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Superstition and Psychology

Psychological Perspectives

 


We might ask if superstition is actually related to psychology. The answer to this question simply requires an understanding that everything a person does, thinks and feels is related to psychology. Psychology is the foundation of human nature and experiences. So, superstition and psychology certainly are related.

Superstitions can be simple or complex. For example, one person might place a horseshoe above a doorway to summon good luck to enter. Another person might avoid stepping on cracks. An athlete might wear the same hat, or shirt, throughout one season to maintain a good performance or avoid the unexpected. These are simple superstitions.

Complex superstitions are a bit different. These superstitions lead to complicated behaviors and psychological understandings. For example, historic cultures performed many rituals to appease the gods and goddesses, so that the crops would grow or severe weather wouldn’t last a long time or to prevent dangerous animals from attacking. The list of simple and complex possibilities is endless.

Superstitions of all sorts are attempts to avoid negative consequences or experiences because we fear what might happen. The emotion of fear is a powerful force in human nature and the root of so many behaviors, plans and expressions. Fear is a central part of simple and complex superstitions.

Since superstition has been part of the human experience for many, many thousands of years, we also must realize that superstition is an archetype. Remember that common human experiences throughout time and cultures eventually form psychological archetypes within the unconscious (hidden) psychology. We are born with these unconscious elements, which in a very real sense helps us to be connected with people from the past.

Archetypes can influence a person’s life and/or personality, however, most often archetypes along with our experiences form our psychological complexes. Again, recall from previous articles that complexes can take over our personalities when triggered but otherwise, remain in our unconscious psychology. One component of a complex is emotion. In the case of the archetype of superstition, this emotion is fear. When superstition is present, fear and an archetype, or even a complex, are active.

If you’re honest with yourself, I’m sure you can find superstitious behaviors and beliefs in your life. Recognizing your superstitions is another way to get to know yourself. By recognizing our fears and part of our unconscious (hidden) psychology, you and I can become a more complete person.

 

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