Friday, August 13, 2010

No friggatriskaidekaphobia

One thing you may as well know about me: I’m not superstitious. While I may throw a pinch of spilled salt over my shoulder, it’s merely out of a sense of connection to my ancestors: I neither believe in, nor pay any attention to, anything “supernatural”.

I’m so sceptical about things that can’t be examined scientifically that I even put the word supernatural in quote marks, as if to suggest that I don’t believe in such a thing. Actually, I don’t—with all that implies for traditional concepts of religion.

This is not the same thing as NOT believing: My mother was fond of quoting Shakespeare: “There are more things in heaven and earth… than are dreamt of in our philosophy.” I think that set me up to be an agnostic about most things supernatural—I don’t believe, but neither do I dismiss.

One day I probably should post about the journey that led me to this place where I find belief in the supernatural to be unnecessary. For now, suffice it to say that Friday the 13th is for me, always, just another day, falling between Thursday the 12th and Saturday the 14th.

What about you?


Ninure said...

I used to be afraid of Friday the 13th, until I FINALLY learned where the superstition came from - s0 they say- Oct. 13 was when the Templars were wiped out.

Juli Ryan said...

According to Wikipedia, 17 to 21 million people in the U.S. are affected by a fear of this day! Not me, though.

toujoursdan said...

There are lots of theories about the origin of Friday the 13th.

The Templar theory is one of them (popularized in The Da Vinci Code). Another comes from Norse legend where the goddess Frigga (where the word "Friday" comes from) was exiled to mountaintop but came back to wreak havoc on Friday, called "The Witches Sabbath" in Sweden. Of course in Christian theology Christ was betrayed by Judas (the 13th in their band) and crucified on a Friday. In Hebrew numerology 12 is the number of completeness (12 tribes of Israel, 12 disciples, 12 days of between Christ's birth and the Feast of the Circumcision, known as the 12 days of Christmas, etc.), so 13 transgressed that completeness and was bad luck.

FWIW, I think the scientific method works brilliantly in the laboratory setting, less so in science outside the lab (where a set of assumptions/beliefs has to be laid as a foundation), horribly in the realm of quantum physics and not at all when it comes to explaining the hows and whys of right-brained activities like art, music and religion. Scientific examination is ultimately a human construct so I think it's arrogant to assume that it's somehow woven into the fabric of the universe (not that people who hold that belief are arrogant.)

hatm said...

There is a distinction to make between religious divine and supernatural paranormal.

Despite the fact that scientists refuse supernatural phenomenons as there is no scientific proof found it doesn't mean it hasn't got scientific origins. And that it should necessary and automatically be blamed to the divine action.

I think supernatural is instinctively a part of our nature and has been through the years enhanced by traditional habits. Due to the connection between natural elements, repeated multiple similar sessions of super activity is created and randomly appear to us as supernatural events. As part of the loop we interact with them: the believers allow the phenomenon to continue, the non believers brake the circle.

We highlight the events as superstitions as we can not identify their scientific origin. But we are the proof of their scientific origin.

Louise said...

Nothing like running around doing life stuff to make you forget what day it is, let alone what date. :D

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

Ninure and Juli: I can honestly say that it never scared me. The movies by the same name, well, that's another story!

toujoursdan: I was aware of MOST of those theories about Friday the 13th. But I'm saying which!

Science is more accurately described, as you were suggesting, the scientific method because it's a way of approaching the natural world. All the scientific method does is propose a hypothesis, like "I believe that nature does this thing". The theory is tested and if validated becomes accepted science until and unless a better testable theory comes along,

But the point is both the testability and the implied reputability: Nothing's ever truly settled. This is the opposite of religion, where faith alone determines belief and, in some religions, that faith cannot be questioned.

So, it's not so much that anyone thinks that science itself is woven (or not woven) into the fabric of the universe, but that we believe it offers the best framework for understanding the universe—until and unless something better comes along.

hatm: You're right about your distinction between paranormal and divine, however, I was using the world "supernatural" in its purest sense, to mean "beyond natural" "outside of the natural world". This includes both the divine AND the paranormal because they're both outside the natural world. The "natural world" is something subject to scientific investigation, testing, validating and so on, but the supernatural, by definition, cannot be proven because it's beyond the natural world.

I frankly don't believe in anything that can't be tested and proven. That does not, as I said in the post, mean that I disbelieve, either. But in any case, if others do believe, that's their decision and has nothing to do with me.

Louise: Yep—and that's the same reason I have for forgetting dates that are actually important!

d said...

Yeah, no worries for us - we actually flew to the US on Friday the 13th, and ended up having *TWO* Friday the 13ths due to the Date Line!