Some Thoughts about Superstition and Panic

Some Thoughts about Superstition and Panic

Every time I fly — as I step aboard the plane — I say to myself, “This is the plane I’m going to die on.”

Not because I believe that; rather, because I don’t.

I’ve mentioned that I do this to some people and they were absolutely appalled that I’d do such a thing…that I was somehow tempting fate. Worse, that with a mere thought…I am putting hundreds of lives in danger each time I fly.

And yet, each time I fly, I land safely.

But What If…

Now that I’ve shared this information, if I’m ever on a plane that does not land safely, people can say, “It’s all his fault. Had he simply not tempted fate, all those people would be alive…”

What gets me about superstition is that it’s a one-way street. By saying to myself, “This is the plane I’m going to die on,” each time I fly, people who believe ridiculous things (it is ridiculous to think that my mere thought can bring down a plane) are allowed to say, “See?!” should the incredibly remote possibility that I die in a plane crash occur. But yet, if I live to be 100 and say to the same people, “So…gonna admit you’re wrong and have let fear dictate your life?” there’s always an excuse.

You didn’t fly enough…

Somebody prayed harder than your thoughts…

It will catch up with you in some other way…

Planes Do Not Crash Because of Thoughts

A good friend took a flight in a small plane as a teenager because he thought flying would be cool. The plane crashed, and he was the only survivor.

Many would say, “That’s a warning to never fly again!”

Others might say, “Well, he got his crash out of the way…he’s safe to fly.” (As though we all get a plane crash or two in our lives.)

Those of the latter mindset might even go as far as saying that in all the flights this friend has taken that the reason he’s survived is because he crashed and lived on his very first flight.

All these thoughts would be rather insulting. This friend was recently certified to fly the 787 Dreamliner. To attribute an experience that happened on his very first flight to his success as a pilot is silly. Worse: to think for a moment that me thinking, “This is the plane I’m going to die on,” can negate all the years of training pilots go through is insulting to the profession.

Even worse than that, I’m sure there are people out there, who — if they read this blog entry — would hope I die on a plane just to prove their point.

Superstition is a powerful thing, and it doesn’t surprise me that many people I know who are very superstition are also prone to panic.

OMG, It’s The Ebola! Run Away!!!

I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. If you’ve watched the news, recently, you know that Ebola is running out of control in the area and this will be the last thing I ever write! (At least if you stay glued to the news or some social media feeds, you might think like that.)

In early September, I logged out of Facebook to take a break until I’m done with the novel I’m currently writing. (And also to make sure I was away during election season, when all that I dislike about Facebook seems even more amplified.)

I woke up early this morning and wandered to the living room. I don’t watch the news, but I turned it on. The general message seemed to be: “OH MY GOD, THIS IS AN EPIDEMIC!!!” followed by, “don’t panic!!!”

I’ve seen very little mention of Ebola on my Google Plus, Tumblr, and Twitter feeds. A confession: I logged into Facebook this morning.

DOOM!!! DOOM, I SAY!!!

The number of posts about Ebola was staggering. Worse: looking at the posts of some of the more superstitious people I know…it would almost be funny if it weren’t so sad. One person telling a friend in the area: “MOVE NOW! GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN!” Not as a joke — this was said in all seriousness, and it was followed by, “Of course, that may not matter — it will be everywhere soon.”

I saw somebody saying it’s the government…that they want to reduce the population by 95%. Again, said in all seriousness by a normally superstitious person.

The best: links to places saying, “Take these vitamins to be safe, and stock up on all this gear for when it gets bad!” Conveniently, the sites people were getting their “real facts about Ebola” from just-so-happen to also sell the specials vitamins and gear that will make you one of the lone survivors of the Ebolapocalypse.

Comment after comment like that; people feeding into fear.

(I didn’t even have the courage to gaze at the feeds of people I’ve hidden.)

A Prediction

I do not believe in psychics, but I’ll make a prediction based on reason: I will not die in a plane crash.

I’ll make another prediction: the United States will not crumble under Ebola’s grip.

Let’s go for three: President Obama will not impose martial law followed by Sharia law before the 2016 elections to stay in power, no matter what your favorite conspiracy “news” website says.

And that’s what gets me about superstition and panic: none of these things will happen. The people who fear these things, however, will not say, “Huh? None of those things I truly believed would happen actually happened. Maybe I shouldn’t be so superstitious and afraid.”

Instead, they will go on to the next scary thing and continue to be angry when people point out just how ridiculous it all is.

Comments

  1. CM Stewart says:

    I’m going to dress as The Ebola this Halloween.

    “Ermergerd, The Ebola has mutated and now has legs! Arms, even! And a head!”

  2. Christopher Gronlund says:

    I’m laughing more than I should be… 😉

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