Monday, May 05, 2008
Superstition is mavericky
John McCain won't take a salt shaker from your hand because it's unlucky. He won't throw a hat on a bed because it means death will soon visit. He carries a lucky penny, and a lucky nickel, and a lucky quarter, and a lucky four leaf clover, and a lucky feather, and a lucky compass. In the past he has also carried a lucky rock, a lucky pen, and worn lucky shoes. But he won't pick up an coins he finds unless they are heads up. If someone says something optimistic, he knocks on wood to avoid being jinxed. “Am I superstitious? I’m that,” he says. “But I don’t think I’m alone there.” Many people take comfort in being part of the crowd. It serves a purpose.The late paleontologist Jack Sepkoski explained it: "I see intelligence as just one of a variety of adaptations among tetrapods for survival. Running fast in a herd while being as dumb as shit, I think, is a very good adaptation for survival." Mavericks are still herd animals.