Superstition and Monopoly Capitalism
by Cinque Brown
Many of us claim that we are not superstitious or have NO superstitions. The majority
of the time this is only talk. Superstition is defined as a irrational belief in the
ominous significance of a particular thing or circumstance. The reality is that we all
have superstitions about some things in our life. Some of us disguise our superstitions as
rituals. My indictment includes the religious, agnostic, spiritualist and atheists among
I claim that I am not superstitious and I honestly could care less about black cats, (lived with one, 12 of the best years of my life), opening umbrella indoors, laying hats on a woman's bed, walking under a ladder, broken mirrors etc. All of the aforementioned things are acts that people are not supposed to commit (or) otherwise they will be jinxed with bad luck.
None of these things will bring a person any bad luck, but people take these events very serious. I think that luck is when preparation meets opportunity. So what is bad luck? It seems that bad luck must be lack of preparation or not having a opportunity. I guess this could mean that there is no such thing as luck? "Proving this theory", would be like trying to prove that there is no such thing as fate or destiny. This analysis would probably lead you to believe that I pay no attention to "old wives tales", especially when you compound that with my background
as a Science Teacher.
You are correct about me; most of the time. There are times when I fall prey to superstitious beliefs and ideas. To give you a better idea, let me tell you about my illogical quackery. One of my favorite songs is a song by the Temptations called "Papa was a rollin stone". In that song, there is a verse which goes something like this "it was the third of September, that day I'll always remember, yes I will, cause that was the day, that my daddy died, never got a chance to meet him, never heard nothing but bad things about him, mama I'm depending on you to show me the truth." You see, I always skip the part where it says "that was the day that my daddy died." For some reason I feel like if I recite the verse, I am in some way contributing toward a premature but inevitable death of my father. I know this belief is nonsense but I don't sing that part of one of my favorite songs because of this superstition.
Why do we rely on the absurd, when the logical part of our brain assures us, that the thought is absurd? Have we been conditioned into being illogical about our reality? Is it that we don't trust logic? Many black people probably don't trust their logic because it tells us that, shit ain't gonna get no better for us if we leave it up to white folk to correct. And we are very superstitious about entrusting whites with our liberty and upliftment.
I remember when several teammates of mine pledged with me to leave our jersey's soiled because it was good luck since we had won our first football game in those jerseys, what about the previous three we had lost. We washed those jersey's didn't we?
Stevie Wonder also made a song out of this phenomena, in his song called "Superstition". Stevie made it very clear what he was talking about, he said "when you believe in things that you don't understand then you suffer". All I can say is "ain't that the truth"!
This subtle plot may help you understand why many say that Monopoly Capitalism or Capitalism is so great. I know people who stopped speaking to me because I highlighted some of the faults of capitalism as they related to black people and women in a growlingly racist society. Out of Forbes list, of the richest 400 people in America, there is only one Black person, Oprah Winfrey. In the United States you have approximately 5 percent of the people who control 90% of the country's wealth. (This to me represents the real five percent nation) According to economist , David-----it is actually only 1 % who control 90% of the wealth in his book "American Capitalism alias Feudalism" he outlines the reasons why the American Government befriends so many foreign dictators, why the American dream of the 50's has become the American nightmare of the 80's and beyond, why the number of American billionaires suddenly doubled in 1986, quadrupled by 1987 and went eight fold by 1990, while at the same time the number of soup kitchens around the country and the world increased dramatically. These are just a few of the highlights. For such a rich nation we sure do rival "third world" nations when it comes to the homeless situation, especially here in New York City.
According to statistics, 80% of the people in New York play the lottery.
Everybody knows that a lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math. When I was in
graduate school, my statistics professor would love to poke fun at a person's chance of
winning the lottery. He would show us our chances at actually wining, any given lottery. A
person's chance at winning New York Lotto, (NY's Lottery) in which you had to randomly
select six numbers was about 0.001295%, if I am not mistaken. That is why millions lose
each week and sometimes nobody wins. To satisfy our disbelief the class would say things
like "what if we brought 100 tickets" and then we would go through the
calculations again. Our chances would jump to something like 0.001309%.If you know
anything about math or empirical data, you know that this is tantamount to no chance at
all. With those odds, technically it is fair to say that each person has only a
"theoretical chance" at winning. Everybody would be banging there calculators
thinking that there numbers were wrong. Believe it or not, if you brought a million
tickets and played the six number permutation
differently each time, your chances of winning won't even reach 10%. However we cannot ignore the fact that people win, weekly or biweekly also.
The masses of people will ignore their own actual statistical chance at winning because they know that the possibility to win, does exist. Mostly everybody who plays, swears that god is gonna smile down on their humble servitude, screw the fact that there are billions of people on this planet, all needy, most needing money. Ignore the reality that statistically you have a higher chance of finding some money than winning some. Only in capitalism is this a viable (believable) economic paradigm for the masses of people.
Annually I go to Atlantic City, where gambling is legal. I know the slot machines are fixed and I am not good at the cards stuff, but I still manage to go. I set aside a very limited "donation" for the casinos (fifty dollars) . If I win I will put some of it back in the machine hoping to get "lucky" again. The average person will lose it all again.
The economic and social systems in the United States, creates policies that do not allow for the average person (YOU) the adequate time and resources to take advantage of the things that sound good on paper. On the dollar bill you will find the words E Pluribus Unum which means "One out of Many" that should tell you something. So as you superstitiously pay, I mean play the lottery. You will rationalize, "hey you gotta be in it, to win it".