Malocchio: The Italian “Evil Eye”
My father, an Italian American psychiatrist, would often impart curious pronouncements to his eight children which ranged from the brilliance of Enzo Ferrari after WW2 to the health benefits of a pasta-based diet. We wondered, wide-eyed and skeptical, if these troves of “wisdom” stemmed from his heritage, or from his profession (or from neither?) For example, he often warned of feeling too good, or riding too high as these episodes could portend a crash ahead. Hmmm…was this due to the Italian “evil eye,” or “Malocciho,” which is the belief that if someone stares or glazes inspired by jealousy or envy your good look or success, bad luck or misfortune will come your way. Or was it due to manic type cycles of the human brain with lows naturally following from highs? Whatever the origin of this belief, my dad was more often closer to right than wrong.
Indeed, we might see this wisdom as right on target for several cohorts right now: US investors, as well as residents of many parts of Florida. The present suffering of each of these groups follows from strings of exceptional fortune. The biblical devastation descended on Floridians by hurricane Ian last week occurred in the midst of a booming Florida economy: Florida has seen a mass migration since Covid with almost 1000 people moving there per day, 7 of the top 10 fastest-growing places in the U.S. in 2022-2023 are all in Florida, according to U.S. News & World Report, and Florida’s median home values have grown by 33.1% over the past year by over 78% over the past 5 years. The timing of this destruction is indeed ironic…but was it the result of “Malocchio?”
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