The Problem with Superstitions

The problem with superstitions is that they aren’t really clear enough. For example it’s unlucky to open an umbrella in the house. But is it more unlucky to open a full-sized umbrella than it is to open one of those mini fold-up ones? What happens if you walk inside with an umbrella up and leave it up, is that ok? You get seven years bad luck for breaking a mirror. If you pick up one of the pieces and broke it, would you get an additional seven years or would you be covered by the original seven years? If you broke three mirrors in one day, would you get twenty-one years bad luck or would you have three times as much bad luck each year for seven years?

Some people say a black cat crossing your path is lucky (or unlucky depending on whether you learn towards medieval Christian superstition or Egyptian Pagan mysticism). Would a mostly-black cat with a white spot still be lucky, or does it have to be all black? Can we reproduce th is effect by dyeing a grey cat black? If you’re blind does the luck still stand? What’s more, what constitutes your path? If you change direction, forcing the cat to cross your path can you bring about good luck (or bad luck if you’re a negative thinker)?

If you spill salt it’s unlucky, unless you throw some over your shoulder (in the face of Old Nick, apparently). Doesn’t throwing it over your shoulder constitute additional spillage or should you throw only the salt that you’ve just spilt? If you walk backwards under a ladder, does that make it lucky rather than unlucky? Finally would genetically-altered four leaf clovers still bring good luck?

The answer of course must be that all this is arbitrary and relative. None of these superstitions are documented in any credible source. Most of them contradict each other. So why not make up your own? Obviously don’t bother making up unlucky ones, just lucky ones. Make them easy to achieve, “If I smile and a m pleasant to people I’ll have great day” or “if I step on the pavement, I’ll go somewhere worthwhile today”, that sort of thing.

Think about it. You can choose whether you have good luck or back luck in your life. It’s what we call ‘attitude’.

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2 comments on “The Problem with Superstitions

  1. what is supposed to happen if you cross paths with a black cat? and what happens when you spill salt? and what other things are supposed to be “unlucky”? i want to do something with my friend on Friday 13 to prove that none of that stuff is true. it’s all stupid and gets on my nerves! please e-mail me with your answers.
    ^^i don’t mind giving it out on the internet because i have a website and that is the e-mail me and my “partner” use for our site. it’s more like a business e-mail address!


  2. Good luck and bad luck are probably both imposters. How often have we bemoaned our ‘bad luck’, only to find that it facilitated the birth of good events unforeseen? Or ‘good luck’ has been shown to carry with it a poisoned chalice? It is better to expect nothing from the vaguaries of chance. Maybe, in the context of taking responsibility for our own lives, it is bad luck to be superstitious.


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