What Is Superstition?

Superstitions are a global phenomenon, despite seeming illogical. Take, for example, the superstitions linking black cats with bad luck or Friday the 13th with universal misfortune. You can put these beliefs to the test, but you’ll find that they are not based on reality.

Still, superstitions persist in our cultures. This endurance suggests that they have benefited people’s lives over millennia.

Superstitions aren’t about forecasting events, as some might think. They act as reminders for us to pause and ponder the potential results of our actions.

In our daily lives, when doing routine tasks like grocery shopping or job hunting, we usually operate on “autopilot,” guided by our subconscious.

This subconscious autopilot works well until something unexpected happens. That’s when superstitions step in. They serve as triggers, pushing us to stop, switch off our autopilot, and think about what might happen next.

While most people don’t live their lives based on superstitions, they remember and share them. These rituals help align our conscious and subconscious minds, regardless of the trigger, be it a black cat, a broken mirror, or an unexpected spider in the sink.

You can even establish personal triggers. For example, before a long drive, I make the sign of the cross three times. I physically do this when alone, but if there are passengers, I do it mentally to avoid having to explain myself.

This small ritual tells my subconscious to stay alert and not completely depend on autopilot. If a dangerous situation occurs on the road, my subconscious, responding faster than my conscious mind, can help avoid an accident.

There’s no logical connection between my ritual and the road. However, this ritual links to my state of mind. It brings calmness, resulting in quicker reactions, increased confidence on the road, and a better prediction of my actions and those of other drivers.

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