ILLUMINATION
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ILLUMINATION

Photo by Wong Xi on Unsplash

Discard Superstition, the Mind Virus and Be Protected From Infection and Disease

It is a question of life and death.

Some of the superstitions seem not to die and disappear from the minds of people. They have deep roots in their minds and activities. Our concern should be with the socially dangerous ones and tackling them.

There are widespread religious, social, and individual superstitions prevalent in this modern world of science and technology. Some are harmless to society and some have dangerous consequences for society.

Religious superstitions such as the belief in the scripture as the actual voice of the only God of each religion are dangerous because they are dogmatic and engender hate and violence against the adherents of other religions. They are believers’ superstitions.

Other social and individual superstitions like a consultation with and reliance on the calculation and divination of the astrologer and treatment of number 13 as unlucky and number 7 or 9 as lucky(for example, a date, a seat in a bus) for starting an activity or project, belief in ESP(Extrasensory Perception)and UFO(Unidentified Flying Objects), breaking of a mirror, black cat, spilling of salt, evil eye, Feng Sui, and so on are mostly harmless to society. They may cause harm to the individuals.

Religious superstitions originated out of fear of the unpredictable, overpowering, and overwhelming forces of nature like rivers, hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, endemics or pandemics, and so on. People experienced powerlessness, helplessness, humility, and awe of the natural forces and created fire gods, river gods, sun gods, etc. with mysterious and supernatural powers. The priests and the religious gurus also created and are creating some of the harmful religious superstitions and have been implanting them into the minds of the people in their self-interest.

All superstitions lack evidence of their effectiveness. When they are tested scientifically, they fail the test. They are irrational beliefs.

Some of the non-religious social superstitions of the modern world have dangerous consequences for human life. They prevail in the developed countries like the USA and Sweden. The vaccine is an example.

Some people in the USA and European countries have irrational beliefs that childhood vaccination causes autism in adults. They have irrationally lost trust in and resist and oppose vaccination for children and adults. They fail to remember that vaccines eliminated scourges like measles, diphtheria, polio, chickenpox, rubella, whooping cough, plague, and so on, made us free from them, and enhanced our lifetime.

A survey has revealed that only 56.5 percent of people surveyed in Sweden believed that the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine was safe. Incidence of measles in the USA declared to be zero in 2000 has re-appeared there with a record of 695 cases by April of 2019 in areas where the inoculation rate was low. Whooping cough attacked 48277 people in the USA in 2012, the highest rate since 1955 because of the low rate of inoculation caused by people’s resistance to the vaccine.

The resistance and opposition to vaccines exist globally under one or the other imaginary fear.

In India, to which I belong, there is a huge resistance to Covid-19 vaccines out of unfounded fear. Most Indians worship thousands of Gods and have thousands of religious, social, and individual weird superstitions.

There are thousands of such superstitions practiced in other countries also.

If more people adopt social superstitions, it will be a portent of social disaster. Their stand reflects a duality that they have chosen science and its products for the ease and enjoyment of their daily life and unwittingly opted for the unscientific path for their mental and physical health.

Paradoxically, loss of trust in vaccines has happened in the developed countries like the USA and European countries. The superstition has destroyed the life-saving trust in vaccines and their creators, the scientists. The people in these countries have devalued the scientists and their great discoveries without any evidence for the devaluation. People’s resistance to Covid-19 inoculation also is widely visible in these countries. They suffer from dangerous superstitions.

Stuart Vyse, an authority on superstitions writes: “ It may seem paradoxical and irrational that superstition should persist in our modern world, but persist it does.”

The only right way

You have to seek evidence for and truth in your belief and let the light of knowledge lead you every day of your life. Without evidence, you shouldn’t believe in others’ statements, stories, and opinions however influential or familiar they may be. Specialist knowledge in the field is and deserves reliance upon it. We have to rely upon the advice of doctors in all cases of infection prevention, infection control, and cure of disease when that stage is reached. Here only medicine has a role to play. Here sticking to superstition may result in infection, disease- and death.

Governments should effectively enforce the Covid vaccination program.

You have every reason to believe in human rational thinking ability. You know the epoch-making victories of science over chronic superstitions.

“Human beings have an innate desire to know, to learn, to grow in understanding- the search for truth is part of who we are.”-The Magic of Humanism (published by the Ethical Society of Saint Louis.)

As Carl Sagan says, “ The method of science is tried and true. It is not perfect, it is just the best we have. And to abandon it, with its skeptical protocols, is the pathway to the dark age.”

Medicine is a science as everyone knows.

Superstition is a belief without any evidence of its effectiveness; it is an irrational belief. Superstition is a belief without evidence. Repeatedly, you have to make yourself aware of it to immunize yourself against the mental virus of superstition. Resistance to Covid-19 vaccination worldwide is one of the social superstitions dangerous for human life.

You shouldn’t fall prey to superstitions, religious, social, or individual. You have to be rational and choose the scientific way of solving social and individual problems. There is no reason or excuse to be in the dark now when you have easy and free access to knowledge. And you have to acquire it to guide you rightly.

It is your ethical duty to do so both in your and social interest.

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Bheemaray.K. Janagond

Writer on rational and humanist outlook on life and personal improvement