Daily Tao / 160 – Superstition

ghosts

The voices of ghosts are so familiar,
They whisper to me every day.
You, so young and rich,
Make assumptions with absolute assurance.
I vacillate between superstition and tradition.
You don’t need to question.

Tradition is the oral delivery of rites and customs from generation to generation. Superstition is belief inconsistent with what society generally considers true and rational. When tradition and superstition become bound together, it is a sign of trouble. For example, a woman was once taught not to wash her hair on anybody’s birthday. Whenever she protested this, the answer was “Don’t question!” Years later, she learned that in the old country, letting one’s hair down was a sign of mourning and thus inauspicious on a birthday. What was etiquette in one generation became superstition in another.

Those raised with traditions and superstitions are often torn between the extremes of biculturalism. Their inbred beliefs conflict with current knowledge and quickly changing culture, creating doubt and uncertainty.

There has to be informed revision to all tradition if it is not to degenerate into superstition. The true substance of any tradition will take new form without compromising its inherent character. If not, it will just become the outmoded beliefs of old people, and it will fade into ghostly whispers.

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