I believe this is an interesting question since superstition borders with many mental issues such as phobias; fear of the dark, of elevators, of heights. Phobias have already been discussed here, and I must admit I suffer from some of those, like fear of great heights...
How would you differentiate for example fear of black cats, of thenumber 13, walking under a ladder or not stepping on cracks on the sidewalk with other irrational fears like fear of airplanes, of being on a boat of being in the dark or fear of crowds?
Of course, the first ones I mentionned belong to the realm of superstition beliefs, but one versus the other, in my mind, the line is kind of blurred. I'd say with certainty that I'm not superstitious, but if I was wrong ?
Do sun and moon eclipses hold a significance other than the scientific one for everybody, I would not believe so... and then we get into the realm of witches...
In western culture, all through history, witches have had a bad reputation and lots of negative connotations attached to them, even if some were merely healers or abortionists. (though, these days I believe they have become fashionable).
And witches, in some cultures, or in some regions (such as in Africa) or at some point in history were highly regarded (almost like the jester in court). These belief systems as the one with superstition can be easily equated to some form of religion. Anyway, I'd be very curious to have some feed-back on this and get more enlightened. I haven't done my google study yet !!! but will do...
Oh yeah! Murphy's Law is a real pet peeve of mine. This malevolent force that targets your particular endeavors.... almost at par with benevolent Mother Nature in the realm of magical thinking.
Well, good/bad luck is certainly not a force acting upon events that we can make predictions about.
But it's an arguably valid attempt to make sense a posteriori of a given juncture where lots of uncontrollable factors come into play. As long as you don't believe in "Lady Luck..."
Sometimes good luck is perseverance more than anything else.
Maybe I'm more superstitious than I thought; I think luck kind of exists... and also, I would say it's your karma (though, karma, fate is one has made it upon himself)..... and I keep saying good luck !
Here is a book about the subject matter
Dave Webster teaches Religion, Philosophy & Ethics at the University of Gloucestershire. Dr. Webster has worked for various Universities, and has studied Philosophy, Hinduism, and Buddhist thought at Sunderland Polytechnic (and later when it was a University) and at Newcastle University. In addition to scholarly works on Buddhism and desire, the nature of belief, and other topics in Buddhist studies and the Philosophy of Religion, David has also written about the blues, anddeath in religions. Dave blogs at http://dispirited.org.
What inspired you to write Dispirited?
The opening line of the book has raised some eyebrows, and some friends felt it ought to go, but it really seemed to capture the emotional motivation for this project:
When someone tells me that they are “Not religious, but very spiritual,” I want to punch them in the face.
Of course, I go on to note that I resist such temptations—for reasons of ethics and cowardice. However, this annoyance was something I wanted to investigate. Why did it wind me up so much?
Very interesting book. I have the same reaction when someone tells me they are very spiritual. I know this is a person I do not want to waste any time talking to, because chances are, this person is going to be very shallow, thoughtless and self-centered.
The book talks about "spiritual" people who care about reiki, crystals, reincarnation, and other woo; not spiritual as believing in a higher power. I still stand by my comment, I think it would apply to people who are constantly referring to how "spiritual" they are. If I had known you back then, I'm afraid I would have misjudged you and miss the opportunity to know you. Sad but it's the honest truth :-( But for every Keely I would have missed, I would have saved myself from over a thousand totally self-centered woo-lovers who never make it to realityville :-) So statistically, it all works out. LOLZ!!!!
Clinging to the last shreds of magic - usually hope for a supernatural afterlife - is a very uncomfortable position =)
Yes, but Keely actually put in the work, the effort, the thought to investigate into the woo and figure out it's woo. Many people are very lazy and never bother to do that. They are comfortable in their woo, and they usually get very angry if you question their beliefs.
From the interview with the author: (this is mostly why I totally agreed with the author, I feel the same irritation)
Thinking about my aggressive grumpiness led me to read lots of new-age and mind-body-spirit catalogues. This didn’t help. In many ways I became more and more annoyed by some of the materials and adverts that I encountered. However, I was convinced that these cultural phenomena were worthy of critical investigation.
My annoyance really peaked when I read through these catalogues, and saw that the endless sessions advertised in them all seemed to sit happily side-by-side. Yet if you literally believed the metaphysical and empirical claims they made and implied, they were more often than not logically incompatible. There seemed to be an illogical almost anti-rational and extreme open-mindedness. No claim, no matter how preposterous or unfeasible, seemed to be unacceptable—and to question the claims was seen as either spiritually naïve or as being locked into some kind of pro-conflict, old-religion mindset of harsh exclusivism. For me, when looking at particular new-age material this ‘everyone is right, all paths are valid’ approach was not only untenable and intellectually insulting, it all too often edged into smugness.
So I complained. I moaned to my friends. It’s usually only in conversation that you can see where an idea might lead, so in many ways this book was born in the beer gardens of Cheltenham pubs. And from my friends telling me to shut up and write it down if it bothered me that much.
I always believed spirituality was kind of searching for a higher truth or some kind of "buddhism" state of elevation. At some point, I realized it was a popular word in some "milieu" or for some kind of crowds looking for something else aside religion or magic; thinking it was like an inner peace state of their being (mind). Now I know that it is only a word that is trendy and has no real meaningful sense.
I think the term spirituality means different things for different people. I think for some it does mean trying to find inner peace and a better way of living. For some, it means the opposite of "materialistic", like caring for other people more than for possessions, etc., but unfortunately I think it is overused by the woo peddlers and it became a crutch for superficial people who do not want to put in the effort to research their beliefs and adopt them simply because it is convenient and or/trendy. This is the reason why I do not like the word and never use it.
My own peeve with the word is the root "spirit".
As if human consciousness was something special, magical or immaterial. As if reflecting on one's place in the scheme of things was a "superior" activity. As if there was some permanent "perfect" state of mind to be achieved.
At best the word spirituality is misleading, at worst it is fraudulent.
I use alternates: inner life, reflection and lucidity.