“Belief in superstition brings bad luck.”
— Raymond Smullyan, 5000 BC
Commentary: I guess that means I should swear off my superstitions, then maybe my luck will improve. But, hey — isn’t that just a superstition? Raymond Smullyan isn’t the name of a man who lived 5000 years ago. He is a less-ancient New Yorker, 97 years old last May, who relishes puzzles and paradoxes. He also plays the piano. Among his many popular books about philosophical paradoxes and mathematical logic is one titled 5000 BC, from which the quote was taken.
I came across the quote yesterday in an epigraph at the beginning of Foucault’s Pendulum, by Umberto Eco, and assumed it was Eco up to his usual tricks, with imaginary quotes embodying playful logic. I googled the phrase and found a review stating baldly that the quote was made-up. Then I googled Raymond Smullyan…