Friday, April 13, 2007

Superstition


When you believe in things that you don't understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain't the way.

(Stevie Wonder - Superstition)


Stevie has a point. Friday, 13th today. Chamki has found out there is a special word for those who fear what may happen on this particular day (it's very strange - Paraskevidekatriaphobia - I'm sure there's an english word for it, but I can't be bothered to look for it).

I'm trying to think if I'm a woman of many superstitions. I don't think so. Well, maybe I am - I'm not comfortable walking beneath ladders, amongst broken mirrors...but I like black cats, even if they cross my path, I don't mind eating at a table with 13 individuals, Friday 13th is just like Saturday, 14th, except there's football on Saturday (lol), I don't have many good luck rituals.

It is something else that affects me and it's the Catholic mindset (Vesper has been talking about the effects of a religious upbringing and it made me think more about it), the so-called Catholic guilt. It's stupid and it works like a superstition. It comes from having nuns telling you that poverty is the ultimate happiness... as suffering is necessary for enlightenment, or that God is watching you and "He" (I resent the fact that God is called a "he", HA!) will punish you if you sin, lie, transgress, do anything except pray and help other people...

It's this kind of upbringing and brainwashing while you are young that leaves an unconscious mark that you can't ignore, even though you know it's all very silly. I'm not denying that living in a humble context can be the ultimate path to spiritual growth (if you wish to do so); but it's wrong to think so when you start feeling guilty for having more things than the strictly necessary. Why feel bad about being happy about material things? - we are material beings, it's only natural that we may become distracted by material things. As long as it doesn't cloud the important things in life, I don't think there's anything wrong in being mesmerized by a pair of shoes.

But the thing that really annoys me goes beyond that - it's when things are going well and you simply cannot accept the fact that they are fine. Is there something wrong in simply being happy? I don't understand why this happens to me and if it's completely related to the catholic upbringing...But it's as though feeling the flutter of happiness will jinx it, a permanent awareness that happiness doesn't last very long, which means something less good will happen soon. It's the ultimate apology of mediocracy - you're allowed to feel O.K., just don't feel *too good*, that's going too far.
Isn't this insane?

12 comments:

[eric] said...

It's the 13th? Oh crap, you just ruined my day. ^_-

Ps said...

Interesting chain of thoughts.Made me think about the whole brain washing business that goes on when we are kids.I follow Hinduism--which is a way of life--not a religion.Its a phliosophy--Very difficult to explain, but very interesting.

Novel Nymph said...

As soon as I saw the hamsa, I was overwhelmed. I wrote a story with one of those in it recently, and you having it as the picture...you know that it is overwhelmingly coincidental the way that we do it!

I was raised Catholic too, it has left its marks on me--beautiful handwriting and a heavy consciousness of sin!

Novel

Niall said...

I understand what you say about the whole 'guilt 'thing. It's not only a Catholic trait..it pervades society..we often here about things being 'Guilty pleasures'as if relaxing, eating chocolate, drinking fine wine and listening to your favourite music is wrong.I think it is your DUTY to minister to your internal self..learn to love yourself..re energize..get perspective.If chocolate, shoes or sex (or all three...um?) can do that..then go forth.You will be able to live a more harmonious and giving life if you are full of energy and life and not knackered and worn out.

fb said...

I am reminded of 'Status Anxiety' by Alain De Boton. I don't know if you have read it but I think you might find parts of it interesting...some of it was a bit of a struggle though...

I think we most definitely suffer from 'overthinkingitis' ;)

Devil Mood said...

Eric: The power of a single number...heheh

PS: Yes, very interesting. I've read some things about other religions, including Hinduism but it'd be interesting if you blogged about that one day.

Novel: I love our coincidences (well, not coincidences obviously, since there aren't any, right?), I love our sincronicity. :)

Niall: Very wise words. It all comes down to having self-esteem and a sense of balance in your life, I think. Too much of anything isn't good for you, but sometimes we have to indulge.

FB: I didn't read the book, just watched a bit of the documentary but it was interesting. We do think too much, that's true.

Chloe said...

i had forgoten it was Friday the 13th. In Greece people are superstitious of Tuesday the 13th.
And this word, Paraskevidekatriaphobia is so funny.
It is Greek. Paraskevi is Friday in Greek and dekatria is 13.
I am annoying ain't I?
heheehe.

Maddie said...

Joana - is that a hand of fatima?

where is it?

I want one of those !!

I also am reminded when things are so happy that they won't always be this way -

but then i enjoy them even more -
because it won't always be here -

everything changes and moves like the tides -

but of course -
when things are rather "dumpy" in life -
i am also reassured that this too shall pass -
soooo learn to celebrate the joy and
love the questions themselves as Rilke says...

hugs!

fb said...

I never saw the DVD...would you recommend I try and borrow it from somewhere?

Devil Mood said...

Chloe: On Tuesday? That's so funny! How silly of me to not see the word was greek, obviously phobia is greek but I thought the rest was in some other language. Thanks for telling me, really!

Maddy:Yes, it is, also called a hamsa. I have it in my room and I got it from a Morocco salesman. Maybe you can find it in craft fairs or something.
Wow, that's a great way to look at things! Very, very good!

FB: Honestly, I'm not sure the documentary will tell you more than the book, it's probably the other way around!

Vesper said...

you may definitely be dealing with some good old catholic guilt there....and sometimes i feel the same way. guilt has been a major issue with me. i have been known to sabotage myself when things are getting "too good." it's definitely something i've had to work on.

Devil Mood said...

Vesper: Being happy is not easy. Or maybe it's too easy, we just complicate everything. I think it's BOTH ;)