The mana of the Melanesians (Codrington, "The Melanesians", pages 118, 119, 192, Oxford, 1891.) is somewhat more specialised--all men do not possess mana--but substantially it is the same idea. Mana is not only a force, it is also an action, a quality, a state, at once a substantive, an adjective, and a verb. It is very closely neighboured by the idea of sanctity. Things that have mana are tabu. Like orenda it manifests itself in noises, but specially mysterious ones, it is mana that is rustling in the trees. Mana is highly contagious, it can pass from a holy stone to a man or even to his shadow if it cross the stone. "All Melanesian religion," Dr Codrington says, "consists in getting mana for oneself or getting it used for one's benefit." (Codrington, "The Melanesians", page 120, Oxford, 1891.)
Specially instructive is a word in use among the Omaka (See Prof. Haddon, "Magic and Fetishism", page 60, London, 1906. Dr Vierkandt ("Globus", July, 1907, page 41) thinks that "Fernzauber" is a later development from Nahzauber.), wazhin-dhedhe, "directive energy, to send." This word means roughly what we should call telepathy, sending out your thought or will- power to influence another and affect his action. Here we seem to get light on what has always been a puzzle, the belief in magic exercised at a distance. For the savage will, distance is practically non-existent, his intense desire feels itself as non-spatial. (This notion of mana, orenda, wazhin-dhedhe and the like lives on among civilised peoples in such words as the Vedic brahman in the neuter, familiar to us in its masculine form Brahman. The neuter, brahman, means magic power of a rite, a rite itself, formula, charm, also first principle, essence of the universe. It is own cousin to the Greek dunamis and phusis. See MM. Hubert et Mauss, "Theorie generale de la Magie", page 117, in "L'Annee Sociologique", VII.)
Through the examination of primitive ritual we have at last got at one tangible, substantial factor in religion, a real live experience, the sense, that is, of will, desire, power actually experienced in person by the individual, and by him projected, extended into the rest of the world.
At this stage it may fairly be asked, though the question cannot with any certainty be answered, "at what point in the evolution of man does this religious experience come in?"
So long as an organism reacts immediately to outside stimulus, with a certainty and conformity that is almost chemical, there is, it would seem, no place, no possibility for magical experience. But when the germ appears of an intellect that can foresee an end not immediately realised, or rather when a desire arises that we feel and recognise as not satisfied, then comes in the sense of will and the impulse magically to intensify that will. The animal it would seem is preserved by instinct from drawing into his horizon things which do not immediately subserve the conservation of his species. But the moment man's life-power began to make on the outside world demands not immediately and inevitably realised in action (I owe this observation to Dr K. Th. Preuss. He writes ("Archiv f. Relig." 1906, page 98), "Die Betonung des Willens in den Zauberakten ist der richtige Kern. In der Tat muss der Mensch den Willen haben, sich selbst und seiner Umgebung besondere Fahigkeiten zuzuschreiben, und den Willen hat er, sobald sein Verstand ihn befahigt, EINE UBER DEN INSTINKT HINAUSGEHEN DER FURSORGE fur sich zu zeigen. SO LANGE IHN DER INSTINKT ALLEIN LEITET, KONNEN ZAUBERHANDLUNGEN NICHT ENSTEHEN." For more detailed analysis of the origin of magic, see Dr Preuss "Ursprung der Religion und Kunst", "Globus", LXXXVI. and LXXXVII.), then a door was opened to magic, and in the train of magic followed errors innumerable, but also religion, philosophy, science and art.
The world of mana, orenda, brahman is a world of feeling, desiring, willing, acting. What element of thinking there may be in it is not yet differentiated out. But we have already seen that a supersensuous world of thought grew up very early in answer to other needs, a world of sense- illusions, shadows, dreams, souls, ghosts, ancestors, names, numbers, images, a world only wanting as it were the impulse of mana to live as a religion. Which of the two worlds, the world of thinking or the world of doing, developed first it is probably idle to inquire. (If external stimuli leave on organisms a trace or record such as is known as an Engram, this physical basis of memory and hence of thought is almost coincident with reaction of the most elementary kind. See Mr Francis Darwin's Presidential Address to the British Association, Dublin, 1908, page 8, and again Bergson places memory at the very root of conscious existence, see "L'Evolution Creatrice", page 18, "le fond meme de notre existence consciente est memoire, c'est a dire prolongation du passee dans le present," and again "la duree mord dans le temps et y laisse l'enpreint de son dent," and again, "l'Evolution implique une continuation reelle du passee par le present.")
It is more important to ask, Why do these two worlds join? Because, it would seem, mana, the egomaniac or megalomaniac element, cannot get satisfied with real things, and therefore goes eagerly out to a false world, the supersensuous other-world whose growth we have sketched. This junction of the two is fact, not fancy. Among all primitive peoples dead men, ghosts, spirits of all kinds, become the chosen vehicle of mana. Even to this day it is sometimes urged that religion, i.e. belief in the immortality of the soul, is true "because it satisfies the deepest craving of human nature." The two worlds, of mana and magic on the one hand, of ghosts and other-world on the other, combine so easily because they have the same laws, or rather the same comparative absence of law. As in the world of dreams and ghosts, so in the world of mana, space and time offer no obstacles; with magic all things are possible. In the one world what you imagine is real; in the other what you desire is ipso facto accomplished. Both worlds are egocentric, megalomaniac, filled to the full with unbridled human will and desire.
We are all of us born in sin, in that sin which is to science "the seventh and deadliest," anthropomorphism, we are egocentric, ego-projective. Hence necessarily we make our gods in our own image. Anthropomorphism is often spoken of in books on religion and mythology as if it were a last climax, a splendid final achievement in religious thought. First, we are told, we have the lifeless object as god (fetichism), then the plant or animal (phytomorphism, theriomorphism), and last God is incarnate in the human form divine. This way of putting things is misleading. Anthropomorphism lies at the very beginning of our consciousness. Man's first achievement in thought is to realise that there is anything at all not himself, any object to his subject. When he has achieved however dimly this distinction, still for long, for very long he can only think of those other things in terms of himself; plants and animals are people with ways of their own, stronger or weaker than himself but to all intents and purposes human.