India seems to have had a rich history when it comes to mathematics. Our ancestors are supposed to have done great things such as inventing the numeral system that we used today. However, I’m not sure how good we have been at logic. I’m not talking about anything advanced here. I’m thinking of basic stuff such as one way implications.
What is common to the following superstitions/customs?
- You should never shave your head unless you are offering the hair to God
- You should never light a fire in front of your house
- You should never throw around vessels on the floor
The list goes on but I can’t remember anything else right now. However, I can assure you that there are several more of these. This is definitely not an exhaustive list, but it is most likely an exhausting list.
What connects all these is the fact that they are associated with death. You are supposed to shave your head when a parent dies. Similarly a fire is lit in front of the house when someone dies. And throwing around vessels is part of the death ceremonies.
What has happened is that all these one way implications have been misunderstood down the generations and have turned into two way implications. The rule states “if someone in the house dies, you light a fire in front of it”. And down a few dozen logically illiterate generations, it has been understood as “you light a fire in front of a house if and only if someone who lives there dies”. Note that suddenly, a one way implication has become a two way implication! Similarly with shaving your head and throwing around vessels. And with the rest of the exhausting list that I can’t remember at this point of time.
So the next time someone rebukes you regarding one of these stupid customs that are supposed to be “associated with death”, while they are only associated in one direction, tell them that they are saying this because they and their ancestors couldn’t understand simple logic.