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Why do Indians still believe in superstitious beliefs and rituals?

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prasad1

Gold Member
Gold Member
There are multiple threads in this forum, and I am sure in all Indian chat sites, we are highly superstitious people.

To understand the prevalence of superstition and rituals in the society, one must go back to the early Vedic age to understand the institution of religion and its evolution in India. Back then, rituals were (known and acknowledged to be) the means of employment for priests. Undue importance was placed on the priest class. The priest class further stoked this feeling with citing the need for more and more importance to rituals to live a happy life. Soon, everyone forgot that superstition and rituals were merely an economic activity for the priests, because it was convenient to think that there was a way to contact or control the super natural.

Very little has changed since, in the private lives of Indians. We still stick to the "safety" of rituals and superstition. Very few superstitious beliefs are founded in more than nonsensical foundation. But we, as enlightened people, are going to hold on to those practices because they're our insurance scheme, and are confidence boosters.

This is not characteristic of Indians alone, as pointed out in other answers here. It's human nature to be stupid. It's also human nature to feed off stupidity.

Sneha Divakaran, Indian
The spread and quality of Education has a huge role to play in eradicating superstition. Indian culture of acquiring knowledge is mostly memorizing text with little emphasis on the meaning. This process is encouraged in every facet of life. Questioning is discouraged. As a result India has failed to produce a single Nobel Laureate in science for more than 80 years. Not a single technology institute listed in the top 500 in Shanghai Ranking. Very little interest among students in core science subjects and research.

Science is not part of Indian culture, we are a spiritual nation with religious people earning 1000 times more than a scientist at TIFR.

People do not have the tools of logic and common sense to distinguish between fact and opinion, between myth and history.

Nishad Kaippally
, Saving the world from stupidity, one idiot at a time.

Possible reasons could be:
1. We live with our older generations. Even though we aren't prepared to believe it, some people doesn't want to take risk by ignoring them. It's all just a belief. What will happen if we don't follow this? Will it go bad? So many questions will pop up in our mind, thereby ends up believing it partially.
2. Elders at home will have 1001 examples to say things which went wrong when they failed to follow some rituals.
3. Some of the beliefs do have some scientific theory behind it.
4. It's just not about Indians. People across the world have some kind of superstitious beliefs.
5. We constantly keep looking for certain things like why it happened and how it happened?. We are in need of an explanation for an action. We blame our luck if things take a different direction. Luck is also a kind of superstition.
Swapna De
https://www.quora.com/Why-do-Indians-still-believe-in-superstitious-beliefs-and-rituals
 
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prasad1

prasad1

Gold Member
Gold Member
I know there is superstition all around the world. I also know that educated people do practice some superstitions, including the belief in Brahman (Guilty as charged).
But I think it is much more common in India, to the extent that it controls (ruins) their life.
 

GANESH65

Well-known member
The spread and quality of Education has a huge role to play in eradicating superstition. Indian culture of acquiring knowledge is mostly memorizing text with little emphasis on the meaning. This process is encouraged in every facet of life. Questioning is discouraged. As a result India has failed to produce a single Nobel Laureate in science for more than 80 years. Not a single technology institute listed in the top 500 in Shanghai Ranking. Very little interest among students in core science subjects and research.

In case that being the truth, How could India became one of the handful of nations that reached Mars that too with a highly economic technology than the so called developed nations use?
How could India became the most sort after destination for satellite launch by most of the developed nations?
How could India stand tall with own missile and other defense development technologies?
How could it be possible for India to have access to nuclear technology?

The following were Indian contributions to the world of Science at such a time when most of the present developed could even start thinking about1) Atomism

The earliest mention of the concept of the atom dates back to India. A couple of popular schools of thought dating back to the 6th century BC developed theories about how atoms combined to form more complex objects. References to atoms in the West emerged about a century later.
2) Zero

Zero was recognized as a number and not merely a symbol of separation amongst all other numbers in India. Basic calculations – including multiplications and divisions were already carried out considering zero as any other number from the 9th century AD.
3) Trigonometric functions

The functions of sine and cosine can be traced back to India. Although the study of trigonometry can be dated back to the ancient times, there is evidence that these two values were being used in the 5th century AD.
4) Modern decimal system

What we use as the modern decimal system was compiled in its entirety in India. Although other cultures had introduced some features of the numeric system beforehand, it was completed in India by the 9th century AD.
5) Chandrasekhar Limit

Indian Nobel Prize-winning physicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar discovered the calculation used to determine the future of what would happen to a dying star. If the star’s mass is less than the Chandrasekhar Limit it will shrink to become a white dwarf, and if it is great the star will explode, becoming a supernova. science.


 

GANESH65

Well-known member
5 Most Prominent People Of Indian Origin Working At NASA

NASA is the world’s most prominent space agency and a great place to work. Indians are always supposed to have high curiosity and very hard workers. True to this, many Indian origin scientists are currently working at NASA for accomplishing scientific discoveries in the space.Here’s a list of Indian’s who’ve worked at NASA, let’s find about them:5. Sharmila Bhattacharya

Sharmila was born in Lagos, Nigeria and currently heads the Biomodel performance and behavior laboratory at NASA Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. She is a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Princeton University. Earlier in her career, she was a payload scientist at Lockheed Martin (a defense company of US). Sharmila’s dream of becoming a scientist at NASA was fueled by her father. Bhattacharya is truly an inspiration for all young girls who believe in chasing their dream and doing hard work.
Sharmila-Bhattacharya.jpg
4. Dr. Kamlesh Lulla

Kamlesh started his career with NASA at JSC (Johnson Space Center) in the year 1998. He holds two PhDs and is an expert in the field of Earth and Space sciences at NASA. Dr. Lulla is an internationally acclaimed chief scientist and honored by the US government for his 25 years of service in NASA. He has authored more than 200 scientific papers and also co-authored a book titled ‘Wings In Orbit’. This book comprises of innovations made in last 30 years at NASA. He is also a recipient of NASA’s highest honor named as Exceptional Achievement Medal in 2005 and the 2012 Ellison Onizuka Award. At present, Dr. Kamlesh is serving NASA as the director of the University Research, Collaboration and Partnership office at JSC, Houston, Texas (US).
Dr-Kamlesh-Lulla.jpg
3. Ashwin R. Vasavada

Ashwin is a Tamil Brahmin who bagged NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal in 2013. His research interests include geological study of Mars and study of polar volatiles on Moon and the Mercury. Currently, he is a Senior Scientist at JPL CA 91109. He is also an important member of space agency’s most ambitious project mission – ‘Mars Curiosity Rover’. Ashwin holds a Ph.D. in planetary science from California Institute of Technology (1998).
Ashwin-R.-Vasavada.jpg
2. Dr. Meyya Meyyappan

Dr. Meyya Meyyappan is one of the recipients of prestigious IEEE Pioneer Award in Nanotechnology. He was awarded for his cutting edge contribution in the area of ‘carbon nanotube application development in the year 2011. He belongs to a Tamil Brahmin family. He is currently chief scientist for Exploration Technology at the center for Nanotechnology, NASA Ames Research center in Moffett Field, CA 94035. He has published some material on the research topic such as ‘Nanoenabled Sensors for Security, Biomedical and Industrial Applications’ (NACNT).
Dr.-Meyya-MEYYAPPAN-1.jpg
1. Anita Sengupta

Anita Sengupta is an aerospace engineer and currently working at NASA’s jet propulsion laboratory (JPL) in Greater Los Angeles area as a project manager. The expert NASA engineer contributed in designing parachute for ‘Curiosity rover’ which landed successfully on Mars Surface. In her younger days she was fascinated by science fiction and also loves motorcycle riding. As youth mentor, she delivered a lecture on Mars exploration at Nehru Centre, Mumbai on August 11, 2013. Nowadays, she is working on an ultra –cold quantum gas experiment that is scheduled to be launched into the ISS (International Space Station) in 2016. Her career highlight was the successful landing of rover on Red planet and she thinks that ‘Man can set foot on Mars one day’.



 

GANESH65

Well-known member
The fact that Indians are also superstitious is not denied. But that cannot deny our rightful place in the world of science and technology..
 

renuka

Gold Member
Gold Member
5 Most Prominent People Of Indian Origin Working At NASA

NASA is the world’s most prominent space agency and a great place to work. Indians are always supposed to have high curiosity and very hard workers. True to this, many Indian origin scientists are currently working at NASA for accomplishing scientific discoveries in the space.Here’s a list of Indian’s who’ve worked at NASA, let’s find about them:5. Sharmila Bhattacharya

Sharmila was born in Lagos, Nigeria and currently heads the Biomodel performance and behavior laboratory at NASA Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. She is a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Princeton University. Earlier in her career, she was a payload scientist at Lockheed Martin (a defense company of US). Sharmila’s dream of becoming a scientist at NASA was fueled by her father. Bhattacharya is truly an inspiration for all young girls who believe in chasing their dream and doing hard work.
Sharmila-Bhattacharya.jpg
4. Dr. Kamlesh Lulla

Kamlesh started his career with NASA at JSC (Johnson Space Center) in the year 1998. He holds two PhDs and is an expert in the field of Earth and Space sciences at NASA. Dr. Lulla is an internationally acclaimed chief scientist and honored by the US government for his 25 years of service in NASA. He has authored more than 200 scientific papers and also co-authored a book titled ‘Wings In Orbit’. This book comprises of innovations made in last 30 years at NASA. He is also a recipient of NASA’s highest honor named as Exceptional Achievement Medal in 2005 and the 2012 Ellison Onizuka Award. At present, Dr. Kamlesh is serving NASA as the director of the University Research, Collaboration and Partnership office at JSC, Houston, Texas (US).
Dr-Kamlesh-Lulla.jpg
3. Ashwin R. Vasavada

Ashwin is a Tamil Brahmin who bagged NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal in 2013. His research interests include geological study of Mars and study of polar volatiles on Moon and the Mercury. Currently, he is a Senior Scientist at JPL CA 91109. He is also an important member of space agency’s most ambitious project mission – ‘Mars Curiosity Rover’. Ashwin holds a Ph.D. in planetary science from California Institute of Technology (1998).
Ashwin-R.-Vasavada.jpg
2. Dr. Meyya Meyyappan

Dr. Meyya Meyyappan is one of the recipients of prestigious IEEE Pioneer Award in Nanotechnology. He was awarded for his cutting edge contribution in the area of ‘carbon nanotube application development in the year 2011. He belongs to a Tamil Brahmin family. He is currently chief scientist for Exploration Technology at the center for Nanotechnology, NASA Ames Research center in Moffett Field, CA 94035. He has published some material on the research topic such as ‘Nanoenabled Sensors for Security, Biomedical and Industrial Applications’ (NACNT).
Dr.-Meyya-MEYYAPPAN-1.jpg
1. Anita Sengupta

Anita Sengupta is an aerospace engineer and currently working at NASA’s jet propulsion laboratory (JPL) in Greater Los Angeles area as a project manager. The expert NASA engineer contributed in designing parachute for ‘Curiosity rover’ which landed successfully on Mars Surface. In her younger days she was fascinated by science fiction and also loves motorcycle riding. As youth mentor, she delivered a lecture on Mars exploration at Nehru Centre, Mumbai on August 11, 2013. Nowadays, she is working on an ultra –cold quantum gas experiment that is scheduled to be launched into the ISS (International Space Station) in 2016. Her career highlight was the successful landing of rover on Red planet and she thinks that ‘Man can set foot on Mars one day’.





How come for Bhattarchary,Lulla and Sengupta..their community was not mentioned but for the two South Indian males they being from the TB community was mentioned.

Who wrote this article?

Why didn't the writer mention the community Bhattarcharya,Lulla and Sengupta hail from?
 
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tks

Well-known member
Cannot agree with the premise of the opening post.
Each country is unique with its own contributions to the world and its own set of issues.

There are obvious superstitions and there are more sophisticated superstitions. But they are all one and the same.

It is possible to make a detailed list of western superstitions which have had enormous negative effect on the whole world. What is the point in doing it. There is no need to do any comparisons.

Human beings have the capacity to imagine and superstitions reflect that capacity.

India's contributions to the world in the art of thinking objectively is tremendous. For many historical reasons there is poverty and the powerful are exploiting the poor like everywhere else except they use feudal means. All this will change in the next 50 years or so propelling India into a world power.
 

GANESH65

Well-known member
How come for Bhattarchary,Lulla and Sengupta..their community was not mentioned but for the two South Indian males they being from the TB community was mentioned.

Who wrote this article?

Why didn't the writer mention the community Bhattarcharya,Lulla and Sengupta hail from?

Good observation, Renuka. Even I didn't notice that at the time of posting.. This article is available on this link "topyaps.com/5-prominent-people-indian-origin-working-nasa" There are some links where the names of these two scientists appear all of them surprisingly carry the same remark..
 
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krish44

Gold Member
Gold Member
Only tamil brahmins are proud of their caste identity.They would like to wear caste on their sleeves.

Also Brahmins smell another brahmin in near vicinity.lol

TBs these days are not bothered about science or fundamental research.

They have gone commercial.

More interested in becoming top guns in google and other IT companies offering a lot of moola.
 
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V

V.Balasubramani

Guest


Only tamil brahmins are proud of their caste identity.They would like to wear caste on their sleeves.

I strongly condemn such statements.

What is the thread talks about......?

I think it is about Indians, repeat Indians belief on superstitions.

Why drag Tamil Brahmins here....?

Can't one post anything without touching the Tamil Brahmins....?

If that is case, open a separate thread on Tamil Brahmins belief on superstitions and write to heart's content.

Pouring out grumblings has become passion for few.

While there are lot of achievements by the individuals, few talk only about negative things.

What can be expected from a naysayer?

Such droppings of pearls of wisdom by few will certainly derail the thread.
 
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Science is not discouraged by the student because they do not have interest.They think that they can not good pay. But this is not true at all. People who are really good at one specific interest really shine rather than all concentrating and going into Engineering,IT.Since these two fields have become saturated due to volume and lack of good talents. The way to overcome is more career advising professionals who can tell about various branches and avenues which are also very good pay masters and giving a better, long term career for the prosperity of career oriented professionals who can really take interest in other avenues also instead of concentrating their goal on only on Engineering, Medicine and Chartered Accountancy.
 
V

V.Balasubramani

Guest
Some of the alleged rational thinking torch bearers of this Forum may be surprised to found that one in four Americans are considered to be superstitious.

While this being the case, we have this thread questioning why Indians still believe in superstitious belief and rituals.

To start with, I just read an article which I would like to share with members which says among other things that one in four Americans believe to be superstitious.

The thread opener is requested to go through this article and come out with his explanation as to why Americans do believe in such superstitious beliefs….?

It is human nature that some of the rational minds cannot ignore superstitions….

But some come here with a rational mask and try to make others believe that have strong ratinal thoughts.

Here is the article..

Now the question is why Americns believe
superstitious beliefs and rituals?

America’s Top Superstitions — And Where They Come From

If you knock on wood when you say something presumptuous or freak out when you see a broken mirror, you’re not alone — Americans are still very superstitious. Here’s why.

They may seem old-fashioned, but superstitions are still alive and well, according to a new survey. Crowdsourcing website Ranker.com polled 18,000 people on the superstitions they believe in and found that, as a whole, people are still very superstitious.

Here are the top 10 most widely believed superstitions, per the survey:
1. Knocking on wood
2. Wishing on a star
3. Breaking a mirror
4. Four-leaf clover
5. Bad news comes in threes
6. Don’t open an umbrella inside
7. Lucky penny
8. Beginner’s luck
9. Saying “bless you” when someone sneezes
10. Wishing on a wishbone

The top superstitions also varied by age and gender: Women ranked tossing salt over your left shoulder after you spill it as one of their top superstitions, while men and millennials said wishing on a star was theirs. People from Generation X and baby boomers said the lucky penny (getting good luck after you find a heads-up penny) was their No.1 superstitious belief.

Read more at: https://in.news.yahoo.com/whats-behind-these-common-superstitions-174203195.html

Before discussing with the why Indians still believe in supersititious beliefs, why not discuss about Americns belief in such superititions...??

So, first step should be to clean one’s own home as the belief is that if we clean our home then our society will automatically clean,
 
V

V.Balasubramani

Guest
Each country is unique with its own contributions to the world and its own set of issues.


You are right Sir

Here I would like to share few superstitions of chinese:

[h=1]15 Top Chinese Superstitions[/h]China is a land of many popular beliefs, customs and superstitions. This is all part of the Chinese life. These beliefs and customs may be termed as superstitions. They may have their own merits and demerits. But they form part of the quintessence of the life in this Oriental nation. In today’s world of growing globalization and the emergence of China and Asia generally as the main economic growth region, there is heavy traffic of people form other parts of the world to China and Asia. A basic understanding of the popular Chinese superstitions, customs, and beliefs will make it easy for appreciating the socia life of China and easily acclimatize with the land. The following are the main superstitions and beliefs in the Chinese world.

(1) If one hits another person with a broom, the hitter will get bad luck and he will ruin his life.

(2) The Chinese believe that one should keep a well-shaven face. If one wears a moustache it should be well-trimmed. If one violates this norm it will give bad luck.

(3) Another Chinese superstition is that if a dog howls for a few hours in late night, it means someone died somewhere.

Read more at: https://popculture.knoji.com/15-top-chinese-superstitions/
 
V

V.Balasubramani

Guest
How come for Bhattarchary,Lulla and Sengupta..their community was not mentioned but for the two South Indian males they being from the TB community was mentioned.

Doctor Mam,

In such an article, while most look into the message of achievement it conveys, you have gone bit deep and question the author for mention and omitting of community.

What is that we are going to achieve by discussing about this point anyway?

Is it such an important issue really to be discussed about mention and omitting of community of achievers ...etc etc in a public Forum like this.

Why give importance to insignificant issues?

Why not give importance to achievement of individuals?

Why not we try to see things beyond community, caste, creed, etc ?
 
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prasad1

prasad1

Gold Member
Gold Member
I think some of the people posting here did not read the post#2.
Most of the Indians winning world recognition are employed overseas.
Without doubt Indians are smart. But they are bogged down by superstitions when they are in India. Even in the movie about Ramanujam, that point comes out.

Indians shine only when they break the barriers imposed on them in India.
If a harmless superstition is used as an Insurance, it may not hinder the progress. For Instance if you cary an umbrella on a sunny day, it may protect you during unexpected shower, but if you are so scared of shower that you refuse to leave the house then it will ruin your life.

Not all superstitions are same. Some are quirks, but they do not control your life.
 
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prasad1

prasad1

Gold Member
Gold Member
If you're like most people, you occasionally participate in superstitious thinking or behavior often without even realizing you're doing it. Just think: When was the last time you knocked on wood, walked within the lines, avoided a black cat, or read your daily horoscope? These are all examples of superstitions or what Stuart Vyse, PhD, and the author of Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition, calls magical thinking.
More than half of Americans admitted to being at least a little superstitious, according to a recent Gallup poll. Additionally, beliefs in witches, ghosts and haunted houses -- all popular Halloween symbols -- have increased over the past decade. But just what is the psychology behind our magical thinking, and is it hurting or helping us? When does superstitious thinking go too far? Was Stevie Wonder right: When you believe in things that you don't understand, do you suffer?
[h=3]Superstition, Ritual, or Anxiety?[/h] In our quest to understand superstitions, let's start by defining them. After all, not all rituals or beliefs are superstitions. "The dividing line is whether you give some kind of magical significance to the ritual," Vyse tells WebMD.




For example, if an athlete develops a ritual before a game, something Vyse says many coaches encourage, it may help to calm and focus him or her like repeating a mantra. "That's not superstitious," says Vyse. On the other hand, he says if you think tapping the ball a certain number of times makes you win the game, you've entered superstitious territory.
You might be wondering if certain superstitious behaviors -- such as like counting the number of times you tap a ball -- are really a sign of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). People with OCD often have compulsions to do rituals over and over again, often interfering with everyday life. A good example is Jack Nicholson's character in the movie As Good As It Gets, who skips cracks in the sidewalk and eats at the same table in the same restaurant every day, with an inability to cope with any change in routine. While some of the symptoms of OCD can mimic superstitious behavior (and the two aren't mutually exclusive) Vyse says most of the evidence would indicate there is no connection between the two.

http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/psychology-of-superstition
 
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prasad1

prasad1

Gold Member
Gold Member
[h=3]Superstition, Ritual, or Anxiety? continued...[/h]
"We don't think of anxiety disorders [such as OCD] as superstitious thinking. We think of it as irrational thinking, and most of our patients understand that," says Paul Foxman, PhD, an anxiety expert from Burlington, Vt. "But I do have patients that tell me that they believe that if they don't worry about something, then the likelihood of it happening will go up, and that is a superstitious thought," he says.
The key is to pay attention to your own thinking, particularly if you experience any symptoms of anxiety -- tension, excessive worry, trouble sleeping, obsessive thoughts and exhaustion, for example. If you experience these symptoms or find that you have repetitive ritualized behavior that's out of control -- superstitious or not -- get professional help from a doctor or therapist.

Driving Forces

Wanting more control or certainty is the driving force behind most superstitions. We tend to look for some kind of a rule, or an explanation for why things happen. "Sometimes the creation of a false certainty is better than no certainty at all, and that is what much of the research suggests," says Vyse.
Job interviews, testing, and other situations where we want things to go well -- regardless of our own preparation or performance -- can spur superstitious thoughts. "We are often in situations in life where something really important is about to happen, we've prepared for it as best we can, but it's still uncertain; it's still unclear," Vyse says. No matter how confident or prepared you are for an event -- whether it's a football game, a wedding, or a presentation -- things can still happen beyond your control. "Superstitions provide people with the sense that they've done one more thing to try to ensure the outcome they are looking for."

[h=3]Friend or Foe?[/h]A sense of security and confidence are perhaps the greatest benefits we get emotionally from superstitious thinking or behavior -- like carrying an object or wearing an item of clothing that you deem to be lucky.

Foxman says there is a positive placebo effect -- if you think something will help you, it may do just that. "There is a tremendous amount of power in belief," he says. If the outcome is a matter of pure luck, beliefs don't really have any impact, however, when your performance is a key factor in an outcome, superstitious thinking might give you an extra boost.
 
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prasad1

prasad1

Gold Member
Gold Member
[h=3]Friend or Foe? continued...[/h]
"There can be a real psychological effect of superstitious thoughts," says Vyse. If you've done well before when you had a particular shirt on, for example, it might prove wise to wear the shirt again, if it helps to relieve anxiety and promotes positive thoughts. But this way of thinking can also hinder your performance, if say, you lose your lucky object.
It's not news that expectations can be extremely powerful and suggestive. Studies regularly point to placebo effects (both positive and negative), which are entirely caused by the power of expectations or preconceptions. Yet superstitions can also play a negative role in our lives, especially when combined with a bad habit such as gambling. If you're a compulsive gambler who believes that you can get lucky, then that belief may contribute to your problem.
Phobic (fearful) superstitions can also interfere with our lives, and cause a lot of anxiety, says Vyse. For example, people who are afraid of Friday the 13th might change travel arrangements or skip an appointment because of unnecessary anxiety. These types of superstitions offer no benefit at all.
[h=3]And the Award for Most Superstitious Goes to ...[/h] Being superstitious is something we often learn as children, and according to the Gallup poll, older folks are less likely to believe in superstitions.




Generally speaking, women are more superstitious than men, Vyse says. When was the last time you saw an astrology column in a men's magazine? Women may also experience more anxiety, or at least, more women than men seek help for anxiety problems. Although personality variables are not a strong factor in developing superstition, there is some evidence that if you are more anxious than the average person you're slightly more likely to be superstitious.
Vyse says our locus of control can also be a factor contributing to whether or not we are superstitious. If you have an internal locus of control, you believe that you are in charge of everything; you are the master of your fate and you can make things happen. If you have an external locus of control, "you're sort of buffeted by life, and things happen to you instead of the other way around," Vyse tells WebMD. People with external locus of control are more likely to be superstitious, possibly as a way of getting more power over their lives. "Part of the reason why women are more superstitious than men is that women feel, even in today's modern society, that they have less control over their fate than men do."
Intelligence seems to have little to do with whether or not we subscribe to superstitions. Vyse says that on the Harvard campus -- where one would assume there are a lot of intelligent people -- students frequently rub the foot of the statue of John Harvard for good luck. In a sense, a superstition, like other rituals, can become part of a campus, community or culture, and can help bring people together. "Most of the superstitions people engage in are perfectly fine, and are not pathological," says Vyse. Now that's good news, and it's just in time for Halloween.

http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/psychology-of-superstition?page=3
 
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prasad1

prasad1

Gold Member
Gold Member
It's not often that a business school professor gets to quote from a legend in the world of funk music, so let me begin with a few words from Stevie Wonder:

When you believe in things that you don't understand,
Then you suffer.
Superstition ain't the way

Three lines from the 1972 hit Superstition sum up a common issue in many cultures. No matter how advanced and rational we might like to think we are, superstition is a practice that remains widespread and has an impact – often detrimental – on our economic lives.

Studies have shown, for example, that many people behave more cautiously when making financial decisions on Friday 13th than on any other day of the month. Likewise many commercial and residential tower blocks in the US and other countries around the world don't have a 13th floor. Those that do, may find they have to offer special discounts to entice tenants.

And in many countries horoscopes remain a popular feature of newspapers, guiding readers and frequently focusing on the optimal times to make or avoid key financial decisions and transactions.

So do we "suffer" - as Stevie Wonder suggests - financially and economically speaking, as a result of superstition?

Even in countries ranked as highly educated, superstitious practices persist when logic suggests that more rational behaviour brought about by education means they should be swept aside.

In Singapore for example, ranked among the most highly educated societies in the world, the numbers 8 and 4 still carry particular significance for many in the majority Chinese community.



In Chinese culture eight is traditionally believed to be lucky as it sounds similar to "prosperity", while four – sounding like the word for "death" – is believed to be unlucky.

The Beijing Olympics was a prominent example of this, with the opening ceremony timed to kick off and at precisely 8:08pm on the eighth day of the eighth month, 2008.

While superstitions such as this might be seen at face value to be harmless quirks, when they impact consumer decisions they produce a cost.

Taken cumulatively, those costs can then impact on national development and welfare.

Why then does superstition persist in advanced economies and even among educated people?



While superstitions might be seen at face value to be harmless quirks, when they impact consumer decisions they produce a cost.




http://thinkbusiness.nus.edu/articles/item/251-the-impact-of-superstition-writing-on-the-wall
 
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