I must pose a question to you this evening for the subject has been on my mind as of late. Are you a superstitious being? Now, do not answer immediately, if you please. I would rather that you turn the idea over in your mind for a bit before responding. For you see, I asked this question of myself and was a bit surprised at my own answer. I asked myself, “Do I, a rational and intelligent being, indulge myself in any superstitious behaviors? My immediate response was, of course, definitely not! I pride myself on taking the logical road when situations, either large or small, present themselves. However, I was forced to take an introspective look at myself since logic does insist upon honesty with one’s self. I must say, I wasn’t entirely pleased with my findings. Now I am not one of those who believes in wearing a lucky shirt or in tossing salt over your shoulder. Nor do I believe that black cats are bad luck. And if my right hand itches, it does not mean that money is coming my way or conversely, if the left hand is so affected, that yet another expense is headed my way. But, I have been known to cross my fingers for luck even though I don’t “believe” it helps. So, why do it at all? Perhaps on some unconscious level, I do subscribe to that superstition. I prefer to believe otherwise. I only cross my fingers because that particular action is so heavily entrenched in society, right?
And, on this matter of superstition I also had to question myself on another issue. How many of us, when we are getting ready to leave the house, will check to see if the stove and other appliances are turned off? We do this even though we know that the appliance is off. But, better to err on this side of caution, right? Of course, this is normal behavior. However, do you ever recheck the iron or the stove before leaving? I hope some of you have. Otherwise, I am alone is this. I have, on occasion checked the front door, making sure it was locked only to go back and check it again before I leave the house. This same action has occurred in checking the stove or the iron. I know it is a foolish thing to do. I mean, it is fairly certain that the dog did not go behind me the first time and plug the iron back in! Yet I do it anyway. I believe this would fall under the category of superstition. I say this because superstition has its base in uncertainty. A prime example of this is the belief in astrology. People are so uncertain of what life will bring their way that they “look to the stars” for guidance. In regards to this, allow me to make mention of an experiment that took place in one of our colleges and then I will close. A professor made copies of a horoscope and handed them out to his students. No one student knew what the other’s said. The professor told them he had these made up for them from a renowned astrologer based upon their month of birth. The students read their “personal” horoscope and every last one of them said, “Yes, that’s me! How accurate!” Imagine their surprise when they found out that not only had they all been given the same horoscope but also that it had been written specifically for Jeffrey Daimler. Wow!! Unbelievable, yes? I suppose what I am trying to convey here is that superstitions are, in a word, foolish. I know this to be true, but still can be charged with this offense. How about you? If you are still unsure, just flip a coin. That’s what I do.
Authored by William J. Thompson, Jr.