Monday, March 14, 2011

Safe Under the Covers of Superstition

I started posting videos on my YouTube channel a few weeks ago and where I think it's appropriate I'll cross-post them here. Here are my thoughts about the recent spate of "blaming the victim" that has all too predictably stalked the Japanese people in the wake of their ongoing national disaster.

A common belief, even among my non-religious friends, is that "everything happens for a purpose". It's hard to get people, even some very intelligent people, to shake this attitude about the world.

The alternative is to accept the fact that there is a randomness in and unpredictability to everyday life that results not only in harm to others, but also to ourselves. So these people imagine that there are rules to follow that will somehow exempt them from such tragedies, and they seize on the occurrence of a disaster, such as the one that has befallen Japan, as an opportunity to figure out what these rules are and why these poor souls were singled out for punishment and they, themselves, were not.

Sometimes this effort is tinged with malice or driven by an interest in settling old scores; dispensing Karmic comeuppance for past crimes. But more often than not this casting about for explanations is a way for these confused and benighted folks, behaving as frightened children would, to reassure themselves that they will be safe under the covers of superstition, and that they can return to sleeping soundly in the enveloping darkness.

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Safe Under the Covers of Superstition by Marc Merlin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at