a Few Kind Words For Superstition Summary

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In his essay “A Few Kind Words for Superstition,” Robertson Davies
focuses on people’s attitude towards superstitions and the four main types of superstition. Through his essay, he implies that people may hesitate to admit in believing superstitions, yet it is something they take part in, as shown at the university he attended.

Davies explains how unreasonable things such as Parapsychology,
UFO’S, miracle cures, and transcendental meditation are disapproved in our societies; however, superstition is slightly objected by many people. He states there are four forms of superstition, as proven by theologians. The first one is “Vain Observances,” which is formed by beliefs. Davies defines Vain Observances with an example of how his professor spilled some salt, and then threw a pinch of it over his shoulder to “hit the devil in the eye.” The second form is known as “Divination,” which is based on being guided by a religious group. Davies shows this form through the example of how thousands of people, including one of his professors, refer to the I Ching for good advice. The third form is a common one shown at many university exams, when lucky items are placed on the student’s desks. This form is known as “Idolatry.” “Improper Worship of the True God” is the fourth form, which Davies displays through an engineering student and how he placed a two-dollar bill everyday on the altar of the college chapel, to bribe god to help him with girl issues.

Davies states that superstition seems to exist in humans from the beginning of
their kind, but they have a difficult time admitting it. He conveys that superstition appears very early in life, as shown through the example of when kids fear that stepping on a crack in the sidewalk will bring ill fortune. It also carries on as people grow older, as shown through the example of Dr. Samuel Johnson, who found it necessary to touch every post he passed. Davies explains many superstitions are common, broad, and very ancient....

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