Primitive desires produced the original society, but ghost fear held it together and imparted an extrahuman aspect to its existence. Common fear was physiological in origin: fear of physical pain, unsatisfied hunger, or some earthly calamity; but ghost fear was a new and sublime sort of terror.
Probably the greatest single factor in the evolution of human society was the ghost dream. Although most dreams greatly perturbed the primitive mind, the ghost dream actually terrorized early men, driving these superstitious dreamers into each other’s arms in willing and earnest association for mutual protection against the vague and unseen imaginary dangers of the spirit world. The ghost dream was one of the earliest appearing differences between the animal and human types of mind. Animals do not visualize survival after death.
Except for this ghost factor, all society was founded on fundamental needs and basic biologic urges. But ghost fear introduced a new factor in civilization, a fear which reaches out and away from the elemental needs of the individual, and which rises far above even the struggles to maintain the group. The dread of the departed spirits of the dead brought to light a new and amazing form of fear, an appalling and powerful terror, which contributed to whipping the loose social orders of early ages into the more thoroughly disciplined and better controlled primitive groups of ancient times. This senseless superstition, some of which still persists, prepared the minds of men, through superstitious fear of the unreal and the supernatural, for the later discovery of “the fear of the Lord which is the beginning of wisdom.” The baseless fears of evolution are designed to be supplanted by the awe for Deity inspired by revelation. The early cult of ghost fear became a powerful social bond, and ever since that far-distant day mankind has been striving more or less for the attainment of spirituality.
Hunger and love drove men together; vanity and ghost fear held them together. But these emotions alone, without the influence of peace-promoting revelations, are unable to endure the strain of the suspicions and irritations of human interassociations. Without help from superhuman sources the strain of society breaks down upon reaching certain limits, and these very influences of social mobilization—hunger, love, vanity, and fear—conspire to plunge mankind into war and bloodshed.
The peace tendency of the human race is not a natural endowment; it is derived from the teachings of revealed religion, from the accumulated experience of the progressive races, but more especially from the teachings of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.