Froggy went a courtin’ in India

I started reading a book this morning called The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking by Matthew Hutson and so far it looks like it’ll be interesting. The point of the book is to outline how everyone, no matter if religious or atheist, will have odd beliefs that defy logic. This reminded me of an article that I read last week about a rain bringing ritual in India:

Farmers in Berhampur, India have staged a ‘frog wedding’ in an attempt to bring rain to the region.

After weeks of intense, dry heat, residents decided to carry out the age-old ritual, which is believed to please the rain gods.

A full Hindu wedding ceremony took place at a local temple, as attendees blew trumpets and sang songs.

The frog ‘couple’ were adorned with flowers and tinsel as locals chanted Hindu hymns and farmers put colourful streaks of powder on the female frog’s head.

It seems the custom may have worked, as reports suggest that the current weather in Berhampur is stormy with “100% chance of precipitation”.

Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? So does the notion that a person’s belongings retain an essence of the person long after they’ve died but people will still revere trinkets and clothing and upright pianos if we think someone important once owned or touched them.

We just seem geared toward making room in their heads for any and all kind of nonsense. I suppose that’s what makes us human. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do all we can to be aware of the absurdities of it, though. The more we know of the reasons why we react like we do, the more we can do to consciously override the worst of it. Assuming people have reached the point where they want to…

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4 Responses to Froggy went a courtin’ in India

  1. tmso says:

    I think that’s the crux – it is whether they *want* to give it up.

  2. jackrroo says:

    Ok, what exactly is it that the farmers in Berhampur believe? That’s to say, I think you assume a lot based on the very brief article. Imagine yourself living in, say, Berhampur, and reading a report of similar length and detail in the daily paper early in February how people gathered in a certain town in Pennsylvania to see if a certain large ground squirrel woke up to see his shadow in order to determine when winter was to end….

  3. Ken says:

    I don’t think we all are victims of magical thinking. Being sentimental about grandma’s quilt or dad’s pocket knife doesn’t mean that you think that grandma or dad are magically part of the objects. I have some poetry my dad wrote that I’m sentimental about because it is a glimpse at the person that he was. I don’t want to loose it, but I know it’s not him.

    We may all be under false impressions about the nature of reality with some regards (confirmation bias, etc.), but some of us use science and rational thought as the foundation by which we formulate our opinions, and we recognize that our opinions are subject to change based on evidence. I read a list of magical thinking that was based on this book, and recognized all of them as such. Even the reverence for objects owned by historical figures or celebrities doesn’t hold purchase with me, and I know I’m not alone. The author would like to make people feel less stupid by saying that everyone is subject to magical thinking, but I think he’s being intellectually dishonest.

  4. Lurker111 says:

    I understand the frogs, as part of the honeymoon, were given free passes to dinner at a French restaurant.

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