Why does superstition exists?
“The world is both physical and spiritual. Science has tried, on its part, to demystify some physical phenomena while the spiritual world still remains very mysterious. In order to interpret the spiritual world, our cultures have provided some formulae for this in the form of superstition and myths etc. Hence, superstition is the belief that the supernatural has influences in our daily lives which can result to some good or bad, depending on how we relate to it.
Superstition exists for several reasons. It enhances the relationship between people and the supernatural. You are not expected to sweep the floor in the night and empty dirt outside at night. It is believed that the family gods always come into the home at such hours to take care of the family during the night. So, by throwing dirt, you throw out the gods. Secondly, you have to pour some palm wine or any drink on the floor or at the door step immediately you open it so as to appease the gods who are taking care of you, else, you will lose their relationship and be abandoned to yourself.
In most cultures, people believe that the unknown influences their politics, economy, social interactions etc. It is then an obligation to respect or obey the unknown. Superstition is also used to interpret the mystical world. People grow up to believe in some ancient stories which becomes a way for them to interpret the things of the natural and supernatural worlds. Furthermore, superstition enhances enculturation. It is used to educate children in some cultures about the "Dos" and "Don'ts", in the context of morality.
Can one say superstition is advantageous?
Yes and no because the answer is relative. Like in the case of enculturation earlier mentioned, some parents use superstition to educate their children. I remember that when we were young, our parents would send us to fetch water and throw spittle on the ground telling you that your throat will be dry if you delayed. This taught us to be focused on what we do and avoid playing always to avoid failure. Imagine how you would exist with a dry throat, it was strange. It also helps in preserving some of our fast disappearing cultures. Superstition also helps in keeping a positive relationship between an individual and what he believes in. On the other hand, some people think that superstition is irrational.
In some cul - tures, it was believed that when children ate eggs, they ended up becoming thieves. You see here that what the child needs as proteins to grow is instead prohibited for consumption.