It’s almost over. Probably no Triskaidekaphobe survived this year. Allegedly, there are such sufferers from fear of thirteens. In China not the thirteen, but the four is considered an unlucky number. Which might have something to do that “four” is pronounce like “to die”. Poor Chinese, it also extends to all numbers that end with the four, as in 2014. This fear is known as “tetraphobia”.
Even if you aren’t a Triskaidekaphobe or Tetraphobe, humans indulge in all kinds of magical beliefs. That means: you too.
When a celebrity touches some object, it gets auctioned off for insane sums and nobody likes to wear Adolph Hitler’s sweater, even if it was perfectly cleaned and you would otherwise like it a lot. Researcher call this the “Contagion Heuristic”. And once it comes out that some work of art, worth a million dollars is “merely” a copy – painted with similar oils and great skill, and not just thrown onto a copy machine – it’s only worth a fraction of its former amount. Not to mention superstitions that come with celebrating New Year.
“Humans are Natural Born Essentialists”
…says Paul Bloom and it might have something to do with this quasi-superstitious beliefs. Essentialism is the age-old view that objects we perceive have certain “essences”, or essential features that make them the thing they are. I have written about it in “the Magic of Meaning”, but you probably like to spend your time reading Richard Dawkins’ “the Tyranny of the Discontinuous Mind” (2011).
I regard the ability to “unthink” categories as one of the more important features of a bright mind and it goes beyond that. There is a very important difference between just naming some “object” with perceived essential features, and understanding something.
Imagine something really important happened now. It would be one of the last things of 2013, and some of the first things of 2014 – simultaneously. But when did it really happen, in 2013 or 2014? It is an example of how our labels might be misleading, while in reality it just happened, regardless of how we mentally sort it out. Westerners and Easterners might claim it was due to bad luck, as the Westeners describe as the last important thing of a bad luck year 2013, and the Easterners as a horrible start (“as expected”) into 2014.
It was my first full year as a commenter in the “blogosphere” and apparently made me to start my own
blog site. I thought about going back through all the drama this year was about and review it all, but perhaps it’s better addressed by topic rather than somewhat arbitrary time-frames.
I hope a particular “slant” came through on this little blog site. I didn’t know myself how exactly my interests would materialize, but it seems to get clearer to me, too, as I move along. My goal of learning and improving works out, I am happy to report.
I hope you liked it enough. I have a lot of ideas for future blog posts and look forward to share them. You can follow the DiscordianTimes (non-spam) twitter feed, if it doesn’t get buried on your time-line, or use some other means to see when new articles arrived. Some form of feedback is greatly encouraging to me, so thanks to those who took the time to write back!
See you on the Other Side!