Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Book Report: Believing in Magic

Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition, by Stuart Vyse, offers a great introduction into the world
of superstition. In this book, you’ll read about the history of superstitions, along with the reasoning as to
why people still believe in superstitions to this day. Vyse is balanced in his approach, and he demonstrates
his knowledge in both psychology and superstition, while presenting it from many different perspectives.
By introducing the subject in this way, almost anyone could read this book, regardless of what their opinion
is about superstitions. With his extensive research into why people, even celebrities, politicians, and athletes,
put so much weight on superstitious beliefs, you get a good understanding of just how many people believe
in superstitions. This book is a great read no matter what your viewpoint is on superstition, and anyone
could find at least one thing in this book interesting.
I really enjoyed reading the entire book, but my favorite part was in the chapter labeled “Growing up
Superstitious”. In this chapter, Vyse wrote about superstitious things we learn in our childhood and some
really resonated with me. I had never thought about the rhymes and sayings I learned as a child as being
superstitious. I remember learning “Find a penny, pick it up. All day long you’ll have good luck”, and
“Step on a crack, and you’ll break your mother’s back”. I liked the section about Magical Thinking in Childhood,
because it delved into the way children think based on the theories of Piaget.
I am an education major so I could relate to this connection to superstition in the minds of children. This chapter
specifically relates back into our course because it gives examples of how and why we think the way we do,
right from birth. Vyse talks about Piaget’s perspective that children are realists, and that they have a hard time
distinguishing between thought and reality when it comes to themselves in relation to the external world.
According to Vyse, superstition is taught to us as children. When we are young we believe what we are told
and we don’t think to question it. skepticism is not a characteristic we are naturally born with, and we only learn
to be skeptical of what we are being told when we become adults.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and the new insight it has given me into the world of superstition. I hope that
I can apply the same open-minded perspective that Vyse has when it comes to understanding how people can
see things differently than I do. Learning the history and background of superstition I can now understand why
some beliefs, as silly as they may seem, carry such importance to people and even to entire cultures. While I
have always considered myself as being open to other people’s ideas, my takeaway from this book is that
regardless of what it may be relating to, if I do my own research to learn why they have this idea to begin with
then I can be more understanding of what they believe.
This video I have included is by the same author as the book and gives a little bit of information about
superstition with an interactive video. For anyone that is a visual and/or auditory learner, this is a great
source of information that is a on smaller scale from everything I learned in this book.

This video I have included is a funny commercial by FedEx about how superstitions can affect how we live
our daily lives.

I also included a flyer I made about "How to Adopt a Black Cat (Without Getting Bad Luck)"

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