Science And Superstition

Science And Superstition

Have you ever avoided a black cat or number 13 or got scared when a mirror broke? Have you heard something about walking under a ladder? Maybe you all avoid these things. I know why, you must think that these are bad luck signs. At least 25% or more people all over the world are engaged in some or the other superstition. Is this a question for science and superstition? When I say science and superstition, are you able to correlate science and superstition? I know you cannot. Maybe some of the superstition which could be explained using science but most of these superstitions are beyond logic. It is very difficult to state science and superstition together. Even if you don’t believe in superstitions, but you must have said “bless you” when someone sneezed. There is no logical explanation for it. But you may have heard that if you don’t say “bless you” when someone sneezes the devil decides to steal their soul. In Lufthansa – an airline, there is no 17 rows, because, in some countries like Brazil and Italy, it is considered a lucky number. Even in the hotel, people tend to avoid floor13 because they consider it bad luck. Many people label their building14A, 14, 14B or12B instead of 13 because of concern of tenants. Let’s try to correlate science and superstition.

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What is superstition?

Superstition is defined my many people which basically means having a believe in supernatural forces. Many psychologists worked on science and superstitions and its interrelation. And most of them have come to conclusion that superstitions derive from assumption that is connection exist between co-occurring and non-related events. For example, when people say bless you when you sneeze so that devil would not take their soul or wearing stones of different kinds for luck.

There was a survey conducted saying that black cat is less likely to be adopted. Do superstition is the reason behind it?

There are many reasons to believe in superstitions. According to psychologists believing in any superstition provide one a sense of control and reduces anxiety. And maybe this is the reason why more and more people start engaging in different kinds of superstitions. People tend to believe in superstition beyond logic especially during stress and anxiety. This may occur at any economic stress, social uncertainty or any emotional or psychological trauma or any war or conflict.  For instance, in Germany during 1918 and 1940, the level of superstition increased. During that time there was an economic threat, which can be correlated directly to measures of superstitions.

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Illogical superstitions

When we are looking at superstitions as illogical, we have to say that it promotes a positive state of mind. It has been shown that it helps to promote positive mental attitude. But at the same time, it is very irrational. People tend to believe in good luck or lucky charm or destiny instead of decision making and working for your goals or work in general. 

Wearing rings of different stones for good luck, wearing specific color on specific day, visiting place for good luck, preferring specific number, fasting for long life of one’s spouse, etc. are all element of superstition. I know these things don’t seem to be very important but sometimes it can affect choices made by you. Superstitions tend to make people believe that objects and places are cursed. For instance, the Annabelle doll – which was shown in movie “the conjuring” pictured that there was a spirit of a dead girl in that doll or the curse of pharaohs, which is believed to be cast upon any person who disturbs the mummy of Egyptian person. 

Numbers are also sometimes associated with superstitions. For example, the figure 666 in a license place is often seen as a bad luck. I heard a story in my childhood related to this superstition. There was a car with number DU- 666 something and people used to say it was cursed and gave people a misfortune.

Superstitions followed in sports

Superstitions are highly followed in sports industry. When there are a highly competitive situation people tend to believe in superstitions. In a survey it has been reported that 9 out 10 professional players of any sport is engaged in some kind of superstition. People believe in superstition to give better performance. But these superstitions can be therapeutic. It reduces tension and anxiety and provide them a sense of control over uncertainty. People use different sort of superstition in different sports. Competitors pray prior to their match. Some of them even wear lucky rings or clothes in match. Many people have their lucky kit, clothes and charms. Even famous sportsman with best records tend to be engaged in superstitions. For instance, Michael Jordan – basketball player said that his North Carolina shorts under Chicago bull team kit is his lucky charm. Similarly, Bjorn Bork – tennis player reported to wear same brand clothes shirt during his practice. The extend of superstition is not just that. A sportsman Rafael Nadal follows an array of rituals before match. He places his water bottle in a specific manner. He takes bath in freezing cold showers before match. He said that these ritual gives him focus and ability to perform well. These claims create a battle between science and superstition.

Creates conflict between science and superstition.

Although these superstitions can provide reassurance and can reduce stress and anxiety among us, but these superstitions create a conflict between science and superstition. It has been seen that superstition can also become reinforcing. The behavior develops in such a kind that these superstitions become our habit and sometimes failure to perform ritual can give us anxiety more than ever. Even when there is a reason right behind our eyes for failure but we tend to believe in superstition, the failure of ritual as a cause of our actual failure. But instead we should believe that harder we word better our luck will be rather than waiting for some supernatural forces. 

So whenever a black cat crosses your way, don’t be afraid about it. It is just a trick of mind. 

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