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Magical thinking: the belief that one's ideas, thoughts, actions, words, or use of symbols can influence the course of events in the material world. "Magical thinking can be plotted on a spectrum, with skeptics at one end and schizophrenics at the other. People who endorse magical ideation, ranging from the innocuous to the outlandish, are more likely to have psychosis or develop it later in their lives."

An interesting article on Magical thinking. Most everyone does it in one form or another [psychologytoday.com]

By AwarenessNow7
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Did you really mean to say that actions can not influence the course of events in the world? Please explain. And remember that thoughts often precede actions.

You remark on the schizophrenic end of the spectrum of magical thinking, but the article goes on to say that the skeptical end of the spectrum also has its drawbacks. A certain amount of magical thinking might be desirable.

Yes, I fully acknowledge that the magical end of the spectrum can have its advantages, according to the article, but it can be a slippery slope.

That definition of magical thinking was not my own, so I'm not stating my opinion. I got the definition of magical thinking from verywellmind.com [verywellmind.com] I can't speak for the intention of the author of that definition and what they meant by action, but I suspect it may be a kind of action like prayer, as in "if I pray really hard I can prevent something from happening" or "if we do this certain ceremony, then we will effect an outcome".

I don't think anyone would argue with physical action having an effect on the physical universe. Certainly, thoughts precede action

Here's the wiki explanation of magical thinking: "Magical thinking is a term used in anthropology and psychology, denoting the causal relationships between actions and events, with subtle differences in meaning between the two fields. In anthropology, it denotes the attribution of causality between entities grouped with one another (coincidence) or similar to one another. In psychology, the entities between which a causal relation has to be posited are more strictly delineated; here it denotes the belief that one's thoughts by themselves can bring about effects in the world or that thinking something corresponds with doing it."

@AwarenessNow Thanks for clearing it up. I can see that some actions might reflect magical thinking, such as praying for your team to win, or wearing a rabbit’s foot for good luck.


That begs the question of whether endorsing magical ideation leads eventually to psychosis, or if magical thinking is an early manifestation of proto-psychosis.

Or put another way: do people tend to be more given to magical thinking because of bad thought habits, sort of like how people who eat too much candy can end up diabetic? Or is there a predisposition to them anyway? Or ... are both sometimes true? I'd bet the latter.

Studies have shown the brains of conservatives are wired differently than liberals; another study recently seemed to associate religious ideation with the same activation patterns in the brain as found in certain kinds of brain damage. So I'd be unsurprised to find that the same things that predispose one to mental illness predisposes one to magical thinking. And that practicing magical thinking would be rather like throwing gasoline on the fire if you're already predisposed to delusion.

mordant Level 8 Jan 30, 2019

I remember several times back in "The Day" when I beseeched the "Magical Being" to save me. I'd be the first to tell you that it helped me get things under control......

Never worked for me, so all it represented was disappointment and disillusionment...so at a very young age, I knew it was all balderdash.

Later in my life.... I realized during those moments of total fear and stress, that I was invoking the "Old Gods".......
Kind of like Conan.... "Help me Crom.... If you can't then to hell with you"... smile001.gif

@bigpawbullets we all follow our scripting...until we don’t. There was a lot of tragedy in my life, so I learned very young that no god was going to answer.


i love magical thinking. it can be dangerous when you don't know that's what it is, but when you use it to amuse yourself it's a lot of fun. because of this, i sing to my toilet. no really, i do! in fact, i sing a religious song. isn't that a kick? an atheist who knows that magical thinking is just magical thinking sings a religious song to a toilet! but sometimes the toilet doesn't flush. it's an old toilet. it's not as old as i am, but it's old, as toilets go, and sometimes it just doesn't flush. when it doesn't flush, i sing, to the tune of "go down moses," "go down... poopoo... way down in toilet land.... tell old... plumbing... 'let my poopoo go'"! and the strange thing is, i know it can't work, but it works. thinking it works is magical thinking and it can't be real and i KNOW that... but when i sing to my toilet, it flushes.


genessa Level 8 Jan 30, 2019

That's hilarious!



It seems understandable to me that if you're powerless to influence events then leaping on some magical incantation, prayer, beads or con artist is all you have available for comfort. Stupid but understandable.
Thoughts and prayers, baby!

jerry99 Level 7 Jan 30, 2019
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