The word "superstition" is translated from the Church Slavonic language as "vain, vain faith." Thus, the very name of this phenomenon emphasizes its meaninglessness, but this does not prevent many people from taking omens and other superstitions very seriously.
Everyone is familiar with superstitions to one degree or another. Even an educated person can notice - at least as a joke: "The black cat has crossed the road, now there will be no luck." There are people who are more serious. They can even provide evidence: "My right hand itched last month and I won the award."
In fact, people's hands itch more often than they receive bonuses, gifts or other “profit”, which is believed to portend an itch in the right palm. But if nothing happened, then there is nothing to remember, and the omen that has come true will be remembered for sure. However, even in this case, a superstitious person will not think about what connection can exist between phenomena that are so far from each other.
The origin of superstition
The origins of the signs should be sought in mythological thinking. This ancient form of human perception of the world is a special "world" where peculiar laws operate.
The main system-forming principle of this world is the division of space into "our own", associated with the house, and "alien", inhabited by monsters and spirits. The contact of spaces is seen as a danger, and everything that belongs to the "alien" area does not inspire confidence. From here comes, for example, the prohibition to say hello through the threshold and to clean up the house when someone close to you is on the way.
Even in "his" space, not to mention the "alien", the ancient man was surrounded by numerous spirits - evil and good. The evil could do harm, the good could punish if people angered them. To prevent this from happening, the spirits should have been appeased with sacrifices. This was done, for example, when moving to a new place - after all, there were their own perfumes. A distant echo of such sacrifices is the belief that a pet should be the first to enter a new apartment.
Spirits could hide under the guise of animals, so superstitious people are still afraid of black cats. If you can't get along with the spirits, you need to try at least to deceive them. That is why they wished the hunter "no fluff, no feather" - let the spirits think that he was not going to hunt, and do not interfere with him.
And, finally, the main principle of mythological and magical thinking: like gives birth to like. From this comes a huge number of signs: the custom of opening chests and untie knots when there is a woman in labor in the house, the belief that a woman with an empty bucket brings bad luck (it went in vain, "in vain") and even the habit of modern students to put on a "happy" jumper for the exam. which I once passed successfully.
Psychology of superstition
Modern man can no longer perceive the world through the prism of mythological thinking, but its fragments in the form of superstitions continue to live. Their amazing vitality is due to the fact that they give a person the illusion of managing a situation where reality gives him the power of chance. No wonder the most superstitious people are pilots, sailors and artists: the vagaries of the weather are as unpredictable as the reaction of the public. Lovers of gambling will also accept a lot of things, which are entirely based on chances.
Superstition, thus, can play the role of a kind of psychological "crutch", but the crutch is still a cripple's belonging. Starting with an attempt to gain confidence, a superstitious person finds himself at the mercy of even more fears: on the 13th, a broken mirror, Friday, a talisman lost before important negotiations - everything will portend something threatening, everything will be unsettled.
Superstitions, undoubtedly, are of interest from a historical point of view, as a "cast" of a long-gone perception of the world of distant ancestors. But modern man will not use a stone ax or don poorly processed animal skins! "Trying on" superstition is also not worth it.