The Origin and Purpose of Superstitions

Topics: Culture, Human, Superstition Pages: 3 (1201 words) Published: May 18, 2006
The origin and purpose of superstitions

Superstitions are part of every modern culture in today's world. They help us overcome issues difficult to understand and aid us in transitional years, often telling us what is ethically writ and wrong.

I say modern culture because I regard superstitions as elements of "earlier versions of our culture". Every culture has an evolution of its own, and as we advance in science, technology, art and humanity in general, our culture evolves and changes. What we have is an ever-changing culture that constantly adopts new elements, beliefs and gets rid of old. This ongoing change is the birthplace of superstitions. Something that was a normal every day ritual for your grandma sixty years ago, just doesn't fit into today's picture, but she keeps on repeating it, and before you know it you accept it as an old superstition and begin to practice it. It is like they are caught between the past and the present belonging to neither one of the two.

Superstitions have a life of their own… they summarize elements from thousands of years of cultural evolution. Let us examine some of the most common superstitions like spilling salt or opening an umbrella in an enclosed area. Both of these, like most of the superstitions in the western world, imply luck, will, spirits and other paranormal magical issues. This is a remnant of Europe's old pagan, shaman and other occult religions. Even after 1500 years of Christianity, which strictly denies the existence of any kind of luck, the people of Europe haven't gotten rid of their favorite beliefs. Probably they didn't like the idea of a single god determining their faith, so they kept their amulets and charms to keep off bad spirits and jinxes. In fact, real Christianity and its canonical rules, as they were defined, were never implemented outside of the monastery walls, because it was not that easy to convince the commoners to set aside their paganistic way of life. Now let's go back to the...
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