tribes, chiefdoms, and states still engage in individualistic worship; people living in
chiefdoms and states still engage in shamanistic worship; people living in states still engage in