Chad Everett Harris Why Some People Still Believe in Superstitions
Reasons that Certain Questionable Beliefs Persist in the Modern World
Is it rational to believe an inanimate object such as a horseshoe, four-leaf clover, or rabbit’s foot can bring good luck? Is it rational to believe that breaking a mirror, walking underneath a ladder, or crossing paths with a black cat can bring bad luck? Of course not. Yet, these beliefs (and others much like them) not only persist but are far more commonplace than one might guess.
Take professional sports, for example. There is not a single NFL, NBA, or Major League Baseball game that takes place without at least a few participant players donning a ‘lucky’ piece of apparel or engaging in some pre-game ritual meant to bring about good fortune. This behavior is by no means limited to athletes, either. The truth is, almost everyone knows someone who can be labeled as superstitious. Whether it’s an elderly relative cooking with garlic and paprika to ward off evil spirits, or a friend who refuses to leave the house on Friday the thirteenth, superstition is a phenomenon that permeates all ages, ethnicities, orientations, and creeds. But why, Chad Everett Harris discusses in a world dominated by reason, science, and technology, do such irrational beliefs continue to thrive? What is the nature of superstition, and why does it hold such sway over so many people even now, in the twenty-first century? The answers to these questions lie in human history and psychology.
What is Superstition?
A quick definition of superstition is a belief or practice based on luck, fate, magic, or any supernatural, irrational, or unscientific force. Although the origins of specific superstitions vary widely, more likely than not, most find their roots in the shared, species-wide compulsion in human beings to seek out explanations.
Whereas ancient humans lacked any conception of scientific observation and measurement, they still desired answers to some fundamental questions. Take the weather as an example. Many early societies were primarily agricultural, dependent on rain for a plentiful harvest and fearful of famine caused by drought. But without proper instruments and methods of testing, there was no explanation for what caused rain to fall — only guesswork and theories. Under such circumstances, who’s to say that a theory linking a special dance to rainfall makes no sense? The special dance might be tried, and the next day rain might fall. At that point, an assumption might be made that performing the special dance was the direct cause of the rain and accepted as an iron-clad fact.
Many superstitions, especially the farther back in time they were developed, can be forgiven as mistaken assumptions. These assumptions were then passed down through the generations, instilled in children at an impressionable age, and, it should be noted, unable to be effectively disproven until pretty recently. After all, until the general acceptance of the scientific method about three hundred years ago, how might someone disprove that a special dance doesn’t cause rain to fall?
Why Does Superstition Persist?
The short answer is that superstition is comforting. It scratches a psychological itch in many people. As to precisely why that is, Chad Everett Harris says something of a longer answer is required.
Many superstitions can be chalked up to individuals trying to exert control over uncontrollable situations. If a gambler receives a big payout from a bet at a certain casino table, he may only play at that table from that day forward, deeming it to be good luck. Simultaneously, if that same gambler takes a big loss on a Friday, he may decide to never place a bet on a Friday again. What the psyche of the superstitious individual latches onto is unpredictable. There is no real reasoning behind it, only a kind of faith in the universe being an ordered system… when, of course, in reality, the gambler’s fortunes are tied only to a roll of the dice. So, it could be argued that so long as the psychological need to create order from chaos persists in human beings, so will superstition.
As long as human society has existed, so has superstition. In fact, it’s safe to say that superstition pre-dates all known faiths and civilizations. Its reach is deep and wide. Even those people who purport to be unmoved by superstition may succumb to occasionally crossing their fingers, blessing someone after a sneeze, or knocking on a nearby piece of wood so as to not tempt fate. Superstition continues to exist and thrive in modern society partly because some percentage of the population believes in such things, and partly because it is inextricably linked to all human cultures, past and present. Superstition is a part of us, and it is not going anywhere anytime soon.
Chad Everett Harris is a successful, serial entrepreneur. From an early age, he felt a passion for creating and running businesses. Like many children, his first foray into entrepreneurship was a small, front lawn lemonade stand, but it was enough to ignite a fire of inspiration. By his teenage years, Chad Everett Harris had developed a venture mowing neighborhood lawns into a profitable company, the proceeds from which he used to help his mother pay the family’s bills.
Upon entering the professional world, Chad Everett Harris made a splash with his contributions to the Audubon Park Golf Course, the New Orleans Sculpture Garden, and the Long Vue House & Garden Discovery Garden. As a result of these and other ventures during his thirty years in the green industry, he has accumulated expertise in the fields of construction, retail, and e-commerce. More recently, Chad Everett Harris assisted in the construction of the world’s largest data center in Rockdale, Texas — a one hundred acre facility used to house high-speed computer servers.