Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Poo Pooing Superstitions

makes me happy.

I have no time for superstitions. I personally think they are ridiculous and hold our species back from forward thinking.

While reading Seth Godin's Small Is The New Big on the subway home from work last night, I came to realize Mr. Godin shares the same point of view on the subject of superstition as I.

First he clears up for us what a superstition actually is,

"...a compulsion to take an action that has no actual influence on the desired outcome."

He goes on to say,

"When I meet someone who's willing to disregard an obvious truth just because it conflicts with his worldview, I wonder about his judgment. I wonder what truths he's willing to ignore in order to preserve his superstitions. When such a person is in charge, I do more than worry. I think that we're obligated to start pointing out superstitions at work, in politics - anywhere we find them. Superstitions are the final vestiges of prescientific humankind, and they make the workplace (and the world) a scary one."

Yeah - what he said!

Oh, and that bright big ball on the left hand side of the photo... it's the moon.

1 comment:

gwenstyles said...

Hrm, you know, under normal circumstances I'd be inclined to agree. Normally I *do* agree with everything you blog! However, I take a bit of a different view on superstitions.

There are many positive benefits (and positive effect on outcomes) to superstition:

- a student with a "good luck charm" might have more confidence going into an exam, which increases his chance of success. Did that rabbit foot directly cause the student to ace the test? No, but it made the student feel optimistic and confident.

- A family that has lost a loved one turns to religion to ease the grief. And let's face it: most organized religions are chock full of superstition. The rituals and beliefs associated with their religion could be considered superstitious, but the effect is positive: the family feels comforted and has the faith to carry on.

- Red sky at night, sailors' delight; red sky at morning, sailors take warning: This may actually have some basis in nautical observations. Clouds enhance the color of sunsets and sunrises. The red morning sky foretells a day of possible bad weather. Evening clouds may pass during the night. (source:

In my case, I'm a fairweather superstitious person. I do all sorts of superstitious things, but just for fun. Throwing spilled salt over my shoulder, avoiding walking under a ladder, holding my breath while driving past a cemetery... Consciously I know that these actions are purely ridiculous, but they're FUN for me, and they make otherwise boring moments of my life seem more interesting.

There you go - your daily dose of devil's advocate! (Drives my husband nuts.) Love you blog, will try to comment more. Have a great beautiful rainy Thursday!