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]
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.
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.
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.
Magical thinking is a very real stage in child development and I don't think there's anything wrong with it (on a personal level). That is, unless you bring it into adulthood and try to intertwine an entire rigid structure of laws onto it as religions do and apply it to civil society. Then it becomes toxic.