Friday, 12 September 2014

Superstitious worry

Superstitious worry is the fear that, if you stop worrying about bad stuff that might happen, then the bad stuff will happen.

Consequently, people deliberately make themselves miserable and resist allowing themselves to feel carefree - in case this provokes retribution.

I am sadly prone to this species of pernicious nonsense - and I guess I am not alone.



George said...

I feel the same way. I think I learned it as a defensive mechanism against "dog in the manger" behavior from others.

Rodney said...

Is it nonsense? It seems to closely correlate to reality, in my experience. Is this something we should avoid? If so, can we?

George said...

I had a nightmare that reminded me of this post. In the nightmare I was very frightened by a scary and unexplained noise that I deemed caused by a ghost. Near the end, I realized my flight response was silly and nothing bad had actually happened - so maybe it was just the fear that was a problem. I immediately thought afterwards "oh no, I must not jinx it" and woke up.

Bruce Charlton said...

@George - Exactly.

The most 'worrying' thing is that this type of thinking so easily gets into Christianity. People become afraid to think about certain things (an example is the supposed 'omnipotence' of God) in case God will be provoked into taking retribution upon them. But if we really believe God is our loving Heavenly father, then this attitude is nonsense - pernicious nonsense!