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Superstition: Is It Just A Mental Belief?

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Superstition is a weakness of the human mind. It is a belief which was inherent in mind and has always been there.

According to a superstition, if you cut an apple in half and count how many seeds are inside, you will also know how many children you will have.

In a recent survey, it was found that most people shrugged their shoulders and denied believing in any superstition. Yet on probing further, a few hidden beliefs and customs came out, which were followed without questions.

Looking around our home and our community, we will come across many things that are associated with superstitious beliefs. For eg, a black cat crossing is a bad omen. Similarly, looking at a black cat when you go out for a good work can be a negative sign.

Superstition is an irrational belief that an object, action, or circumstance, not logically related to an event, influences its outcome.

Superstitions originated to give people a sense of control over things that are uncertain and uncontrollable. It is also a result of people wanting an answer to the “Why?" question. If it appears that a particular object is responsible for something, the “effect" will be credited, rightly or wrongly, to a “cause."

Some superstitions find their origin in practical sense when considering safety and reducing risk. E.g., The belief that spilling salt brings bad luck came by because salt was valuable and was once used as currency.

Superstitions can mean different things for different cultures, some even being contradictory in comparison. For example, black cats are unlucky in US and even in Kerala, but considered lucky in many parts of Europe. Similarly horseshoe, hung above the doorway in the downward facing position, is supposed to bring good luck in most of Europe, but in some other parts people believe that the shoe must be turned upward. Therefore, different cultures have different superstitious beliefs.

From time immemorial, superstitions have been introduced and practiced in various cultures around the world. If it is a psychological relief that these beliefs offer, they could be harmless.

But any superstition, which stops progress or stops us from seeing things in the right light, should be wiped aside. For eg, a widow is not allowed to attend marriage ceremony or other such festivals. It is not her fault if she is a widow! They have equal rights to socialize in the society.

The fear of bad luck results in missed opportunities, and others can easily take advantage of people with an increased level of innocence. This is why, too much belief in superstition can be harmful!

It can also result in poor decision making. It is said that if a young girl catches a ladybug and then releases it, the direction in which it flies away will be the direction from which her future husband will come. Ladies will have a tough time if the ladybug started flying in circles.

The spouse who goes to sleep first on the wedding day will be the first to die. Just think about a couple not sleeping on their wedding day, specifically because they don"t want to be the first to die.

We"re not living in pre-scientific societies where determining the cause of an event was difficult. It"s time we questioned pointless customs and accepted only those which serve any good.

Lets move away from ladders to avoid accidents, not because it brings bad luck. Let"s allow a black cat to cross peacefully, instead of letting our terror run it over. And Friday the thirteenth? It"s just a movie, folks. Watch it. Forget it!

Be strong, get beyond all superstitions, and be free. Superstitious beliefs are just for mental peace and it doesn't affect the life as it is considered to be! Take life positively and get over the orthodox!

Read more about: culture, superstitions
Story first published: Monday, February 13, 2012, 15:35 [IST]
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