Magical Thinking

Magical thinking is an irrational and illogical thinking process. Magical thinking connects objective and subjective events that are not joined or attached to each other. These are associated beliefs that don’t make sense and are sometimes correlated to events that have happened. Magical thinking is also a clinical term that can be associated with a number of mental disorders such as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or even depression.

A person with OCD demonstrates magical thinking by using selected superstitions to stay safe and protect themselves from their anxiety. An example is using an action such as literally stepping on a crack could produce the result of breaking your mother’s back, which has nothing to do with stepping on a crack. Another example would be using numbers to prevent a feared event by seeing a certain chosen number as a sign that everything is OK or counting to a particular number. When something said is determined to be bad, one would knock on wood for good luck. The knocking on wood has nothing to do with any unforeseen event.

For instance, you must view any magical thinking in the context that it is appearing.  A person with a depression might say something like “It is raining because I am sad” or “I am sad because it is raining.” In reality, the action of raining has nothing to do with sadness because the rain and sad have been linked together. Another is “I am sick because I am bad” or “I am bad because the devil made me do it.”

Magical thinking also lets a person internalize the other, something outside of yourself, such as,  letting someone else say who you are or using a thing to define and designate who you are. This would look something, like “I am what I eat, or you are what you eat.” Magical thinking sometimes is based on your history. Then it is used to clarify and make true any false conceptions or perceptions about the past thereby producing a feeling of being deceived, betrayed or disappointed. Things that live in your mind, that you ruminate about, generally are from the past. Magical thinking can cause you to lose your discrimination and discernment between the subjective and the objective. It can cause confusion between what is actually real versus the imaginal realm of feelings.

Magical thinking is not about ideas, inspiration, fantasy, the imaginal world, the invisible shamanic world, creativity, scientific hypothesis, intuitive possibilities, or intuition.

© Ozimkiewicz

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