Tuesday, June 02, 2009

My Irrationality

We have several superstitions in our community. Some of which I internalized, and still follow stubbornly, despite the scorn and jibes of the rational; the rest I mock for their utter stupidity.

There’s one where, if you’re lying down, and somebody steps over you, they have to step back. Or… well no one is quite sure of the specifics, but some kind of misfortune will be invited in. I follow that a bit halfheartedly, where I ask that the steppers-over step over again, but I don’t push it if they refuse. Its just a preference on my part. I heard a story of a distant cousin who refused to move for an entire day until he was restepped-on, but that’s just ridiculous. I wouldn’t, um, do that. 

Another one, which is more universal, and which I adhere to more strictly is touching wood when I allude to my good fortune, or that of anyone else that I care about.

There’s also a little Arabic prayer that was taught to me, whose meaning I never knew (and most of my very religious family doesn’t either, which is OK because now I almost don’t want to know). But I will swear on anything that saying it puts up a protective shield around me, and it has calmed me in the face of numerous dark nights, would-be ghosts, interviews and dates. 

I learned a Spanish custom that I use quite often. Its very specific. If you hit your elbow hard against something, it is very important that you do not touch it or cry out in pain until you say the following: “If its good let it come, if its bad let it go”. Three times. Then yell out in pain or rub your elbow or whatever. At which point you’ll find that it doesn’t hurt anymore. So it works.

And then there are all the superstitions I mock. Which I’m not going to list, because they seem alarmingly similar to the (rather more numerous than I had previously thought) ones of my own. 

Wishes are strange things. They are perhaps the only reason I believe in the supernatural, the unknowable. Yet so much of Eastern philosophy talks about giving up wishes, desires, fears. Then, what would we be left with?

2 comments:

Strwbrry_Fields said...

The other thing I just don't get is "destiny" and "fate". If you try really hard and don't get something, people say it wasn't in your destiny, or vice versa.. Now if my "destiny is written at birth", then what sort of incentive do I have to get out of bed and be productive at all? If I am to die of a heart attack, no amount of eating healthy should help right? If I am to be filthy rich in 10 years' time, why should I work at all?

Sherebanu said...

Hehe - their usual comeback to this is that you still have to do karma. so, if you still have to do karma, and your fate is otherwise fixed, then why bother thinking about fate at all? i think it is a crutch for the weakminded (like religion - according to Jesse "the body" Ventura)