Superstition Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 174 quotes )
Superstitions, bigotries, hypocrisies, prejudices, these phantoms, phantoms though they be, cling to life; they have teeth and nails in their shadowy substance, and we must grapple with them individually and make war on them without truce; for it is one of humanity's inevitabilities to be condemned to eternal struggle with phantoms.
The dreadful superstition that it is possible to foresee the future shape of society serves to justify all kinds of violence in the name of that structure. It is enough for a person to free his thoughts, even temporarily, of this superstition and to look sincerely and seriously at the life of the nation for it to become clear to him that acceptance of the need to oppose evil with violence is nothing other than the justification people give to their habitual and favourite vices: vengeance, avarice, envy, ambition, pride, cowardice and spite.
A state of scepticism and suspense may amuse a few inquisitive minds. But the practice of superstition is so congenial to the multitude, that if they are forcibly awakened, they still regret the loss of their pleasing vision. Their love of the marvellous and supernatural, their curiosity with regard to future events, and their strong propensity to extend their hopes and fears beyond the limits of the visible world, were the principal causes which favoroud the establishment of Polytheism. So urgent on the vulgar is the necessity of believing, that the fall of any system of mythology will most probably be succeeded by the introduction of some other mode of superstition. (...) an object much less deserving would have been sufficient to fill the vacant place in their hearts.
If my duty to my parents is a superstition, then so is my duty to posterity. If justice is a superstition, then so is my duty to my country or my race. If the pursuit of scientific knowledge is a real value, then so is conjugal fidelity. The rebellion of new ideologies against the Tao is a rebellion of the branches against the tree: if the rebels could succeed they would find that they had destroyed themselves.
…We were born vampires." "I thought you became –" "— vampires by being bitten? Dear me, no. Oh, we can turn people into vampires, it’s an easy technique, but what would be the point? When you eat… now what is it you eat? Oh yes, chocolate… you don’t want to turn it into another Agnes Nitt, do you? Less chocolate to go around." He sighed. "Oh dear, superstition, superstition everywhere we turn.
Life will be wonderful when men no longer fear dying. When the last superstitions are thrown out and we meet death with the same equanimity as life. No longer will children's minds be twisted by evil gods whose fantastic origin is in those barbaric tribes who feared death and lightning, who feared life. That's it: life is the villain to to those who preach reward in death, through grace and eternal bliss, or through dark revenge.
Do stories, apart from happening, being, have something to say? For all my skepticism, some trace of irrational superstition did survive in me, the strange conviction, for example, that everything in life that happens to me also has a sense, that it means something, that life speaks to us about itself through its story, that it gradually reveals a secret, that it takes the form of a rebus whose message must be deciphered, that the stories we live compromise the mythology of our lives and in that mythology lies the key to truth and mystery. Is it an illusion? Possibly, even probably, but I can’t rid myself of the need continually to decipher my own life.
Why should the spread of ideas and people result in reforms that lower violence? There are several pathways. The most obvious is a debunking of ignorance and superstition. A connected and educated populace, at least in aggregate and over the long run, is bound to be disabused of poisonous beliefs, such as that members of other races and ethnicities are innately avaricious or perfidious; that economic and military misfortunes are caused by the treachery of ethnic minorities; that women don't mind to be raped; that children must be beaten to be socialized; that people choose to be homosexual as part of a morally degenerate lifestyle; that animals are incapable of feeling pain. The recent debunking of beliefs that invite or tolerate violence call to mind Voltaire's quip that those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
I’m always intrigued by my nonsensical concern with picking out a bunch of things that look exactly alike the ones that somehow I feel are the best and belong to me. It’s that same crazy urge or superstition, or whatever it is, that makes me open a Bible in a hotel room, hoping for some great happenstance spiritual word of advice. More often than not, I hit a long passage of begats and begots, which contain little inspiration other than the fact that procreation is the highest aim of life.
One of the reasons for its success is that science has a built-in, error-correcting machinery at its very heart. Some may consider this an overbroad characterization, but to me every time we exercise self-criticism, every time we test our ideas against the outside world, we are doing science. When we are self-indulgent and uncritical, when we confuse hopes and facts, we slide into pseudoscience and superstition.