Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Superstition

20 May 2019

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I didn’t watch the (semi) finals of the Eurovision songfestival last week. I did listen to the radio but turned it off once the voting results became due. Neither do I watch the (semi) finals of my favourite sports teams. Why? I’m “afraid” that my favourites may lose because of my viewing. I know that superstition makes no sense at all but it’s stronger than me.

Latter remark suggests (to me) that superstition is outside our conscious domain. That leaves three other possibilities: subconscious, superconscious and unconscious. Please see my 2017 blog on the 4 levels of Consciousness – an integrated framework.

Given the parameters in my 7 August 2017 blog, superstition is in the “known knowns” domain. That leaves consciousness (ie, intelligence), unconsciousness (ie, complexes), and subconsciousness ie, intuition). At least, we can disregard superconsciousness which is only in the “unknown unknowns” domain.

Consciousness is a very unlikely option because superstition is not rational, it’s irrational. Initially, I assumed that superstition might be in our subconscious (ie, intuition). However, superstition is in the “now” and not in the future. That leaves unconsciousness as the most likely reason for superstition.

Although the classification of unconsciousness (ie, complexes) feels counterintuitive, complexes are fear related and so is superstition. Superstition might thus be defined as an irrational fear. Many fears are mostly rational (eg, heights, snakes, water), some are less rational (eg, elevators, town squares), and some are not rational (eg, superstition).

Apparently, “there is no single definition of superstition” (the Conversation). I do not agree with a “broadly defined” definition by Thought Co: “superstition is a belief in the supernatural” because a belief in the supernatural is not an irrational fear.

Recently, I read an eye-popping 2018 Aeon article: Evolution unleashed. Aeon-2018: “When researchers at Emory University in Atlanta trained mice to fear the smell of almonds (by pairing it with electric shocks), they found, to their consternation, that both the children and grandchildren of these mice were spontaneously afraid of the same smell.”

I think, feel and believe that this scientific study explains why some people have certain irrational fears, which Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud called complexes, and which we have commonly named as superstition.

“If a black cat crosses your path, it signifies that the animal is going somewhere.”

A quote by Groucho Marx (1890-1977), American comedian.

Superstition (1972) by Stevie Wonder
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

When you believe in things 
That you don’t understand 
Then you suffer 
Superstition ain’t the way

Note: all markings (bolditalic, underlining) by LO unless stated otherwise

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