Thanksgiving Is Ruined

The Personal is Political. The Political is Personal.

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February 15, 2017

in conclusion, some general considerations:

If there is a universal truth about superstition, it is that superstitious behavior emerges as a response to uncertainty -- to circumstances that are inherently random and uncontrollable.  Malinowski's analysis of superstition based on observations of Trobriand fisherman is still valid: we are most likely to employ magic when we venture out into the dangerous outer waters of our world, where our fate is less secure. . . . 

Although the superstitious person may gain a sense of control from his rituals, I get a similar feeling from being able to think rationally about the circumstances I face.  Even when I have no power over important events in my life, I gain a feeling of control from understanding them.

from Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition, by Stuart A. Vyse (Oxford U. Press, 2000), pgs. 201, 220

Black-cat market

Irrational investment habits lead to lower returns
. . . 
The paper also alludes to superstitious traders having a “general cognitive disability in financial decision making”, a diplomatic way of saying they are nitwits.

The Economisthere, discussing "Do Superstitious Traders Lose Money?” by Utpal Bhattacharya, Wei-Yu Kuo, Tse-Chun Lin and Jing Zhao, 2014, SSRN Working Paper.

What connects superstition, conspiracy theories, and seeing things that aren’t there?
. . . 
New evidence from a study by Jennifer Whitson at the University of Texas and Adam Galinsky at Northwestern University, Illinois, tackles this problem. . . . 

"Despite their surface disparities, seeing figures in noise, forming illusory correlations, creating superstitious rituals, and perceiving conspiracy beliefs all represent the same underlying process: the identification of a coherent and meaningful interrelationship among a set of random or unrelated stimuli . . . " 

Source: here, discussing and quoting J. A. Whitson & A. D. Galinsky's "Lacking Control Increases Illusory Pattern Perception," Science, Issue 5898. Vol. 322, pgs. 115-117 (2008)

some historical rulers who were reputed to be verry superstitious:

Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II of Bohemia 

Kaiser Wilhelm II 

Emperor Septimius Severus of Rome   

Nothing more to say.