Friday the 13th

I don’t know how many of you, my readers, are superstitious, but I’m not. Not that I know of, at least. For example, I don’t have a lucky shirt or a lucky pair of climbing shoes. I do have broken-in pairs of climbing shoes, but that is a much different matter than that of superstition. That’s a matter of practicality. Of course, it could be argued that superstition is a matter of practicality, too.

There are certain trends on Friday the 13th. For example, the inpatient psychiatric wards and psychiatric offices are much busier fielding emergencies on Friday the 13th than on your average day. Full moons offer the same types of activity in this area of medicine. If you get a full moon on Friday the 13th, look out! I find it interesting, too, that there is not a 13th floor on the elevators of tall buildings.

So what would happen if we simply didn’t have the number 13 in our counting system? What would we do without the number 13? Simple. We’d pick a different number to be “unlucky”! What is this all really about, though? Seriously. What drives our superstitious beliefs and behaviors? And how do these become universal in nature? I’ve had plenty of things that I could call “unlucky” happen on days other than a Friday that happens to be the 13th day of the month, but those dates aren’t universally known or recognized as “unlucky” days! I’m sure that you, my readers, can identify with that! So what’s the deal?

Well, there’s a lot that goes into Friday the 13th and superstition in general. Ancient lore, so-called “pagan” religions, and horror movie titles are just a few. Unfortunately enough, a lot of mental illness finds itself entwined along the way, too. Psychology and superstition both share the word paranoia, and being superstitious doesn’t mean you’re mentally ill, but for people who have psychotic or obsessive disorders, superstitious beliefs can lead to maladaptive functioning, even to the point of harm to self or others. As far as people without mental disorders go, a hysteria that accompanies the mob mentality can cause some major issues of the life and death sort as well. Look at the religious hysteria that has caused the live burnings of “witches” at the stake and the exorcisms of “possessed” persons in the past, and even into the present. I almost think that the Republicans and the Democrats could be having their own respective mass hysteria and superstition of sorts right now!!! Superstition is based on belief, and belief can lead in a lot of directions, and not all of those paths should be followed! If you really want my honest opinion, I think the whole world’s gone mad at the moment! I guess, though, just for today, that’s okay. It is Friday the 13th, after all!

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