WoD – Superstition

We’re all a little superstitious.  Some of us avoid cracks in the sidewalk, some hop over the foul lines on a baseball field, some set their clocks to an arbitrary time because of favorite numbers.  Others pray the same way.  (I am not saying prayer is a superstitious behavior; rather just that the way many people pray and utilize prayer is.)  And some are convinced that the seat they sit in during the big game has direct effect on the outcome.  Me included.  (Until TiVo came along and kinda wrecked that theory altogether.  I no longer could reconcile the belief that the Giants only won when I sat on the right side of my leather chair with my left arm on the left armrest, when in fact the game was actually already over and I was just watching a recording.)

But this is actually what makes the very notion of superstition bizarre.  What is superstition?  Why do we think and behave this way?  There is no basis in fact for superstitious behavior, our five senses do not tell us this specific way is better or optimal, and we have basically zero proof that outcomes are affected by any of our nuanced behaviors.  Yet through it all, we do it anyway.  I don’t think any other animal species acts in such a non-logical, uninstinctual, emotional way.

Perhaps it is a fear of the unknown, i.e. “I don’t want to risk a slight variance to my behavior for fear something bad may happen.”  But that doesn’t explain it fully.  I mean, when your team is down by four touchdowns with 5 minutes to play, perhaps that is exactly the time to try some new action, superstition-be-damned, right?  But we still don’t.

Perhaps we humans have some innate, natural (as opposed to nurtural) need for ritual or repeat behavior.  So by innate, I think I mean genetic.  Maybe it grounds us.  I don’t know.  But it sure is a weird characteristic, uniquely… human.

 

Wednesday:

FONFER (FUHNfihr)

A double-talker, a cheater

Don’t trust that fonfer – he’ll replace your blood with wine when you’re not looking.

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