Kemo D. (kemo_d7) wrote,
Kemo D.

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The Evil Eye

The "evil" eye throughout history..

They've always said that the eye is the window to the "soul." Perhaps the real truth is that it is the window of intent. We use our eyes to correct misbehaving children, we shoot a look of incredulity when someone says something ridiculous, and we even advise our friends and family to "always look him in the eye" when we go to job interviews. The eye is our most "powerful" organ in social interaction. We are fixated on it, and we use it against others to show our emotion. 

When used against us, we fear it because we know that it means something bad. Ancient tribesmen were terrified by the eyes of wild animals watching them in the forest; at any moment the creature could pounce, and in the modern world we still fear being watched. Our brains are designed to fear the eye. But does it have anything other than superficial power? Folklore attributes the underlying power of the eye to envy. 

Coveting a neighbor's property was thought to create the evil eye, intentionally or unintentionally. Eyeing the neighbor's prized cow could have been at fault for its untimely death, looking enviously at a prime crop could cause it to wither, and seeing your neighbor's wealth with envy could cause them to lose it. Children were thought to be particularly susceptible to the evil eye, a belief arising from the numbers of unexplainable infant deaths before modern medicine identified their causes. A barren women could be blamed for bringing the evil eye on a child, subconsciously jealous that she could not have her own. 

Folklorist and UC Berkeley professor Alan Dundes once made the case that the evil eye's effects almost always involved withering, drying and death. This explains the remedies seen in many cultures which always seem to involve wetness. One remedy for countering the evil eye was the practice of washing the ground after a person with the eye had passed through, and the Jewish custom that fish were immune to the eye because they were always wet.

Kemo D. (a.k.a. no.7)

Tags: mysteries of life
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