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Recently I had
the opportunity to walk from one side at the Sydney Harbour Bridge
to the other. Now there's two reasons why I did this walk:
One because when I was a very little girl, my family
did the exact same walk. The second reason
is because since 2006 I have been completely
and utterly terrified a bridges. For me
managing a breach is a challenge and the Balti Bridge
in particular is determined to kill me. There's nothing you can do
to make me be convinced otherwise. I just know that one day I'll be driving over it
and it will just tip me over like a mcveigh is Street
and throw me into the Yarra River. The Narrows Bridge
is also waiting to get me. It's just biding its time on a foggy day.
I just know it. The only way that I manage
to deal with my fear bridges is by engaging
in a superstitious behavior by having with me a teddy bear.
For some reason
I am firmly convinced that bridges I'm not going to hurt
teddy bears.
more recently I've discovered that somehow the songs Robbie Williams
are very useful too in helping me get over bridges.
I like to think of myself as a rational person.
I like to think of myself as a skeptical person:
that I keep my mind open
but not so open that my brain falls out. And yet here I am
completely and utterly subject to this superstitious behavior.
Superstitions fascinate me and in fact it became the focus at a thesis I did here
at this university
here at UWA. One my favorite researchers, Stuart Vicey
talks about superstitions, and he says that it is often considered to be
natural phenomena that is attributed to
supernatural or occult reasons.
Or often its beliefs that should be based upon an understanding of science
but somehow we attribute to external forces controlling us.
Fate. More often not we look at superstitions and think of them in terms
of luck
we try to gain good luck and avoid bad luck.
In my research I had the opportunity to look at cultural influences
on superstition. Crossing one's fingers, for example,
might be seen as something that mean help you get good luck
and yet many of us might just do it out of force of habit.
It loses its power. We say to each other that "Oh, I cross my fingers for you", but we
don't really think it's going to have that much of an influence.
Walking under a letter, for example, might not be something you
avoid to you doing due to bad luck but more because you don't want a
bucket of paint to land on your head. Some of the more famous research
done into superstitions include that by BF Skinner
where we looked at superstition in the pigeon. In fact that was the name in the
that he wrote about superstitions. He discovered that
with operant conditioning offering pigeons food
they would often dance in preparation
before the food came to them and somehow they seemed to believe
that this behavior would bring the food to them. And that's one of the
interesting things about superstitions:
you can believe what you like whether or not be
teddy bears protecting you from nasty bridges
all the particular dance you do to bring you food
it's when you start taking them into action that we can become concerned.
We can all be subject to superstitions.
We can all find ourselves overwhelmed by the irrational
and particularly if we are in groups. But how do we deal with this
and when is the line crossed when as
Stevie Wonder says to superstition not become the way?
And what's the harm is something that I like to look at.
When do we start questioning? When you stop taking a stand?
And of course the actions of superstitious people can be varied.
For example urology is the belief that drinking one's own urine - or urotherapy -
is somehow going to be beneficial to your health.
Of course this is misguided thinking.
The science behind urotherapy is completely flawed.
When we expel urine, we are
regulating the body, we are getting rid of electrolytes.
Also the practice, in my opinion, is completely and utterly gross.
And that's something you should ask yourself when people make claims
which are not based upon science fact is it
due to perhaps the placebo effect I want to my favorite researchers in this field
include Simon Singh and its audience you point out that the
misguided thinking behind such practice like your therapy
and other alternative medicines could possibly be to you
the placebo effect when it becomes
even larger when superstitions become endorsed
by entire countries almost and Inc
becomes a question of human rights people can take a stand
for example ERA qua is a human rights activists from Nigeria
one of the things that he does is attempt to find
superstitious beliefs which result in the persecution
children and women in East Africa
stepping stones Nigeria is a group that tries to provide support for children
who are being killed injured cast out of their tribal lands
due to the belief that there which is he sits
one particular powerful documentary which is again banja
looks at women who have been persecuted due to the belief that they are
supernatural economist
unfortunately this is not a problem that is like to just to Africa
even in Papua New Guinea 2013 concerns about women being persecuted
due to the belief that there which is continue
so what you doing when the superstition of the way
well personally awareness is one way to take a stand
when it becomes a question human rights when
it becomes a Stewart by ceases a question your time
your money your health that others have your loved ones
then you have to start thinking to yourself how can this be dealt with
I personally take steps in small ones anything from
helping people like me are required by getting his message out joining the
amnesty International
all acknowledging that some superstitions
can be challenged such as celebrating Black Cat day
on who was the 17th by cats often persecuted
due to the belief that the accursed
I moderate myself I look at myself and say
well my belief in teddy bears
is helping me get across bridges but can I find alternatives
sometimes seen the teddy bear picnic helps when I'm going across a bridge
if Robbie Williams ever does a cover version of the teddy bears picnic on Sat
not be well and truly the most confident woman in the world but
all life for that and finally realizing we can all be fooled
we can all have these quakes we can all have these little elements
are irrationality within us recognizing that the dancing pigeon can just as
easily be an ass
something to keep in mind superstition at the way
Stevie Wonder said
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【TEDx】Superstition ain't the way: Kylie Sturgess at TEDxPerth

1891 Folder Collection
Sunny Yuan published on December 5, 2014
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