June 15, 2011
Careful readers may have noted how I tend to knock on people who hold outrageous beliefs for the sake of tradition or comfort. Think gays are committing a sin by loving and existing because the Bible says so? Do you think that America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles despite the Bible being entirely opposite to what the Bill of Rights guarantees?
Guess what? You’re a moron for ignoring reality.
On the other hand, it’s comforting to believe in something that has no basis in reality. It’s yours. It’s personal. Conspiracy theorists work this way. They see themselves at the center of some unimaginable tangle of powerful beings and organizations that can somehow control everything from the political landscape, to the progress of technology, and yet cannot catch these desktop detectives as they unravel the web of deceit.
And yet you and I are much too smart for that, right?
Well, I got to thinking…
How different is superstitious thinking from fanatical religious thinking? Not that far off. We had people who believed, who genuinely believed, the world was going to end last month. Some people, even if not religious themselves, will cross themselves before entering a Catholic church, just in case. My sister refuses to shuffle cards a certain way when we play poker because it will disrupt her card-ma.
Yes, “card-ma.” Her word, I swear to Bob.
I have a Dungeons and Dragons player who insists her dice rolls don’t count if the die touches an object before it comes to a standstill. While I don’t think she really believes it, she insists that touching another object throws her off. In fact, gamers are finicky when it comes to their dice. Some dice are just “lucky.” Of course, gaming dice aren’t tested for balance like casino dice, so there very well might be lucky and unlucky dice.
Everyone’s done these sorts of things, and I tend to laugh when I see them or hear about them.
I believe in chance and choice. I believe there are things I can and cannot control. The things I cannot control are the events that are beyond my grasp, the choices others make, and the totality of existence. I can’t tell lightning where to strike. I can’t make others think what I want them to think. I can’t luck out and hope a publisher sees my work online and offers me a contract.
I can, however, choose to not stand out during a lightning storm while wearing a tin foil hat. I can learn how to put together a coherent argument and make my point as persuasively as possible. I can make my work the best possible and look for ways to advertise and get the word out.
There is nothing that says charms, spells, or even good luck rituals work for us, and yet so many of us really do cling to these beliefs. I know someone’s going to fire back with, “But that’s the die I used when I slew the vampire king! It’s lucky!” or “I was wearing this shirt when I met the love of my life. It’s my lucky shirt.”
Well, show me the study where we discovered luck. Show me equations. Prove to me that our lives and random events around said lives are controlled by invisible force fields and I’ll eat my words!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go do laundry and make sure I have my gaming shirt for this Saturday. When I wear my Star Wars shirt, I KILL!
And now, for your viweing pleasure, links.
- Urban outfitters always rubbed me the wrong way, but now someone finally compiled a list of why they suck.
- Katee Sackhoff in a green wigand tutu. You’re welcome.
- Is American Gods headed for HBO? Well, it doesn’t really matter to me since I don’t have cable.
- I know I tend to rant, but I hope I don’t get to the point where I pass the youth/ music barrier.
- Fans of Star Trek Voyager (it’s okay; you’re amongst friends) can rejoice. Kate Mulgrew and Jeri Ryan are coming to Warehouse 13.
- I swear I’ve seen all but the last two Harry Potter movies at least twelve times each, and I totally missed this.
- As a full-time literary and writing snob, I want to drink what my favorite authors drink. Now, I can!
- Vintage lesbian. That is all.
- In the list of awesome things, Jeff Goldblum playing piano for Jane Lynch and Zoe Deschanel ranks right up there.
- Here are the first pics of Gabrielle Giffords. She’s scared, sure, but she’s up and about. I think she’ll be fine, all things considered.
- And finally, I have to say that while I’ve never heard of or tried this beer, this commercial alone makes me want to do it. it’s over the top, obviously conscious of its own absurdity, but it owns it like a boss. Enjoy, and I’ll see you Friday.