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Magical Thinking!


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#1    Belle.

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 10:37 PM

I was reading an article in a magazine and found most of it online as well. It is quite long when you go to the link - but very facinating. Here is a part of it:

"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 (occasional fear of stepping on sidewalk cracks) to the outlandish (TV broadcasters know when you're watching), are more likely to have psychosis or develop it later in their lives. People who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder also exhibit elevated levels of paranoia, perceptual disturbances, and magical thinking, particularly "thought-action fusion," the belief that your negative thoughts can cause harm. These people are compelled to carry out repetitive tasks to counteract their intrusive thoughts about unlocked doors or loved ones getting cancer. But more magical thinking does not necessarily mean more emotional problems - what counts is whether such thinking interferes with everyday functioning. You wouldn't want to be at the skeptic end of the spectrum anyway. "To be totally 'unmagical' is very unhealthy," says Peter Brugger, head of neuropsychology at University Hospital Zurich. He has data, for example, strongly linking lack of magical ideation to anhedonia, the inability to experience pleasure. "Students who are 'not magical' don't typically enjoy going to parties and so on," he says. He's also found that there's a key chemical involved in magical thinking. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter that the brain uses to tag experiences as meaningful, floods the brains of schizophrenics, who see significance in everything, but merely trickles in many depressives, who struggle to find value in everyday life. In one experiment, paranormal believers (who are high in dopamine) were more prone than nonbelievers to spot nonexistent faces when looking at jumbled images and also were less likely to miss the faces when they really were there. Everyone spotted more faces when given dopamine-boosting drugs. Brugger argues that the ability to see patterns and make loose associations enhances creativity and also serves a practical function: "If you're on the grassland, it's always better to assume that a tiger is there." "

http://psychologytoday.com/articles/index....0003&page=1

Edit: sorry linked wrong page.

Edited by Belle., 05 May 2008 - 10:45 PM.


#2    eight bits

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 11:09 AM

That is an interesting article, Belle, a good find and thank you for posting the link.

"Magical thinking"  is a funny phrase. There are (at least) two views about it. This article expresses the sunnier view, that it is a basically adaptive mode of thought.

There really are threats that fit the contagion model, and any threat detector, and so our own cognitive provisions for threat detection, must obey the "receiver operating characteristic" theorems which assure us that the price of sensitivity is false alarms.

As far as that goes, it "must" be true. If magical thinking were utterly maladaptive, then our ancestors would have died out.

But there is another view, maybe complementary rather than contradictory, that there are thoughts whose expression requires poetry, symbolism, and narrative flow, like dreams.

Example. We are all familiar with Michelangelo's Creation of Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:God2-Sistine_Chapel.png

The panel frankly depicts "contagion," but does not follow the Genesis episode:

2:7 the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

although that, too, describes a contagion event. Note also that the Sistine Adam has a navel. But the artist was not neglectful of detail - the gentleman has a foreskin, thoughtfully displayed, though it is easy enough to hide.

So, here's your meditation for today. Michelangelo's client was the most orthodox religious authority imaginable. Yet this image was fully acceptable as a representation of the Bible story whose details it bluntly contradicts.  

What is the mode of thinking in which something can be compellingly depicted, even though the depiction conflicts with the black-letter details, and the most elementary facts of life?

I think you will find that words fail you. There is no "explaining away" Adam's navel, nor can fingertips be pathways for breath. But in this mode of thought, nothing needs to be explained away, and it is simply obvious that the two irreconcilable "accounts" are "the same thought."

The more you think about that, the more you realize that you are visiting a different part of the mind from the bright waking world where it is a good idea to avoid germs and to accept false alarms original.gif .

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#3    Mademoiselle

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Posted 10 May 2008 - 03:19 PM

eight bits on May 9 2008, 02:09 PM, said:

That is an interesting article, Belle, a good find and thank you for posting the link.

"Magical thinking"  is a funny phrase. There are (at least) two views about it. This article expresses the sunnier view, that it is a basically adaptive mode of thought.

There really are threats that fit the contagion model, and any threat detector, and so our own cognitive provisions for threat detection, must obey the "receiver operating characteristic" theorems which assure us that the price of sensitivity is false alarms.

As far as that goes, it "must" be true. If magical thinking were utterly maladaptive, then our ancestors would have died out.

But there is another view, maybe complementary rather than contradictory, that there are thoughts whose expression requires poetry, symbolism, and narrative flow, like dreams.

Example. We are all familiar with Michelangelo's Creation of Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:God2-Sistine_Chapel.png

The panel frankly depicts "contagion," but does not follow the Genesis episode:

2:7 the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

although that, too, describes a contagion event. Note also that the Sistine Adam has a navel. But the artist was not neglectful of detail - the gentleman has a foreskin, thoughtfully displayed, though it is easy enough to hide.

So, here's your meditation for today. Michelangelo's client was the most orthodox religious authority imaginable. Yet this image was fully acceptable as a representation of the Bible story whose details it bluntly contradicts.  

What is the mode of thinking in which something can be compellingly depicted, even though the depiction conflicts with the black-letter details, and the most elementary facts of life?

I think you will find that words fail you. There is no "explaining away" Adam's navel, nor can fingertips be pathways for breath. But in this mode of thought, nothing needs to be explained away, and it is simply obvious that the two irreconcilable "accounts" are "the same thought."

The more you think about that, the more you realize that you are visiting a different part of the mind from the bright waking world where it is a good idea to avoid germs and to accept false alarms original.gif .


Simply Brilliant post .


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#4    eight bits

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Posted 11 May 2008 - 12:27 AM

Thank you so much, Mam'selle original.gif .

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#5    Belle.

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Posted 11 May 2008 - 04:12 AM

eight bits on May 9 2008, 12:09 PM, said:

That is an interesting article, Belle, a good find and thank you for posting the link.

"Magical thinking"  is a funny phrase. There are (at least) two views about it. This article expresses the sunnier view, that it is a basically adaptive mode of thought.

There really are threats that fit the contagion model, and any threat detector, and so our own cognitive provisions for threat detection, must obey the "receiver operating characteristic" theorems which assure us that the price of sensitivity is false alarms.

As far as that goes, it "must" be true. If magical thinking were utterly maladaptive, then our ancestors would have died out.

But there is another view, maybe complementary rather than contradictory, that there are thoughts whose expression requires poetry, symbolism, and narrative flow, like dreams.

Example. We are all familiar with Michelangelo's Creation of Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:God2-Sistine_Chapel.png

The panel frankly depicts "contagion," but does not follow the Genesis episode:

2:7 the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

although that, too, describes a contagion event. Note also that the Sistine Adam has a navel. But the artist was not neglectful of detail - the gentleman has a foreskin, thoughtfully displayed, though it is easy enough to hide.

So, here's your meditation for today. Michelangelo's client was the most orthodox religious authority imaginable. Yet this image was fully acceptable as a representation of the Bible story whose details it bluntly contradicts.  

What is the mode of thinking in which something can be compellingly depicted, even though the depiction conflicts with the black-letter details, and the most elementary facts of life?

I think you will find that words fail you. There is no "explaining away" Adam's navel, nor can fingertips be pathways for breath. But in this mode of thought, nothing needs to be explained away, and it is simply obvious that the two irreconcilable "accounts" are "the same thought."

The more you think about that, the more you realize that you are visiting a different part of the mind from the bright waking world where it is a good idea to avoid germs and to accept false alarms original.gif .


I sometimes think that when reading the spirituality sections on here - the two supposedly irreconcilable accounts are the same thought. To some the black letter details are the be all and end all, to others - not so much.

It reminds me a bit of a book on my shelf (that admittedly I have only skimmed) "The seven basic plots" by Christopher Booker. Partly it says that the symbolic archetypes of stories resonate with us because of the way we are built to perceive things through narrative/symbology.

I agree with Mademoiselle, nice post eight bits original.gif

Edited by Belle., 11 May 2008 - 06:10 AM.


#6    John from Lowell

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Posted 11 May 2008 - 08:36 AM

Belle. on May 11 2008, 12:12 AM, said:

I sometimes think that when reading the spirituality sections on here - the two supposedly irreconcilable accounts are the same thought. To some the black letter details are the be all and end all, to others - not so much.

It reminds me a bit of a book on my shelf (that admittedly I have only skimmed) "The seven basic plots" by Christopher Booker. Partly it says that the symbolic archetypes of stories resonate with us because of the way we are built to perceive things through narrative/symbology.

I agree with Mademoiselle, nice post eight bits original.gif


I think when we use our imagination through narrative/symbology we tap into our 6th sense which aligns itself with a reality awareness that is not black and white logical.



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#7    Starlyte

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 07:34 PM

Great topic!

So, am I in danger of psychosis because I believe in synchronicity, and that the mind has the ability to affect the physical?  Fascinating! original.gif



Edited by Starlyte, 11 July 2008 - 08:10 PM.

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#8    nohands

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 02:02 PM

hehe i always have respect to those who can recreate the current reality..its time for us to be INFINITE!!!!
nice post I always believe god rely on us to be on our own.


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Why i cant remember the days of the past..
Internal silence Keep it...
im going gone insane...
I must be infinite!!!


#9    Mr Walker

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 05:50 AM

LOL just perhaps, magic and miracles are real, and god created adam with a navel because god, in his compassion, did not want him to look different from all succeeding generations. wub.gif  

When magic and miracles become physically real, then anything at all is feasible. So many people limit their lives and potentialities because they believe that only certain things are real and physically possible. If the history of humanity illustrates just one thing, it is that anything humans can imagine, they can eventually make real.

Conversely if we dont believe in, or accept magic and miracles, we may never succeed in transforming them into physical reality ourselves.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#10    little_dreamer

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 11:22 AM

This is not to pass judgement on anyone, but I heard one theory of magical thinking is that it is a normal phase of childhood that is outgrown in most people.

Some people do not grow out of this phase due to childhood trauma, etc.

I am another anonymous face in the crowd. I am just another tiny wheel in the machinery of the world I live in.

#11    nohands

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 03:06 PM

the magickal thinking of children dissappears eventually when he/she realize that what he/she thinks don't usually come up as to what he/she wants..

i remember when i watched t.v. when i was 5-6 yrs old when i see in the advertisement that a girl jumped into the blue colored carpet and when she jumped into it. it turned into a swimming pool...I made it immediately and then i was wrong it is just TV SFX...
grrr!!!

I was born crying, I die crying,
Why i cant remember the days of the past..
Internal silence Keep it...
im going gone insane...
I must be infinite!!!


#12    Belle.

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 01:40 AM

Starlyte on Jul 11 2008, 07:34 PM, said:

Great topic!

So, am I in danger of psychosis because I believe in synchronicity, and that the mind has the ability to affect the physical?  Fascinating! original.gif


Just more likely, it is not inevitable - we can help you tongue.gif I think I have a tendency for some forms of 'magical thinking' as well.

In what ways do you think the mind has the ability to affect the physical?






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