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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 07-Jun-06

 


Wednesday 07-June-06

Demons and superstitions

Yesterday was the sixth day of the sixth month of the sixth year, 6/6/6, and people across the world walked in fear of demons, satanic perversion and worse. As it was, the day came and the day went and I don't know of anyone who got swallowed up by a hell-hole or saw any red-eyed monsters. The media had a field day, of course, with stories ranging from rational histories to creepy stories to concerned theologians.

Whilst most people regard such superstition with mild concern at best, there are others who take it all very seriously, and on both sides of the house. No doubt there were in various places, both Christians praying for the world and Satanists, doing whatever they do.

The irrational beliefs of superstition leads us to do all kinds of things, mostly harmless, sometimes interruptive and occasionally harmful. Where superstition leads to self-harm, then it becomes bad news, and when it leads to harm of others, then it becomes criminal. Whilst those who practice the 'dark arts' may believe in them and do no real harm, then only moral concern is harmed. When it leads to corruption of lives or worse, then it is bad news indeed.

Back to 'normal' superstition. I generally respect the superstitions of others as long as they are not harmful (to break them would do psychological harm to them). Sometimes, just for fun, I break my own, like walking under ladders and jumping over black cats.

My son has his last high-school exams of the year tomorrow. Wishing luck is sometimes thought unlucky, so instead I told him to break a leg. Strange, but that is supposed to be lucky. Alternatives to saying things you shouldn't say are used as a way around problematic verbal superstitions. Actors, for example, talk about 'The Scottish Play' rather than 'Macbeth'.

Of course, someone had to point out that at six minutes and six seconds past six o'clock on the sixth day of the sixth month of the sixth year, you had six sixes, which actually then makes seven sixes, which is forty-two, which as all aficionados of Douglas Adams know, is the secret of life, the universe, and everything. Hmm.


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