Essays, Analyses and Meditations

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The Origin of Superstition

  • Human brains are equipped with the faculty to create a theory of mind.
  • We can speculate on what another person is thinking, and in many case we get it right.
  • That faculty is due to our brain's ability to expect and recognize patterns of behavior.
  • We apply the same logic to "animate" objects, for example a tree that is swinging and making a sound because of the wind, or a thunder, or the moon. We assign them a mental life.
  • That is the origin of the spirits that populated Nature in primitive societies.
  • Our brain naturally tends to explain a pattern of movement as caused by a mind.
  • We recognize things not as objects but as subjects.
  • When we see the pattern but we don't see the "thing", we assign minds to invisible subjects, such as gods.
  • Monotheism is the belief that the pattern of all patterns has a mind, is a subject.