Monday, February 22, 2016

Cultural Pathology in India-4-SUPERSTITIONS

Lack of logic: To me, this is the biggest mental symptom in the Indians ( I am an Indian and so I may have the same symptom……. who knows???) A lack of logic and magical thinking is highly prevalent in the Indian population and seems to be unaffected by factors like education, intelligence and exposure to facts! To me this lack of logic or magical thinking or Denial as the Freudians call it is a huge barrier to successful and happy adjustment .

Let me tell you some examples of the unrealistic expectations, I came across in my clients:

Teens and their parents: Many parents dragged their teenage kids to me for counselling to improve their academic performances. They would ask/demand for pills to improve memory, pills to improve intelligence, hypnosis to improve their performance in exams.

On assessment, most of these kids were average or low average and their parents expected spectacular academic performances from them. They believed that if the kid only worked harder, he could get 100% in mathematics or 99 in physics or whatever. No amount of explaining or counselling would dispel the expectations they had of their kids. I was distressed to see a person who had a son with developmental delay who was giving him pills (from Himalayan Drug company) to improve his IQ as was promised by the person who prescribed it.

An illogical belief in prayers, worship, rituals, mantras, etc to cure mental illness: Many clients to the department of psychiatry, especially those from rural areas, lower socio-economic status, lower literacy levels usually took the family member suffering from mental or physical illness to black magicians, priests to get them cured as they believed the cause of the problems was black magic done by some jealous person and removing the black magic will cure them. What left me irritated was that a lot of literate people too held these beliefs. By literate I mean those with at least college level education and some with science majors!
Going in unprepared, in the belief that things will 'somehow' workout: This is another illogical practice I have observed in me, many Indian children and adults. Many Indians (and maybe people of other nationalities too but I do not know of them) go to many important events totally or partially unprepared and hope that  'luck' will get them good outcomes! I have seen students who whiled away their time and went unprepared for exams and expected some good fortune to happen to them to give them a pass with good marks! I have seen adults go to interviews without preparation, hoping that they will be 'lucky' and get the job! I have seen people expecting good luck to take care of them and they never try to take to do the logical thing to get a favourable outcome i.e.  planning ,doing what is needed  and by working hard!

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