Why is it that several religions feature things like:
- a statue that can hear your prayers, if you travel to see it
- a god who knows your thoughts wherever you happen to be
- statues that can hear your prayers, wherever you happen to be?
Boyer does a good job of explaining.
But perhaps he treats religion as too special a case - for instance it's not so different at work: in every company a thousand crazy
supersitions ideas, invocations policies and rituals best practices float down from the C-Suite high on the 29th floor and, on the surface at least, every manager subscribes to them all.
And most of the memes are tacitly recognised for the casual fly-by-night superstitions they are, observed but lightly, with the occasional sideways nod and wink to one's peers: the importance of keeping expenses within our budgets (which are fiction), the need to develop our staff (we poach 'em ready-trained, later they leave for money) the importance of offering 'flexible' working (a boom-time luxury)
While other doctrines – with, really, no more grounding in reality or logic – assume religious importance: believed by most, followed by all, challenged only by the cranks and the self-destructively reckless: the preparation of cost-benefit analyses to accompany any decision, the fiction that we are motivated by generating profits for our company, and returns for our shareholders, the importance of the annual bonus.
But the oddest thing of all is that - just as we know understand the difference insignificance between David and Goliath, and Jack and his Giant - so every manager instinctively knows the difference between the trivial and the serious, can distinguish superstition from the doctrine, but is only dimly aware of the dissonant implications.
Happily for me, this week I am not at work at all: it is half term and I am mostly skiing. Or to be more honest, mostly at standing in a cold, cramped corner of the chalet balancing my Jesus on the windowsill, trying to steal wi-fi from our neighbours.
If you are reading this it worked.