Greatest Sociologists of the World: August Comte, Herbert Spencer and Emile Durkheim!
August Comte lived from 1798 to 1857. He was born in France. At the age of sixteen, he enrolled in Ecole Polytechnic, a famous school of France at that time. The teachers of this school were scholars in natural sciences and had little interest in the-study of human affairs and society. However, Comte had a serious interest in the study of society. He decided to study various theoretical sciences, which he identified as positive philosophy.
With the help of such a study, he tried to formulate a system of laws governing society. At the age of nineteen, and while he was still a student, he became secretary to a great social thinker named. Saint Simon. From 1817 to 1823, Comte and Saint Simon worked closely together. However, after 1823, they began to attack each other and never worked together again.
In 1822, when Comte was working with Saint Simon, they conceived the necessity of a new science. They asserted that politics must become social physics, a branch of physiology; that each branch of knowledge must pass through three stages, the theological, the metaphysical, and the positive.
Thus the programme of a new science was clearly stated and the leading proposition of Comte’s sociological theory was proclaimed—the law of three stages. In 1822, when Comte (with Saint Simon) conceived the necessity of a new science, he wrote, “we possess now a celestial physics, a terrestrial physics, either mechanical or chemical; a vegetable physics and an animal physics; we still want one more and last one, social physics, to complete the system of our knowledge of nature. I understand by social physics the science which has for its subject the study of social phenomena considered in the same spirit as astronomical, physical, chemical or physiological phenomena, that is, subject to natural invariable laws, the discovery of which is the special object of investigation.”
Later, Comte reluctantly changed the name of the new science from social physics to sociology. In the latter part of his ‘Positive Philosophy’ he explained that he had invented the new name because the old one was usurped by a Belgian scientist who chose it as the title for a work devoted to so base a matter as simple statistics.
In ‘Positive Polities’, Comte attempted to give a clearer conception to the rather formal definition of sociology implied in ‘Positive Philosophy’. Initially, Comte’s writings implied that the new science of sociology was the study of the totality of human intellect and its resulting social actions through time.
Later, he qualified this definition by stating that sociology was not the study of intellect as such but of the cumulative results of the exercise of intellect. This conception of social phenomena is similar to the concept of culture frequently employed by contemporary sociologists, who took it over from cultural anthropology.
According to Comte, the new science of human society must use the positive method. By this method, he meant the subordination of concepts to facts and the acceptance of the idea that all social phenomena are subject to general laws—social laws.
Comte was a student of mathematics but he denied that the positive method could be identified with the use of mathematics and statistics. He believed that the positive knowledge could be gained through four methods, i.e., observation, experiment, comparison, and historical method. According to him, observation should be guided by a theory of social phenomena.
He believed in the use of observation to explain the variations of human behaviour. Comte was aware that actual experiment was not possible in the study of society. But in French language, experiment generally refers to controlled observation. He advocated the careful study of ‘Pathological Cases’, as the scientific equivalent of pure experimentation. He stressed the need of fruitful comparison for the study of social phenomena.
He maintained that comparison could be carried out between the human and the animal societies, between coexisting societies and between social classes in the same society. He explained that by this method the different stages of evolution may all be observed at once. Comte maintained that these conventional methods of science—observation, experimentation, and comparison—should be used in combination with the historical method.
The historical ‘method should be used to search the general laws governing the successive transformations of humanity through fixed, but limited number of stages. He insisted that we could not understand a particular social phenomenon without knowledge about its social context, for example, to understand the significance of a religion, one should understand the entire social and cultural context.
There are two further points of methodological significance which need to be mentioned:
(i) In Comte’s opinion, society is in one respect like an organism in that the whole is better known than the parts. From this proposition he came to a somewhat inconsistent conclusion that such specialized studies as economics are misleading because no social fact taken as an isolated phenomenon should be introduced into a science.
(ii) In Comte’s work there is a suggestion, which anticipates by more than fifty years, an outstanding contribution of Max Weber. Comte took social types to be “limits to which social reality approaches closer and closer without being ever able to reach them.” In this statement one perceives in rudimentary form, Max Weber’s ideal type, an excellent methodological tool for sociological analysis.
Static and Dynamic sociology:
Comte divided sociology into two major parts—static and dynamic. This division was taken over from Biology, which was known at that time as Physiology. According to Comte, “the statically study of sociology consists in the investigation of the laws of action and reaction of the different parts of the social system. Social dynamics, on the other hand, is the study of continuous movements in social phenomena through time.”
He wrote in his book, ‘Positive Philosophy’ that the distinction between the two is a distinction between two aspects of theory. It corresponds with the double conception of order and progress: for order consists in a permanent harmony among the conditions of social |existence and progress consists in social development. Both static and dynamics are essential for the study of society.
According to Comte, social statics is concerned with the analysis of the structure of society at any given movement as well as the analysis of elements, which at any given moment determine the consensus. The social static is essential for understanding the nature of social order. On the other hand, social dynamics must be subordinated to social statics.
Social dynamics consists of a description of various stages for the development of mind and society with the help of historical analysis. Social dynamics is history, which is not concerned with individual names, rather it is history of a scientific nature in search of abstract social laws operative in mind and society. Comte believed that social dynamics is concerned with human development and social progress. Progress is observable in all aspects of society—physical, moral, intellectual and political.
The law of three stages:
Comte considered sociology to be true science, which is concerned with the search of social laws. Based on his belief in social evolution, he puts forth the law of three stages. According to him, “each of our leading conceptions, each branch of our knowledge, passes successively through three different theoretical conditions: the theological or fictitious; the metaphysical or abstract; and the scientific or positive.”
A brief description of these three stages is as follows:
(a) Theological or fictitious stage:
Priests and military dominate this stage. In this stage, man tries to understand the nature of all beings; origins and purposes of all effects and the beliefs that all things are caused by supernatural beings. In this stage, all theoretical conceptions, whether general or special, bear a supernatural impress. The theological stage went through three phases of fetishism, polytheism and monotheism.
(b) The metaphysical or abstract stage:
Churchman and lawyers dominate this stage. At this stage, mind takes into account abstract forces and a belief that personified abstractions are capable of producing all phenomena. This stage started about 1300 A.D. and was transitional and short lived.
(c) The positive or scientific stage:
This stage started in the beginning of the 19th Century in which observation predominated over imagination and all theoretical concepts became positive. The industrial administrators and scientists dominate this stage. At this stage, the human mind gives up the futile search for absolute notions, origin of the universe and its causes; rather it seeks to establish scientific principles governing all types of phenomena.
According to Comte, corresponding to the three stages of mental progress, there are stages of society. The theological and metaphysical stages are dominated by military values. The positive stage marks the beginning of the industrial society.
Thus, Comte refers to two major types of societies; the theological-military society, which was dying; and scientific-industrial society which was being born during his lifetime. He believed that the new scientific—industrial society would become the society of all mankind. This is the final stage in a series of successive transformations and each stage is definitely superior to the previous one.
Hierarchy of sciences:
According to Comte, Just like individuals and societies, sciences also pass through the same stages. As astronomy began in mystical speculation and developed through philosophy and finally reached the scientific method, similarly sociology has arrived at a point in which religious notions or metaphysical causes are not relevant. At the scientific stage sociology is concerned with observation and analysis of all types of human relationships in society.
The abstract and theoretical sciences are arranged in a hierarchy in which more concrete and complex sciences succeed the more general and abstract science. Mathematics is at the base on hierarchy followed by astronomy, because the positive method has been adopted first of all in these sciences. Over a period of time, they are followed by mechanics, physics, chemistry, biology, and finally sociology.
Comte believed that the social sciences are at the top of the hierarchy because they enjoy all the resources of the anterior sciences and offer the attributes of a completion of the positive method. The positive method must prevail in history and politics and finally in sociology which is the roof of all sciences.
In establishing hierarchy of the sciences, Comte distinguished the methodological features of various sciences. Biology, which immediately precedes social sciences, employs a holistic methodology. Unlike physics and chemistry, which analyse individual elements, biology employs a holistic approach and proceeds from the study of organic wholes.
According, to Comte, in the Inorganic sciences, the elements are much better known to us than the whole which they constitute; so that In that case we must proceed from the simple to the compound. But the reverse method is necessary in the study of man and society; man and society are better known to us and more accessible subjects of study than the parts which constitute them.
Just as biology cannot explain an organ or a function without reference to the total organism, similarly, sociology cannot explain social phenomena without reference to the total social context. In the words of Comte, “there can be no scientific study of society either in its conditions or its movements If It is separated into portion and its divisions are studied apart.”
Spencer was born In England in 1820. As a child he was weak and sickly. He never attended a regular school and was instructed at his home. By the age of sixteen, he was well trained In Mathematics and Natural sciences. But his major Interest was In Ethics and Politics. His first book, ‘Social Statics’ was published in 1852.
This book was followed by another book named ‘First Principals’ in 1862. Later his major works include multi-volume work—”Principles of Biology’ in 1865 ; then a multi-volume work called ‘Principles of Psychology’ in 1872 ; followed by multi-volume work entitled ‘Principles of Sociology’ in 1896. He had also written an eight volume study ‘Descriptive Sociology” (1873 to 1894) as well as the highly acclaimed The Study of Sociology’ in 1873.
His major contributions have been described below:
Science and Society:
Like Comte, Spencer believed in and worked for a science of society which they both argued to be possible because they thought society was an order of coexistence and progress. Where there is order, the components of that order may constitute the subject of a science.
This social science (sociology) is the science of what Spencer called the super-organic, that is, social evolution. He divided all phenomena in the universe into three categories, i.e., inorganic, organic and super-organic. Sociology, according to him, was concerned with the super-organic or the socio-cultural phenomena.
Though for both Comte and Spencer, sociology was a positive science but there were differences of opinion between two of them regarding function of the new science of society in modern state. Whereas Comte wanted sociology to guide men in building a better society in which to live. Spencer was of the view that the new science should not interfere with the natural process occurring within society.
There is a tendency within all natural phenomena to improve itself and society being a natural phenomenon, is no exception. Spencer, like Comte had perceived the significant role of history for the new science of society. In the words of Spence, “That which it really concerns us to know is the natural history of society. The only history that is of practical use is what may be called “Descriptive sociology”. According to Spencer, history, if done well, is essentially sociology, a careful description of social phenomena in evolution.
Spencer took great pains to elaborate in great detail the organic analogy which is the identification of a society with biological organism. He regarded the recognition of the similarity between society and organism as the first step towards a general theory of evolution.
In the words of Spencer, “So complete is society organised on the same system as an Individual, that we may perceive something more than an analogy between them, the same definition of life applies to both”.
Spencer noted several similarities between biological and social organisms, which are as follows:
(i) Both society and organism are distinguished from inorganic matter by visible growth during the greater part of their existence.
(ii) As societies and organisms grow in size, they also increase in complexity of structure.
(iii) Both in societies and organisms, progressive differentiation of structure is accompanied by progressive differentiation of functions.
(iv) Evolution establishes for both societies and organisms differences in structure and function that make each other possible.
(v) Just as a living organism may be regarded as a nation of units that live individually, so a nation of human beings may be regarded as an organism.
After describing the analogy, Spencer also described the differences between the society and organism. According to him the parts of an animal form a concrete whole but the parts of society form a whole which is discrete. While the living units composing the organism are combined together in close contact, the living units composing the society are free, are not in contact and are more or less widely dispersed. Spencer continued to use the organic analogy as a scientific premise to build his theory of evolution.
Spencer tried to pinpoint the similarities and differences between organic and social life but denied that he held the doctrine of organic analogy. In his words, “I have used the analogies, but only as a scaffolding to help in building up a coherent body of sociological induction. Let us take away the scaffolding: the inductions will stand by themselves”. However, Spencer consistently used the terminology of organism in his writings.
Theory of Evolution:
The major concern of Spencer was with evolutionary change in social structures and social institutions. According to him, the evolution of human society, far from being different from other evolutionary phenomenon, is but a special case of universally applicable natural law. Ultimately, all universal phenomena- inorganic and super-organic—are subject to the natural law of evolution.
According to Spencer, “Evolution is an integration of matter and concomitant dissipation of motion; during which the matter passes from an indefinite, incoherent homogeneity to a definite, coherent heterogeneity; and during which the retained motion undergoes a parallel transformation”. Within this framework of universal evolution, Spencer developed his three basic laws and his four secondary propositions—each building upon each and all upon the doctrine of evolution.
The three basic laws are: (i) the law of persistence of force; (ii) the law of the indestructibility of matter and (iii) the law of continuity of motion. The four secondary propositions are: (i) persistence of the relationship between the force; (ii) transformation and equivalence of forces, (iii) tendency of everything to move along the line of least resistance and greatest attraction, and (iv) the principle of the alteration or rhythm of motion.
There are two distinct and interrelated aspects of Spencer’s theory of evolution:
1. The movement from simple societies to various levels of compound societies:
Spencer identified four types of societies in terms of their evolutionary stages—simple, compound, doubly compound and trebly compound, each being distinguishable on the basis of more of less complexity of their social structures and functions. There is an inherent tendency for the homogeneous to become heterogeneous and for the uniform to become multiform.
2. Change from military to industrial society:
This view point of society states that types of social structure depend on the relation of a society to other societies in its significant environment. Thus the evolution is from military to industrial societies, the former characterized by ‘compulsory co-operation’ while the later is based on ‘voluntary cooperation’.
The military society is also characterized by a centralized government, a rigid system of stratification, economic autonomy and state domination of all social organization. The chief characteristics of an industrial society are: free trade, laws of economic autonomy, independent voluntary organization; relatively open system of stratification and a decentralized government.
A question related to Spencer’s writings is, whether he believed that evolution, which was the law of becoming, was directed towards progress. Spencer did not hold the view that evolution necessarily leads to progress. In Spencer’s words, “the doctrine of evolution is erroneously supposed to imply some intrinsic proclivity in every species towards a higher form.
Similarly, many make the erroneous assumption that the transformation which constitutes evolution implies an intrinsic tendency to go through those changes which the formula of evolution expresses’. But, according to him, the progress of evolution is not necessary; it depends on certain conditions.
The frequent occurrence of dissolution (process opposed to evolution), the movement of the multiform to the uniform, shows that, where essential conditions are not maintained, the reverse process takes place Thus, it will be wrong to assume that Spencer claimed the ever-presence of evolution or the notion that evolution necessarily leads to progress. However, Spencer believed that man by his very nature was pre-destined to progress.
Spencer stated that societies need not necessarily pass through the identical stages of evolution or become exactly one like the other.
He maintained that there were differences between the individual societies due to disturbances which interfered with the straight line of evolution.
He refers to fine possible disturbances which are as follows:
(i) A somewhat different original endowment of the races;
(ii) The effect due to the impact of the immediately preceding stage of evolution;
(iii) Peculiarities of habit;
(iv) The position of a given society in the framework of a larger community of societies and
(v) The impact of the mixture of races.
Social Darwinism is an attempt to apply Darwin’s theory o evolution, dealing with the development of plants and animals. LO social phenomena. Herbert Spencer and summer were the two most outspoken advocates of social Darwinism in sociology Spencer’s social
Darwinism is centered around two fundamental principles which are discussed below:
(i) The principle of the survival of the fittest:
Spencer full endorsed the natural process of conflict and survival which operates as a kind of biologically purifying process. According U him, nature is endowed with a providential tendency to get rice of unfit and to make room for the better; it is the law of nature that the weak should be eliminated for the sake of strong.
(ii) The principle of non-interference:
Spencer was a serious; advocate of individualism and laissez-faire politics. He opposed almost any form of state interference with private activity. He insisted that the state had no business in education, health sanitation, postal services, money and banking, regulation o housing conditions or the elimination of poverty.
For Spencer the state was a sort of joint stock Company whose only role was the protection of the rights of the individual and defence of its citizens against external aggression. Spencer was of the opinion that sociologists should convince the state and the citizen not to intervene in the natural process of selection operative in society. In his world “nature is more intelligent than man and once you begin to interfere with the order of nature, there is no knowing where the result will end”.
Spencer was a thorough going functionalist as well as an evolutionist. According to him, “There can be no true conception of a structure without a true conception of its function”. Function occurs within a social structure and all social structures must have functions. He explained, “To understand how an organization originated and developed, it is requisite to understand the need sub served by it at the outset and afterwards”. He believed that social institutions are not the result of deliberate intentions and motivations of actors but arise from; his exigencies of social structures and functions.
According to him, any serious sociological analysis of social institutions must necessarily employs both the concepts of social evolution and social function. He emphasized that changes in structure cannot occur without changes in functions and that increases in the size of social units necessarily bring in their wake progressive differentiations in social activities. Spencer combined his functionalism with evolutionism. According to him, if the society as to evolve into higher and more advanced social structures and function’s, it must move from the simple to the complex activities, which is moving from the lesser military to the more industrial activities.
Emile Durkheim was a French sociologist. He lived from 1858 to 1917. He did his graduation from Paris after which he travelled to Germany for studying Economics, Folklore and Cultural Anthropology. In 1887, he was appointed professor at university of Bordeaux, where he taught the first course in Sociology ever offered in any French university. In his writings and in his thoughts, he was deeply influenced by August Comte Saint Simon and to some extent by Herbert Spencer. The main contributions of Durkheim include the concept of social facts, division of labour, suicide, and sociology of religion.
These contributions have been discussed below:
The methodology of Durkheim can be explained with reference to his concept of social facts. According to him, there are some facts in social life which cannot be explained in terms of physical or psychological analysis. These social facts have distinctive social characteristics and determinants. The social facts constitute the subject matter of sociology.
According to Durkheim, there are two important features of social facts, (a) Exteriority”: Social facts are external to any particular individual considered as a biological entity. They continue to persist over a period of time while particular individuals die and are replaced by others. There are certain ways of action, thinking and feeling which are external to the individual, for example, the principles of public morality, family and religious observances etc. ; (b) Coercion: The social facts have coercive power, i.e. they impose themselves upon the individual, independent of his own will.
Durkheim gives a number of examples which show the element of coercion in social phenomena, for example, in a gathering or a crowd, a feeling imposes itself on everyone or there is a collective reaction. Coercive power of social facts comes into force whenever social demands are violated, for example, the means of social control like law or custom immediately come into operation in case of such violation.
However, in his later writings, Durkheim changed his views regarding external constraints. He admitted that some social facts, particularly the moral rules, become internalized in the consciousness of individuals and then act as effective guides and controls of conduct.
Durkheim defined social fact as “Every way of acting, fixed or not, capable of exercising on the individual an external constraint”. According to him, social facts should be regarded as things. We do not know in scientific sense, the social phenomena that surrounds us, for example, as a layman, we do not have scientific knowledge about the terms like state, sovereignty, democracy, socialism or communism.
We generally have a vague and confused idea regarding them. When we learn to regard social facts as things we can avoid the preconceptions and prejudices which hinder the scientific knowledge about these facts. Moreover we must observe social facts from outside i.e. we should gain knowledge about them through objective and scientific research.
We can discover them as we discover physical facts. The social facts are general in character because they are collective. According to Durkheim, social fact is any way of behaving which is universal throughout a given society and has an existence of its own, independent of its individual manifestations.
Division of labour:
The view of Durkheim about division of labour have been deeply influenced by August Comte. Durkheim starts with the analysis of relationship between individuals and collectivity. In this analysis he distinguishes between two forms of solidarity i.e. mechanical and organic. Mechanical solidarity is solidarity of resemblances.
The major characteristic of a society marked by such solidarity is its homogeneity, i.e. individuals in such a society differ from one another as little as possible. The individuals in this type of society have similar emotions, values and beliefs. On the other hand, in a society marked by organic solidarity, there is a remarkable social differentiation.
However, even in this type of society there is a coherent unity of the collectivity which is based on consensus. The primitive societies are characterized by mechanical solidarity and are called segmental societies. On the other hand, modern societies are characterized by organic solidarity and have an elaborate division of labour. In a segmental society, the individuals are strongly attached to particular social groups and are more or less separated from outside world.
Thus the segmental organization is contrary to the general phenomena of differentiation designated by the term organic solidarity. However, Durkheim concedes that in certain societies which might have advanced forms of economic division of labour, the segmental structure may still persist to some extent. The division of labour which Durkheim tried to define and explain should not be confused with the one explained by the economists.
According to Durkheim, differentiation of occupation and multiplication of industrial activities are an expression of social differentiation which precedes the economic differentiation. The origin of social differentiation leads to the disintegration of mechanical solidarity and movement of the society towards organic solidarity, which is characterized by a complex division of labour.
Durkheim related the problem of suicide to his study of division of labour. To some extent, he approves of the phenomena of organic division of labour and regards it as a welcome development in human society. However, he also notes that the individual is not properly satisfied with his lot in the modern societies and hence, there is an increase in the number of suicides. The increase in the number of suicides is considered by him as an expression of certain pathological features of modern societies.
Durkheim considers suicide not as an individual but as social phenomena. Apparently, suicide seems to be the most personal matter of an individual because nothing may be considered more personal than the decision to take one’s own life. But Durkheim argued that the decision of an individual to commit suicide is taken because of certain social forces.
He tries to bring out the relationship between suicide as an individual phenomena and the suicide rate as a social phenomena. He found that suicide rate, i.e. frequency of suicide in a given population, is relatively consistent. It does not vary arbitrarily; rather it varies as a result of many circumstances. According to him, sociology must establish correlations between the circumstances and variations in suicide rates.
Durkheim does not accept the psychological explanations for suicide. In order to prove his view point he examines variations in the suicide rate in different populations, for example, he considers various religions and remarks that the proportion of neurotic or insane persons among Jews is particularly high, while suicide rate among them is quite low. Thus he comes to the conclusion that there is no correlation between the psychological factors and suicide rates.
Durkheim has explained three types of suicide:
When people think primarily of themselves and they are not integrated into a social group, they are prone to egoist suicide. In order to explain this type of suicide he establishes correlations between the suicide rate and integrating social contexts like religion and family.
On the basis of this correlation, he comes to certain conclusions:
(i) Suicide rate increases with age,
(ii) It is higher among men than in women,
(iii) It is higher among Protestant Christians as compared to Catholic Christians,
(iv) It is higher among childless women.
When the individual is so much attached to the group that he loses his personal identity, he is prone to this type of suicide, for example, practice of Sati in India. Suicide can also take place due to an internalized social imperative, for example, the captain of a sinking ship prefers to die than to leave it. Similarly, Durkheim finds that in some professional organizations like the army, the suicide rate is higher due to disappearance of individual identity in the group.
When there are abnormal conditions and breakdown of norms, individuals are prone to this type of suicide, for example, suicide rate goes up both in times of economic crisis and extreme prosperity. Durkheim explains this type of suicide in terms of crisis created by social disintegration and the weakening of group norms, which bind the individual to the group: for example, the suicide rates increase with the increase in divorce rate.
Sociology and Religion:
Durkheim defined religion as “Unified system of beliefs and practices related to sacred things”. The sacred things are those which are set apart and forbidden. What makes any object as Scared’ is not based on its basic properties but rather an attitude towards it. The sacred things are symbols and their significance lies in what they symbolize and not what they are.
Durkheim distinguishes sacred from the profane which is the realm of everyday. Sacred refers to the holy realm which is viewed with reverence. The sacred things are set apart by a peculiar emotional attitude of respect and awe. The sacred things are considered to possess special powers, are reserved for special occasions and a number of restrictions are attached with them.
The profane or the ordinary includes whatever is not viewed with these emotions and regarding which there are no such restrictions. Profane includes those ideas, persons, practices and things that are regarded with an everyday attitude of commonness, utility and familiarity.
According to Durkheim, religion is an eminently collective thing. Religion is regarded by him as a creation of society and he thinks that religion reflects all aspects of society, even the most vulgar and the most repulsive. He maintained that religion is a social necessity and will be present in one form or another irrespective of the changes that might take place in the organization of the society.
Durkheim distinguished between two major aspects of religion, i.e. beliefs and rituals. Belief is the cognitive aspect of religion—it attempts to explain the nature and origin of sacred things and implicitly assumes that they exist. The religious beliefs are based upon faith rather than evidence.
Durkheim, therefore, emphasized that religion cannot be studied merely as system of beliefs. The religious ritual is the active side of religion. Beliefs can neither be observed nor verified unless they are expressed in ritual actions. Ritual, moreover, involves the society, which according to Durkheim is the main concern of sociology. He, therefore, emphasizes that the study of rituals is essential for the scientific understanding of religion.
With regard to the origin of religion, Durkheim believes that its absolute origin can never be found. At the most, we can describe the most simple social condition that is actually known and beyond which we cannot go at present in his search for the most simple social condition, he concentrated upon an analysis of religion as found among the Australian tribes.
He propounded his theory of religion in his book “Elementary Forms of Religious Life”. He rejected the viewpoint held by the earlier anthropologists that religion must involve a belief in goods or m spiritual beings. He attributed the beginning of religion to ritualistic activities which he considered as the most elementary form of religion. According to Durkheim, the primitive men like many people in civilized societies had an important need to escape daily routine and dullness of everyday life.
Therefore, primitive people periodically gathered for some celebrations during winch their passions ran high and they reached a stage of ecstasy. The most important activities were group dancing and singing which led to intensification of sentiments so that the group felt that it possessed extraordinary powers. This is the elementary emotion attached to religion.