I do stick a buck in this slot machine every time I pass one in Las Vegas though. I like the kitty cats.

I’m superstitious about absolutely nothing. I’m under no illusions that anything I do regarding salt, mirrors, black cats, ladders or any other form of folkloric witchcraftery will have any bearing on events in this mixed-up, crazy universe of sheer randomness and lunacy.

I do stick a buck in this slot machine every time I pass one in Las Vegas though. I like the kitty cats.

To believe in superstition, one must have a notion that things can be controlled, particularly things which are beyond control. One must be convinced that a solitary human being could change the course of events through ritualized customs. While I do think that individual people are capable of changing the course of history, e.g. Louis Pasteur or Nikola Tesla, those kind of leaps are usually accomplished through hard work and diligence, or through evil scheming and manipulation, à la Bernie Madoff or Adolph Hitler, not through blind luck.

However, most people don’t attempt to accomplish grand scale change with superstition. It usually has a much more localized sphere of influence, i.e. yourself or your family. Most people wish upon a star for love, happiness or a job. Most people throw salt over their shoulder so that they don’t have bad luck. It’s a very personal thing and I’m not about to look down on anyone who believes in superstition. It certainly can’t hurt anything, but personally, I don’t think it will accomplish much, either.

From an empirical standpoint, it’s interesting to think about how these superstitions came into being. Someone, somewhere, at some point in history must have had good luck (or bad luck) by doing these rituals. Word got around and, voilà, superstition is born. What’s intriguing to me is that people rarely question it. They don’t do any sort of scientific study on whether or not these ritual behaviors even work; they just do them anyway.

I learned long ago that the only thing I have control over in this world is myself and my own actions. I am responsible for me, my own behavior and its impact on the world. That’s all there is. It’s liberating in the sense that I have complete control over my own free will. No bad luck can ever affect that.

To me, superstition falls into the same category as mythology. There’s no irrefutable proof, therefore, I don’t believe in it. I believe in science. Prove to me that rituals performed in the name of superstition actually work and I’ll be throwing salt over my shoulder with the rest. Until then, it’s just another fairy tale that humans invented to give us a false impression of having control over a universe in which we have none. Sadly, life is unfair. No amount of rabbit’s feet or lucky charms will change that.

Powered by Plinky