Q162. Explain this passage by Durkheim:

In “The Origin of Beliefs,” Emile Durkheim writes

" Thus it is not the intrinsic nature of the thing who name the clan bore that set it apart as the object of worship. Furthermore, if the emotion elicited by the thing itself really was the determining cause of totemic rites and beliefs, then this thing would also be the sacred being par excellence, and the animals and plants used as totems would play the leading role in religious life. But we know that the focus of the cult is elsewhere. It is symbolic representations of this or that plant or animal. It is totemic emblems and symbols of all kinds that possess the greatest sanctity. And so it is in totemic emblems and symbols that the religious source is to be found, while the real objects, represented by those emblems receive only a reflection” (49).

The totem is above all a symbol, a tangible expression of something else. But of what? (49)


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