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Poll: Are you superstitious?
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 19:42
Nov 24, 2006

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Are you superstitious?".

This poll was originally submitted by Marion Schimmelpfennig

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see:


Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:42
+ ...
Sometimes? Nov 24, 2006

If someone's superstitious sometimes, that person's superstitious.


Hipyan Nopri  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:42
Member (2005)
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Not at all Nov 24, 2006

I completely do not believe in superstition. Instead, I believe that everything is governed by the one and almighty God.
We should always try to do our best, and the final decision is made by Him.


Mathieu Masselot
Local time: 04:42
German to French
+ ...
Astonishing poll here on Proz but why not Nov 25, 2006

In the past I used to be superstitious. As one could surely understand, it has somehow something to do with religion.
Since I lost my belief in any God, I stopped being superstitious and found out how much happier I became.

If I still were superstitious, I think I wouldn't have any time to think about that because translation is definitely a job taking too much time. Anyway, I wouldn't be able to include such a belief anymore in my allday life.

Understand me good: Don't be superstitious...
...because it brings bad luck!icon_wink.gif

Happy translating!


Claudia Aguero  Identity Verified
Costa Rica
Local time: 21:42
Spanish to English
+ ...
Does it really exist? Nov 25, 2006

Not at all. I don't think that such beliefs or practices can affect a person's life.
How can walking under a ladder or spilling the salt can affect my life?


Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
English to German
+ ...
The Superstitious Rat Nov 25, 2006

Superstition is usually considered a purely human affliction through which we hope to establish some ORDER in, and gain some CONTROL over, the capricious uncertainty of the world around us. But it can be fairly easily produced in animals, such as the laboratory rat (as well as pigeons. A rat is released from its cage into an area about three feet long with a food tray on the far side. Ten seconds after the rat's arrival, food is dropped into the tray. If the rat gets to the tray LESS than ten seconds after its release, it gets no food.

Before long the rat, with its PRACTICAL mind manages "to put two and two together." Since it takes the rat only two seconds to run directly to the food tray, the extra time has to be spent in a way that is basically alien to the rat's normal inclination to head straight for food. Under these circumstances the delay acquires a pseudocausal significance; whatever the rat does during these eight seconds, becomes, in the rat's eyes, the "necessary" action that "produces", or is "rewarded" by, the appearance of food.

These behavior patterns, of course, vary from rat to rat, which gives them a particularly capricious aspect: back-and-forth movements, a certain number of pirouettes to the right or the left, jumps (which the rat may have done purely accidentally at first), are faithfully repeated time after time. And every time the rat finds food in the tray, its belief is confirmed that this particular behavior is what produces the food.

These types of behavior are the obvious equivalent of COMPULSIVE human superstitions, which are often based on the vague belief that they are required by some "divine experimenter."

From "How Real is Real?" by Paul Watzlawick


Robert Zawadzki (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:42
English to Polish
+ ...
I answered not... Nov 25, 2006

... but I believe in Murphy's laws.

[Edited at 2006-11-25 09:13]


Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:42
English to Arabic
+ ...
Not so much superstitious as obsessive-compulsive... Nov 25, 2006 believing that something bad will happen if I step on the cracks of the pavement, or that I have to do something a certain number of times to ward off evil. Silly thoughts that I just make up to annoy myself. Thank goodness I only have a very mild form of that disease, and it's decreasing with age!


Thomas Pfann  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:42
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
"Superstition is the poetry of life" Nov 25, 2006

Goethe said that, not meicon_wink.gif

I answered "Sometimes", as although I wouldn't really call myself superstitious I usually try not to walk under ladders, for example.

Generally, though, I tend to be more aware of superstitions which mean something positive (like the four-leave clover thing and stuff like that), and don't give a flip about superstitions which supposedly bring bad luck - that's probably because of my ever optimistic and positve nature.


Erik Hansson  Identity Verified
Member (2002)
+ ...
Sometimes vs. Yes? Nov 25, 2006

Because I'm not a superstitious person I voted for "No" in this poll. I don't think that the colour of the cat (black cat in Sweden) or the direction which any cat crosses the street (from left to right in Germany) could cause me any bad luck. Also, I certainly don't think that I would get good luck if the same cat crosses the street from right to left. That's just hocus pocus and has nothing to do with rational life.

But for others, where is the borderline between the options "Sometimes" and "Yes" in this poll? From a logical point of view, any person voting for "Yes" must then always be superstitious, every second of the day watching out for everything which could be any sign for good or bad luck. It must be physically exhausting, and from a medical point of view it's not far from obsession.

Thanks for bringing up this topic, Marion. Again, it would have been be good to know other factors here, e.g. age and gender, but of course not possible in a quick poll.


Erik Hansson ( SFÖ )
Technical translator DE-SV
Hansson Übersetzungen GmbH
ProZ profile


Maciek Drobka  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:42
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
It's funny you should link superstitiousness with religion... Nov 25, 2006

Mathieu Masselot wrote:

In the past I used to be superstitious. As one could surely understand, it has somehow something to do with religion.
Since I lost my belief in any God, I stopped being superstitious and found out how much happier I became.

My experience is exactly the opposite. Before I discovered God, I was very superstitious. Since then I can only second what Hipyan Nopri said.




Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:42
English to Turkish
+ ...
Sometimes vs. Yes Nov 25, 2006

On the contrary, I find the options very clever. Now, 'superstitious' is sort of a pejorative attribute. People won't say "Yes, I am superstitious". (See the poll itself.) Those who have some superstitions (which means, those who have superstitions, thus are superstitious) are likely to choose 'Sometimes', instead of 'Yes'. But the real problem is with the ones who choose 'No'. I think the most orthodox superstitious are most likely to be found within this group. They are not likely to characterize their superstition as superstition, at all, but as knowledge or belief or truth. So, it is really not possible to know superstitious people by their self-assessment. But perhaps we may conduct a check by asking 'Are you a positivist?'icon_smile.gif

As for me, I am superstitious, because it has a very high level of success, which is 50%. The cat either brings good luck or bad luck. The baby of that pregnant woman is either a girl or a boy. If you play lottery right after some stupid bird flying overhead sh*t on your hair, you either win or lose... etc. Scientific study takes decades to attain a success level of 50%, if at all.

Thank you for the poll, Marion. Hope we have such lovely polls every weekend. Keeping my fingers crossed...


sofiablu (X)
Local time: 04:42
Religion is Superstition Nov 25, 2006

[quote]Mathieu Masselot wrote:

In the past I used to be superstitious. As one could surely understand, it has somehow something to do with religion.
Since I lost my belief in any God, I stopped being superstitious and found out how much happier I became.

Thank you very much, Mathieu! I totally, totally, totally and forever and ever agree with you.


Elisabetta M.  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:42
English to French
+ ...
"I am not superstitious... it brings bad luck!" Nov 25, 2006

I am sorry not to remember who said that! Have a nice week-end!


sylvie malich
Local time: 04:42
German to English
OH NO!! Nov 25, 2006

I'm poster number 13!


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