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\"Superstition\" is a song by American singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder. It was released on October 24, 1972, as the lead single from his fifteenth studio album, Talking Book (1972), by Tamla. The lyrics describe popular superstitions and their negative effects.
A superstition is any belief or practice considered by non-practitioners to be irrational or supernatural, attributed to fate or magic, perceived supernatural influence, or fear of that which is unknown. It is commonly applied to beliefs and practices surrounding luck, amulets, astrology, fortune telling, spirits, and certain paranormal entities, particularly the belief that future events can be foretold by specific (apparently) unrelated prior events.
Also, the word superstition is often used to refer to a religion not practiced by the majority of a given society regardless of whether the prevailing religion contains alleged superstitions or to all religions by the antireligious.
Definitions of the term vary, but commonly describe superstitions as irrational beliefs at odds with scientific knowledge of the world. Stuart Vyse proposes that a superstition's \"presumed mechanism of action is inconsistent with our understanding of the physical world\", with Jane Risen adding these beliefs are not merely scientifically wrong, but impossible. Similarly, Lysann Damisch defines superstition as \"irrational beliefs that an object, action, or circumstance that is not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome\", Dale Martin, says they \"presuppose an erroneous understanding about cause and effect, that have been rejected by modern science.\" The Oxford English Dictionary describes them as \"irrational, unfounded\", Merriam Webster, as \"a false conception about causation or belief or practice\", the Cambridge Dictionary \"sans grounding in human reason or scientific knowledge\". This notion of superstitious practices are not causally related to the outcomes.
Both Vyse and Martin argue what is considered superstitious varies across cultures and time. For Vyse, \"if a culture has not yet adopted science as its standard, then what we consider magic or superstition is more accurately the local science or religion.\" Dale points out that superstitions are often considered as out of place in modern times influenced by modern science and its notions of what is rational or irrational, surviving as remnants of older popular beliefs and practices.
Vyse proposes that in addition to being irrational and culturally-dependant, superstitions have to be instrumental: an actual effect is expected by the person holding a belief, such as increased odds of winning a prize. This distinction excludes practices where participants merely expect to be entertained.
In antiquity, the Latin term superstitio, like its equivalent Greek deisidaimonia, came to be associated with exaggerated ritual and a credulous attitude towards prophecies. Greek and Roman polytheists, who modeled their relations with the gods on political and social terms, scorned the man who constantly trembled with fear at the thought of the gods, as a slave feared a cruel and capricious master. Such fear of the gods was what the Romans meant by \"superstition\" (Veyne 1987, p. 211). Diderot's Encyclopédie defines superstition as \"any excess of religion in general\", and links it specifically with paganism.
For there was scarce another of the celebrated bishoprics that had so few learned pontiffs; only in violence, intrigue, and superstition has it hitherto surpassed the rest. For the men who occupied the Roman See a thousand years ago differ so vastly from those who have since come into power, that one is compelled to refuse the name of Roman pontiff either to the former or to the latter.
The current Catechism of the Catholic Church considers superstition sinful in the sense that it denotes \"a perverse excess of religion\", as a demonstrated lack of trust in divine providence ( 2110), and a violation of the first of the Ten Commandments.The Catechism is a defense against the accusation that Catholic doctrine is superstitious:
Dieter Harmening's book Superstitio categorizes superstitions in three categories of magic, divination and observances, he further divides observances category in 'signs' and 'time'. Time sub category constitutes temporal prognostics like observances of various days related like dog days, Egyptian days, year prognosis and lunaries, where as signs category constitutes signs like particular animal behaviors, like the call of birds or neighing of horses or sighting of comets, or dreams. According to László Sándor Chardonnens the signs subcategory usually needs an observer who might help in interpreting the signs and such observer does not need necessarily to be an active participant of the observation. According to Chardonnens, category of Divination participant need to go beyond mere observation and need to be active participant in given action. Examples of Divination superstitions are judicial astrology, necromancy, haruspex, lot-casting, geomancy, aeromancy and prophecy. Chardonnens says superstions belonging to magic category are exceedingly hermetical and ritualistic and its examples are witchcraft, potions, incantations, amulets etc. Chardonnens says Observation category needs an observer, divination category needs participant to tell what is to be observed, where as magic requires a participant who must follow a protocol to influence the future, and that these three types of superstition need increasing stages of participation and knowledge.
Chardonnens defines \"prognostication\" as that component of superstition which, expects knowledge of the future on systematic application of given ritual and order, and moves to classify saying, Prognostication appear to occupy a place somewhere between observation and divination, of which due to the primacy of temporal prognostics, the observation of times is represented most frequently.
According to László Sándor Chardonnens, OED definitions pass value judgement and attribution to \"fear and ignorance\", do not do enough justice to elaborate systems of superstitions. Chardonnens says the religious element in OED denotations are not understood as system of observance and testifies to a belief in higher power on part of the compiler of the dictionary.
Webster's The Encyclopedia of Superstitions points out that, many superstitions are related with religion, people have been carrying individual subjective perceptions vis a vis superstitions against one another, people of one belief are likely to call people of another belief superstitious; Constantine regarded paganism as a superstition; Tacitus on other hand regarded Christianity as pernicious superstition; Saul of Tarsus and Martin Luther perceived any thing that was not centered on Christ to be superstitious. According to Dale, difference of opinion on what constitutes 'superstition' get apparent when one moves form one culture to another culture.
According to Michael David Bailey, it was with Pliny's usage that Magic came close to superstition; and charges of being superstitious were first leveled by Roman authorities on its Christian subjects. In turn, early Christian writers pronounced all Roman and Pagan cults to be superstitious worshiping false Gods, fallen angels and demons and it is with Christian usage almost all forms of magic started being described as forms of superstition.
Skinner's theory regarding superstition being the nature of the pigeons' behaviour has been challenged by other psychologists such as Staddon and Simmelhag, who theorised an alternative explanation for the pigeons' behaviour.
From a simpler perspective, natural selection will tend to reinforce a tendency to generate weak associations or heuristics that are overgeneralized. If there is a strong survival advantage to making correct associations, then this will outweigh the negatives of making many incorrect, \"superstitious\" associations. It has also been argued that there may be connections between OCD and superstition.
A recent theory by Jane Risen proposes that superstitions are intuitions that people acknowledge to be wrong, but acquiesce to rather than correct when they arise as the intuitive assessment of a situation. Her theory draws on dual-process models of reasoning. In this view, superstitions are the output of \"System 1\" reasoning that are not corrected even when caught by \"System 2\".
People seem to believe that superstitions influence events by changing the likelihood of currently possible outcomes rather than by creating new possible outcomes. In sporting events, for example, a lucky ritual or object is thought to increase the chance that an athlete will perform at the peak of their ability, rather than increasing their overall ability at that sport.
Psychologist Stuart Vyse has pointed out that until about 2010, \"[m]ost researchers assumed superstitions were irrational and focused their attentions on discovering why people were superstitious.\" Vyse went on to describe studies that looked at the relationship between performance and superstitious rituals. Preliminary work has indicated that such rituals can reduce stress and thereby improve performance, but, Vyse has said, \"...not because they are superstitious but because they are rituals.... So there is no real magic, but there is a bit of calming magic in performing a ritualistic sequence before attempting a high-pressure activity.... Any old ritual will do.\"
Ancient Greek historian Polybius in his Histories uses the word superstition explaining that in ancient Rome that belief maintained the cohesion of the empire, operating as an instrumentum regni.
The rediscovery of lost classical works (The Renaissance) and scientific advancement led to a steadily increasing disbelief in superstition. A new, more rationalistic lens was beginning to see use in exegesis. Opposition to superstition was central to the Age of Enlightenment. The first philosopher who dared to criticize superstition publicly and in a written form was Baruch Spinoza, who was a key figure in the Age of Enlightenment. 59ce067264