-An irrational belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome.

I have a very close aquaintance, who is highly superstitious. This person had a very bad financial situation some years ago, and was told what was the bearer of this adversity spell. It ended up being an aquarium. At other hard times this person was told of other things they shouldn't have/do. The list grows longer and longer everyday. I cannot convince them that I don't believe in things being ill luck bearers, and the answer I get is: "Believe what you want!! (I know best)". Now this person cannot have: Fish/aquariums, tortoises, certain water plants, ornaments that have frogs/dwarves, musical boxes, and a loooong etc.

As I have many of the things I have listed, I cannot stand their smirk and know-it-all look when seeing to my 'dangerous' stuff! Besides, I feel like a surge of negativity coming from this person, that might spoil any blissful day I am having. (I am not afraid of this person, mind you).

Where superstition comes from?

And how do you deal with a person like this, if they won't listen to you? What's the best attitude I can take?

Thanks in advance!


asked 21 Oct '10, 14:01

BridgetJones09's gravatar image


edited 21 Oct '10, 14:07

Correlation does not imply causation

The brain is designed to associate things that occur in close temporal proximity to each other. This is how Pavlov was able to train his dogs to respond to a bell. By ringing a bell at the same time that food was present, Pavlov was able to get the dogs to associate the ringing of the bell with food. This is how all conditional learning works.

Of course, the bell and the food have nothing to do with each other at all. They are only connected together via nerve pathways in the dog's brain, due to the brain's ability to associate things that happen at the same time.

For an extreme, but very modern example of this kind of superstitious thinking, see here:

Cargo Cults


answered 21 Oct '10, 19:25

Vesuvius's gravatar image


You're parly right, @Vesuvius. Sometimes this person correlates a thing he just bought, with a bad event that happened right afterwards, and he throws the thing away, in a Pavlov's dog fashion. But this is not always the case. At other times, he's asked, weeks, even months afterwards, by a 'good soul' who wants to enlight him, if he had such and such a thing at the time the bad event happened. And his response is: 'Right! I do have that! How couldn't I see it before!' So he 'collects' superstition after superstition, feeling very knowing about how to prevent bad stuff to happen.

(22 Oct '10, 13:18) BridgetJones09

Now about Cargo Cults... I can't fathom what links what I have asked with this info...Are you implying there's a sort of 'envy' behind this behaviour? That everybody can have a lot of things he can't because he fears them??? Could you explain further, please? And what's the best thing for me to do, as I have almost all his list of 'forbidden' things, and he's always trying to pass his fears unto me? Thanks for your reply!

(22 Oct '10, 13:25) BridgetJones09

My point is that your friend is connecting things together that don't make logical sense. Cargo Cult thinking is the end result of that, and serves as the shining example of what happens to your thinking when you cannot validate your own reality.

(22 Oct '10, 23:57) Vesuvius
showing 2 of 3 show 1 more comments

It sounds like this person is looking for answers outside herself to blame any negative occurences on. This usually stems from a fear and results in an unwillingness to accept responsibility for what is going wrong in her life -( it's so much easier to blame something or someone else). Although the superstition is an irrational belief, over time it can become deep seated and ingrained leaving the person living in a very constricted way.

Because of this, I would tend to feel compassionate or empathic toward this person, but if you feel you are unable to do that right now, then the only other suggestion I would have is to try to ignore the situation as much as possible. I have a feeling that if you take the compassionate approach, your perception of this person might just change.

I do notice that you said she was a very close acquaintance but didn't use the word friend. Does this mean that you could easily refrain from being in her company too often ? If all else fails, maybe you just need to confront her about how you feel, being completely honest but speaking from your heart.


answered 21 Oct '10, 17:43

Michaela's gravatar image


Sorry, @Michaela, looking for anonimity I was confusing. It's actually a relative and he comes to dinner often. I feel compationate when he's not here, but when he is, and wants to pass his fears unto me, then I am less empathic. :P I also think he's leaving in a very constricted way, but doesn't let me discuss the subject, to explain that he's only depriving himself of having many pretty things, and the sense of freedom that you have when you fear nothing. I have tried to speak openly, without fuss, but he always stops me. Sounds like he is sort of 'cherishing' those fears!

(22 Oct '10, 12:54) BridgetJones09

Again that old adage "When the student is ready the teacher will appear" - doesn't sound like he's ready to hear your words of wisdom.I agree that he is inadvertently seeking comfort in those fears.

(22 Oct '10, 14:11) Michaela

Superstition is a result of lack of awareness of the spritual principles that govern the univese. Without this understanding, people create their own beliefs to explain circumstances in their lives. For those who are not in alignment with the Source, it does not matter what they choose to believe. One is either in alignment or not. And whatever you believe or focus on will manifest in your life.


answered 21 Oct '10, 23:59

Drham's gravatar image


The question of how you deal with them is an interestng one. I would try to divorce myself from any need to change this persons point of view.

Basically the superstition is a belief system or religion. Ok maybe not in the traditional sense but ultimately IT IS a set of beliefs with definite perameters ie if i have or do this then so and so will happen or follow.

I would broaden the question out to how do you deal with people whos views differ greatly from your own. Im in a family whos varying belief systems dont agree with my own . Im also married to someone who is ambivolent to my beliefs, although we rub along just fine.

You may well just have to live with your relatives rather strange views. He/she may not change in this life.Not saying he/she wont but you never know for sure.

Im stuck with lots of family,friends and colleauges who differ from me greatly. I just cant do anything about it. Despite this a genuinely enjoy the company of most of them. They keep coming round so they must enjoy mine too.

I must admit thou that sometimes the ones that i dont get along with,i avoid too much contact.Im not rude mind,but i just dont go out of my way to be in their company.



answered 22 Oct '10, 14:00

Monty%20Riviera's gravatar image

Monty Riviera

I don't look to change them. I usually let people be. I also have friends and relatives with different tastes and hobbies and beliefs. That doesn't bother me. What bothers me is the 'feeling' (call me sensitive if you like) that he scorns my things and think me a fool for having all that 'dangerous' stuff! Thanks for your reply!

(22 Oct '10, 14:40) BridgetJones09

I see what you mean . I guess i would avoid him if i could possibly help it.Especisally if he patronises and scorns you. Theres enough decent people who will respect what you have and what uve got. I would gravitate towards them. I guess u already do. G

(22 Oct '10, 17:06) Monty Riviera
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