6 | MP introduction

is, as H. D. Lasswell[7] puts it, the hammer and anvil of social
solidarity. In this respect, all modern propaganda is a faint
substitute for the tribal dance, and for tribal ceremonies. The
size of modern groups renders it technically impossible to burn
out dissent in the furnace of a common dance.

In the tempestuous rhythm of well-regulated and emotionally
overcharged tribal dances and ceremonies the members of a primi-
tive group melt, as it were, into unity. To take an example, A. R.
Drown has shown in detail how the ceremonies of the Andaman
Islanders are designed to safeguard social unity.[8] In the danc-
ing rites "by virtue of the effects of rhythm and melody, all
the members of a community are able to co-operate harmoniously
and act in unity". By yielding to the rhythm, the individual in-
duces in himself the pleasure of self-surrender. Since rhythmical
actions are less tiring than non-rhythmical ones, "the dancer
feels that in and through the dance he obtains such an increase
of his personal energy that he is able to accomplish strenuous
exertions with a minimum of fatigue". In addition, the dance
produces a condition of warm good-fellowship in those who take
part in it. When we share with others in an intense and collective
pleasure, we are filled with geniality and good-will towards our

"As the dancer loses himself in the dance, as he becomes absorbed
in the unified community, he reaches a state of elation in which
he feels himself filled with energy or force immensely beyond
his ordinary state, and so finds himself able to perform prodi-
gies of exertion. … And at the same time, finding himself in com-
plete and ecstatic harmony with all the fellow-members of his
community, (he) experiences a great increase in his feelings of