Over the last few centuries, our nation has developed in a great way. Due to our instant craving for knowledge, we have explored not only our planet but also space. We have found different explanations to most of the natural phenomena, invented complicated technologies, and even made a step on the way of artificial intelligence creation. Despite our impressive achievements, we still believe in some superstitions, and sometimes we cross the borders of logic while protecting these beliefs. Although it is so easy for us to find some explanation to certain things with solid scientific basis, we at times look for a thrill in horror movies and stories, which make us lose our sleep and shake in terror. Some people say that they do not believe in everything supernatural, but they may have a subliminal fear of it. In my view, all the superstitions and beliefs have quite a complicated background and influence our life in a much greater way than we think it might be.
To start with, we have to understand the reason why we believe in supernatural creatures while having so many proven scientific points and theories. We have always been afraid of everything unknown and unexplained during our existence. As we have no idea what will happen if we encounter something out of this world, we feel uncomfortable and thrilled. The makers of horror movies speculate on this feeling when they create movies about poltergeists, demons, and other paranormal activities. We know what to expect from a serial killer, but the actions of some ghost or another creature cannot be predicted so easily. Despite that, many people enjoy watching horror films, and the reason behind it is more than just seeking for a good scare. This scenario relates to the ancient archetype of shadow, which has followed us in all kinds of art for centuries (Griffiths). There is also a theory based on Aristotle’s concept of catharsis: we force ourselves to relive some negative emotions while watching scary and violent films to let all the negativity and aggression out (Griffiths). Still, horror movies and stories very often create some sort of emotional trauma, especially in our childhood, whose impact might last for a very long time until we watch the movie again and understand that this fear was just a childish exaggeration.
Still, superstitions can be explained in a simpler way. They have some psychological background, which makes them some rituals which we sometimes repeat without realizing. Such rituals easily become habits, which seem to be harmless, but it is very hard to get rid of them even if you do not believe in anything supernatural. For example, one can say that horoscopes are nonsense, but you may see this person subconsciously knocking on wood to prevent something bad or avoiding walking under the ladder. It is quite ironical that we have developed such a massive potential, but we are still afraid of black cats, and the number thirteen or a broken mirror. As a rule, these superstitions are heritage, which we receive from our parents or grandparents. Children especially like to scare each other with things like “Step on a crack, break your mother’s back”, but they do not realize that such sayings create a certain habit for the rest of their lives.
Besides, we tend to create our rituals to attract good luck. The believe originates from connections, which we found between some positive occurrences in our life and certain actions we conducted before these events. For example, many famous musicians or sportsmen believe that performing some rituals guarantee them of a successful concert or competition. It is somehow distracting for us to perform an innocent action to calm down before an important event. It has a positive placebo effect, as it indeed helps us maintain the relaxed state of mind and reach the positive way of thinking (Albert 3). Nevertheless, superstitions may be a sign of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). It makes people repeat some actions, which seem to be vital and crucial for them. Usually, this is not a serious problem, but in some cases, it may cause anxiety, which demands some medical treatment (Albert 1).
Additionally, most people in the world have beliefs and superstitions as a firm basis of their cultures and traditions. Some of them have abstracted from the necessity of performing some rituals, but some nations have preserved their meaning until now. In the Indian culture, women wear silver rings or apply red dots called tilak on their foreheads to keep the positive energy in their body and maintain health (Phukan). Sometimes they even have a scientific background. For example, Hindus avoid sleeping with their heads facing north, because they believe it invites death, but at the same time, it relates to the violation of symmetry between the magnetic fields of our body and the Earth (Phukan). Moreover, the folklore of some countries influences governmental policy. In Iceland, people have staged protests against the building of a new road, as this would have displaced the supernatural habitat of creatures called elves, which are an essential part of Iceland’s culture (Jacobs). Another perfect example is Halloween, which is a significant holiday in many countries including the USA and the UK. Many other people also join in this tradition, even though this holiday is not celebrated nor hold any relevance in their countries. Interestingly, a great number of participants do not know the origin of the holiday, which is actually based on Celtic mythology. All the scary costumes and masks are in fact an attempt to scare off the creatures from the other world, which get to our world only once a year – in the night between 31 October and 1 November. Therefore, this popular event also has a superstitious character.
In conclusion, beliefs and superstitions still are an inalienable part of our lives. Even though we can access various scientific sources and researches, the craving to experience unknown feelings and therefore thrilling is something we cannot help yielding, and this may even create an unstable state of mind. Thus, we should reconsider the role of superstitions and beliefs in our life and try not to get under their influence.