July 25-28,’16 ~QofDay~ Superstition

Do you have any superstition?

A superstition is something believed in fear or ignorance that is not accurate. Which leads on to the definition I most like “a superstition is only a superstition when it is not a superstition” – which is to say, so long as you believe it to be a truth, and not a superstition, then it is in fact a superstition, whereas once you can see the error, you no longer believe it, so it isn’t a superstition any longer.

In that sense, it seems entirely likely that most of what we take for truths are probably superstitions. The complexity of reality sort of guarantees that for us.

In the more relaxed sense, of habits or practices that are of dubious origin – yeah sure – heaps – most kept for fun.
[followed by]


I agree with OM.

I have been consistent here and elsewhere, of accepting the what of what others tell me, if not the why.

I have been explicit many times in saying that that there is much wisdom in the practices of many cultures, even if the stories accompanying those practices are wildly inaccurate.
I pay a lot of attention to the what, the practices, of cultures, be they wives tales, witch doctors, religions, … whatever; not so much to the narratives within which those practices are embedded.
Evolution is quite good at weeding out things that don’t work – harsh, but effective.

We have tools that allow us to go beyond that now, and the next couple of decades will likely determine if humanity as a whole has sufficient wisdom to transcend the stories of our deep past, or be destroyed by them.

The strategic level of systems understanding, which starts with relatively simple notions like probability, games theory, multiple stable state equilibria, and extends to the far more complex and general domains of infinitely dimensional computational and strategic domain spaces which include complexity, chaos, the truly random and fundamental uncertainty at all levels of the real and the logical, gives us tools to explore, discover and mitigate the worst of the risks to our continued existence, and it seems clear beyond any reasonable doubt that such risk can never be entirely eliminated.

I encourage every person to test for themselves, at every level, and not to entirely believe anything just because any authority says it to be so. That applies as much to me, as to every priest, prophet, legislator, lawyer, doctor, builder, engineer or whatever. Don’t believe them, don’t disbelieve them either. Consider what they say, consider the full context, make as many investigations as your intuition tells you are required.
Constantly train your intuition to use new paradigms as they become available – that takes a lot – several hours a day of intentional immersion in new and difficult ideas.

That is what I have been doing for over 50 years.

I am not “normal” in any sense of that word.

So, as the Daoists say – we live in interesting times.


About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see
This entry was posted in Question of the Day and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comment and critique welcome

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s