Saturday, July 14, 2012


Just for fun, yesterday was Friday July 13, a day considered to be unlucky; nothing out of the ordinary happen to me. How about you? It may be considered unlucky because Friday is an unlucky day of the week as well as the number thirteen (13) is considered unlucky.  The origins of this superstition cannot truly be determined but it appears to be a modern creation or should I say sociological practice. Perhaps from the numerical perspective the number thirteen (13) is the odd number just past the number twelve (12) which makes it unlucky. What? In the Catholic religion there are the twelve Apostles of Jesus, in other cultures there are twelve gods, each month has twelve days and each box of a dozen donuts has twelve (unless it is an unlucky baker’s dozen), etc, etc.
There are sky scrapers in our major cities that skip the 13th floor. The elevator passes the imaginary 13th floor going from the 12th floor to the 14th floor! Is the 14th floor not really the 13th floor just with a different number assigned to the label? There are airports without the 13th gate. Street sequences and house numbers that go from 12th Street to 13th Street and the 1200 block to the 1400 block, respectively. Get the picture? This is a very silly superstition indeed. In the modern world Friday is considered from a business perspective to be an unlucky day to start a project or to take a journey. It appears that these two ill-fated associations combined together create a super unlucky day for those stricken with bad luck. Why? Did anyone think – media? Please read the human assumptions of how this superstition originated and one would better understand that the very discussions of how it originated are perhaps for the same reasons that the superstition exists in the first place – human imagination and the confirmation bias in which we seek information that confirms our beliefs rather than discredits them. If we believe the day to be unlucky we will seek all events that are perceived as unlucky to confirm our belief and disregard all other events that prove otherwise. Why could I not win the Lottery on Friday the 13th?
In our culture, on Friday the 13th some 17 to 21 million people that are affected with this pseudo-psychological disorder disrupt their lives because they were never taught the truth about superstitions. Can’t their psychologist or psychiatrists tell them the truth – that is for those that seek treatment for their anxiety associated with Friday the 13th? Is it because the truth is really unknown so there is nothing to explain but speculation? People refuse to fly, stay home, and businesses refuse to conduct normal business operations on this ill-fated double whammy of a bad luck day! We perpetuate this silly phenomenon throughout our culture (but not everywhere) for reasons unknown other than the concept of luck or bad luck. What is luck, anyway?
Luck is defined as success or failure brought by chance rather than one’s own actions. So the definition of luck is very similar to the definition of random. Random is defined as made, done or happening without method or conscious decision. By definition are luck and random just about the same thing? Given these definitions we can begin to investigate and attempt to understand that this superstition conceivably developed or was exasperated during the “Enlightenment Period” when humans began grasping true scientific inquiry and methods in favor of religious dogma. It appears that the sharing of scientific method by those practicing it was inadequate for the masses to fully understand science and mathmatics and it still is today. Perhaps, random is the word used by scientists and luck is the term used by the masses.
Those involved in early scientific exploration and development of science failed to teach the very concepts to the masses so that they the masses could comprehend them. The masses attempted to understand and define life on their own regardless of science. Perhaps the masses developed the concept of lucky and unlucky to explain observed daily random events that caused anxiety. From an anthropological perspective religion helps people in all cultures deal with the stress and anxiety of daily living. The association of luck and bad-luck with a day and a number is merely a human psychological method to understand and explain daily stress and anxiety. Of course this is merely speculation on my part and would require much detailed investigation and scientific study. Maybe it is not true at all. But the truth about superstitions should be made available to the public so that they better understand that our lives are governed by a series of random events that constantly seek regression to the mean. Regardless of how we try to control our life events they are going to happen in random fashion.  We will judge these as good, bad or neutral or lucky or unlucky and we will seek the good (lucky) but remember the bad (unlucky) for we are human and that might be how our minds function for our very survival.


1 comment:

  1. I found this to be pretty interesting. Don't really believe in superstition especially the whole Friday the 13th bad luck. I know people with bad luck and i've had my share of it as i'm sure everyone else has had it and it doesn't just take place on the 13th. I really think its dumb when tattoo shops do 13 dollar tattoos when its Friday the 13th, then a bunch of crazed teens go out and get em done.