Ah! I’m sure the title got you. You do know that I write some controversial posts from time to time. Like how focusing on the bright side of life may not always be a good idea. Today, I’m sharing why I think that it’s not silly to be reasonably superstitious.
Those who are superstitious are often mocked and given a bad name by those who might dismiss those beliefs as unreasonable. Of course, we cannot all believe in tarot card reading, or in ghosts, or a range of other phenomena we have little proof for being real or correct. But even those who consider themselves raw pragmatists can often find themselves resting on superstition from time to time.
For instance, let’s say you have a little money riding on the outcome of a sports game. You know that you could win big if your prediction comes to light, and that’s exciting. When the results are close and the game could go either way, it’s not unlikely for you to reach to a higher power, or to wear your lucky trousers, or to stop getting overly excited by a good turn in case you ‘jinx’ the outcome. No matter the result, we will have proven that we all have little ways of interpreting the world and hoping to change the outcome of certain events, and to this end, superstition can seem much less silly than some may make it out to be.
It’s Not Silly To Be Reasonably Superstitious
Being a little superstitious can be good for us. Here’s why that may be:
Keeping An Open Mind
Superstition allows us to keep an open mind when it comes to external phenomena and the means in which we curate our life choices. If used correctly, it can help us avoid being too sure of anything. For instance, it might be that your friend is almost convinced their house is haunted and so they’re moving home in order to get away from that.
You may have absolutely no belief in ghosts, nor will we try to convince you of the opposite. But it could be that by keeping an open mind our knee-jerk reaction to shame or humiliate our friend is tempered just a little, because we cannot be fully certain of the experience they’re having. Of course, this doesn’t mean we need to entertain that which we feel is their delusion, but it could also be a reliable means in which to never discount odd events.
Keeping an open mind allows us to avoid becoming overly crystallized in our mindset. While we’re not going to try and give you some false set of ideas about how the supernatural is real and you should be on guard for it, or anything to that degree, it’s worth simply understanding that there are many things about this world we’re not entirely sure of, and it takes intelligence to recognize that. For instance, it can sometimes be that synchronicities in our life seem to add up to quite intensive coincidence. Everyone has had experiences like this. Does that mean it’s some higher power working for us or just a funny turn of fate? Who knows? But claiming you’re certain in either direction can be worthwhile.
This can also help you become a much better person to be around. For instance, you may be completely atheist in your beliefs, but that doesn’t mean you can shame or pretend you’re better than someone who does live their life with faith. In fact, in a recent Joe Rogan podcast episode, Brian Greene, a famed string theorist and physicist, suggested that keeping an open mind in both fields of understanding is always worthwhile.
It Helps Us Honor Our Personal Sentiments
Superstition is not always a form of wishing something unknowable is real. Sometimes, it can help us relate to our personal sentiments all the more. This is where many people practice superstition without always being aware of it. For instance, if playing the lottery, choosing the numbers that correspond to the birth of your children is a meaning that holds some important for you, and it’s through measures like this that we can find those who care for superstition even in the smallest way.
This is also found in how people behave when coping with the loss of a loved one. For instance, visiting a grave to lay flowers and pay their respects, it’s not uncommon for people to speak to the grave as if conversing with their loved one, telling them how much they are missed or even just talking through certain aspects of life. Does this mean they are being silly? Of course not. They know they’re not speaking to anyone, but it comforts them to have that superstition and comfort, in finding a place to privately speak to their loved one or express feelings towards them.
To once again use the sports example, someone may decide to wear the shirt of their favorite team on game day, or sit in a certain place on the sofa, or drink a lucky beer in order to ensure the team is cared for. Luck in sports is often felt of this way. But it’s not just sports. Lucky colours have been a societal consideration for so long, in so many countries. You yourself likely know what your lucky colour is, or what lucky number you hold close to your heart. It’s the belief that these choices demonstrate that can be so powerful, and to that end, our personal sentiments are honored.
You May Build Strength
Building strength through superstition is also a daily occurrence. For instance, if in a tight spot, it’s not uncommon for even the most rational atheist to ask a higher power to get them through things. This is especially true if in a very vulnerable position. Those going through the withdrawals when cutting themselves off from an addiction will often turn to some form of faith, no matter what that is, to help them get through things.
To use our prior example of a lost loved one, it’s quite common for people to believe that their lost parent is watching over them during a hard time in life, and this gives them the strength to carry on. We must never dismiss these calls for personal resilience as simply silly effects of a mind not thinking clearly enough. After all, who are we to judge these appeals to something greater, or to dismiss the beliefs held in sincerity?
Processing External Circumstances
The world can be a tough place to live in, and thus it’s often the case that many people use stories and tales to help themselves process circumstances in their lives. We often learn this as children. If our beloved family pet passes away due to old age, we are often told that they’re now in doggy heaven. The parents know that this is unlikely to be true, but it gives the child something to focus on and take comfort in despite the sadness of the present situation.
As adults, we can use these considerations all the time. Believe it or not, but Gordon Ramsay was on track to become a professional footballer until an injury prevented his progress. He decided that instead of getting bitter, he wanted to believe in his future self and the fact that he could overcome this heavy life knock to try something new and get better. He now holds three Michelin stars and owns some of the most prestigious restaurants in the world. Without superstition and belief in an outcome greater than himself, he may have let the crushing first issues get to him and prevent him from ever becoming who he is. Therefore, it’s not hard to see in what circumstances superstition may aid us, even if that is found solely through trusting your intuition.
Are you superstitious? If not, did this post make any sense to you? Would love to have your views.