Tuesday, August 9, 2016

(Book Report) Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition, by Stuart Vyse

After reading Stuart Vyse's book Believing in Magic over the past couple days I have concluded that I have a few superstitious beliefs. For example: When I do something like read a book or do homework I like to do it all at one time. Why do I do this? I'm not completely sure. Maybe because I've formed a habit that makes me feel comfortable when doing something I don't really want to do. Stuart's book really helped me become aware of these small idiosyncrasies I have and to me that's exactly what the book wants to accomplish. Vyse really analyzes why people believe in the things they do even when rational thinking says to believe otherwise. He demonstrates how most people have a superstitious belief and then asks why? In the book he goes over everything such as: individual personality traits, cultural beliefs, mental illness, you name it. all to get to the bottom of why people hold the beliefs they do even when they defy logic.

I think my favorite part of this book is Chapter 7: A Magical View of the World, because it answers the question of "okay now that I know that I'm superstitious what can I do about it?" He says a couple ways to stop superstitious thinking is to teach critical thinking or promote science education to young children. These small steps can help stop the development of a superstitious belief system and replace it with a logic based belief system.

I'm actually extremely happy I chose to read this book with the course. I don't know if I would have liked the other books more, but I plan to read them just because of how much I enjoyed Vyse's book and this course. What I loved is that the book and course seemed to be designed to bring awareness to us psychologically. There were so many times I caught my self and analyzed the superstitious thought that passed through my head. Why was I having it? Where did it originate? Does it logically make sense? The course was almost like cognitive behavioral therapy for me haha.
In conclusion, I found that a book and course like this should be read/taken by everyone at some point during their lives. I took a poll of 30 random people asking if they believed in magic or held any superstitious beliefs. Out of the 30 random people I asked all of them answered yes to the questions. I could only imagine this on a larger scale. This course, my little experiment, and the book show that most people hold superstitious beliefs and some are harmful to people. That's why I think people need to become self aware and disregard the harmful beliefs by reading a book like Vyse's.

No comments:

Post a Comment