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XenoFish

Magical Thinking

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XenoFish

First off I reserve the right to be wrong on everything I am about to write. So please bear with me. As this is an offshoot of my magical placebo effect thread. This go round I'm looking at how we can leverage magical thinking for our own benefit.

So what is magical thinking.

https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Magical_thinking

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/superstitions-can-make-you/

It really has to do with your mindset rather than some "woo" power within an object. Such as a lucky ring or a shirt you always seem to win in. Those items trigger a shift in your mindset. Making you more opportunistic. A lot of the time we seem to take a negative light towards magical thinking on here, but we're all victim to it in some manner. Perhaps when your at work, you do not talk about the task at hand till it's done. Due to some subconscious fear that it will fail. So by doing this you keep from self-fulfilling your worry.

Let's take the practice of magick for instance. Does lighting a candle, saying a few "special words", then blowing the candles out have any causal power over reality? No. It does affect your mindset. This magical act shifts your mental gears, leading to you un/subconscious look for anything that corresponds to your desire/belief. Same goes for sigils, rituals, affirmations, visualizations, etc. This little acts of magical thinking can benefit you if you stay grounded. It's when you take them a bit to far that trouble starts. 

The key thing here is mindset, which is just a set of beliefs and expectations. Keep in mind that the first thing you think or say will direct your whole day. I'm also sure we've all heard about how someone "wish" for the perfect parking spot and got it. Seemed magical to them, but they just zero'd in their perception to seek out the most readily available parking spot. 

I would like thoughts and additions to this from fellow members as this is kinda rushed. 

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Not A Rockstar

It is a good tool for people who get a bit scattered to focus on what they are really needing to target in an issue. The short time I messed with Ceremonial Magic went far in helping me learn to think things through and stay on it. Just too many rules and superstitions to hold my attention as a whole. But, focus is a good thing.

Being into magical thinking to a degree, I do feel that sitting down and forming my intention clearly on a goal helps ground me and focusses me and increases my odds of doing it well the first time, but, I don't have a "Bewitched" idea that if I twitch my nose right it will all be done, or the lawn would be mowed, ya know?

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XenoFish
43 minutes ago, Not A Rockstar said:

"Bewitched" idea that if I twitch my nose right it will all be done, or the lawn would be mowed, ya know?

I think this is the biggest stumbling block. The 'law of attraction' does work, but it doesn't. Getting an idea in your head. Perhaps of some ideal or goal can go a long way to motivate someone towards success, but it doesn't make things just happen. It does engineer confirmation bias and even belief perseverance. Which can be a negative thing.

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StarMountainKid

(quote)Patients diagnosed with Schizotypal personality disorder are said to have "magical thinking" as a common thought process.[2] Also, people suffering from Christianity, which is arguably an even more serious mental illness[citation NOT needed].(/quote)

From Xeno's first link.(!) 

I experience from magical thinking in that I believe that if I wait around for something beneficial to happen, eventually it will happen. 

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Not A Rockstar
4 minutes ago, XenoFish said:

I think this is the biggest stumbling block. The 'law of attraction' does work, but it doesn't. Getting an idea in your head. Perhaps of some ideal or goal can go a long way to motivate someone towards success, but it doesn't make things just happen. It does engineer confirmation bias and even belief perseverance. Which can be a negative thing.

It does work, as you say, if the person using it connects with that model. Motivation and focus is a good thing. Couple that with action and effort and you might pull it off. The same model gets repackaged and solid in a myriad of wordings. "The Power of Positive Thinking" is ok, but "The Magic of Candle Visualization" is somehow tripe superstition. Under the hood it is the same thing. Just a car. 

To automatically consign this to something bad, or that a (disapproved) belief is a bad thing, though, is only one possible outcome. Anything used wrongly or to excess can damage. Magical thinking can be a very beneficial mindset. It can also lead to madness if taken too far. The same can be said for realism and a hardcore obsession with nothing but scientific proof. Some of that crowd are the most miserable, bitter and nasty personalities I have ever met. Every bit as bad as some of those hardcore religionists screaming at me in exorcisms to give up my demons. No light, no joy, no real wisdom in them. No love at all. Neither extreme is for me, period, flat out, not for me.

I am a pretty rational person, but when I look down and see a penny on the ground, I pick it up and smile, because my parents told me that means someone in heaven is thinking of me right then. Pennies from heaven. My Dad died a few months ago so I smile all the more and pocket any pennies I find. A moment remembering a fine man and some happy times and then I move on. I am alright with that belief persevering, Do I think Dad really put it there? No. But, it does not remove the magic of seeing it and thinking of my Dad telling me that long years ago.

Context. Balance. A little joy in the darkness of reality. These are winning personalities to me, whatever camp of belief they stand among. 

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XenoFish
3 minutes ago, StarMountainKid said:

I experience from magical thinking in that I believe that if I wait around for something beneficial to happen, eventually it will happen. 

Sounds like the law of large number in conjunction with confirmation bias.

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StarMountainKid
5 minutes ago, XenoFish said:

Sounds like the law of large number in conjunction with confirmation bias.

Maybe. Like today, in the last few days I've been wanting to buy a new computer monitor, been looking around the net. Found an HP I liked for $169. This morning on my way to the store I stopped just for fun at the local pawn shop. There I found an HP monitor for $25. I bought it and am using it now. It works great.

This kind of thing has happened for me many times in my life in various ways. Maybe the law of large numbers, as you say, but I kind of rely on it happening. It's sort of Zen-like to my mind, action with no action. Confirmation bias? I don't know but it seems to work more often than I would expect.

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XenoFish
1 minute ago, StarMountainKid said:

Maybe. Like today, in the last few days I've been wanting to buy a new computer monitor, been looking around the net. Found an HP I liked for $169. This morning on my way to the store I stopped just for fun at the local pawn shop. There I found an HP monitor for $25. I bought it and am using it now. It works great.

This kind of thing has happened for me many times in my life in various ways. Maybe the law of large numbers, as you say, but I kind of rely on it happening. It's sort of Zen-like to my mind, action with no action. Confirmation bias? I don't know but it seems to work more often than I would expect.

Actually there is a lot of action in your search. You looked for a new monitor and it was on your mind (perhaps just subconsciously) so you noticed the one at the pawn shop. If it wasn't on your mind on any level, you might not have even noticed that cheaper monitor.

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StarMountainKid
7 minutes ago, XenoFish said:

Actually there is a lot of action in your search. You looked for a new monitor and it was on your mind (perhaps just subconsciously) so you noticed the one at the pawn shop. If it wasn't on your mind on any level, you might not have even noticed that cheaper monitor.

This is true. This subject is sneaky :) . I'm not trying to say there is something funny going on, maybe it's all coincidence of one sort or another. But it does seem to me I've been lucky in this way. Then again, maybe I'm just lazy and wait for something to happen. I suppose something will happen eventually probably by accident.

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freetoroam

There are those who believe in magical thinking or even praying to the extent that when what they wished or hoped for does not happen, they then make an excuse as to why it did not. They have sinned or they hoped for it on the wrong day or beside an unlucky tree or they were wearing the wrong colour socks, this kind of magical thinking can lead to one becoming supersticious. Is there a thin line between the two when a magical thought does not go to plan? 

Do some put their magical thoughts in the hands of

fate.

God. 

luck

Or their own intuition?

Do you blame others if your wish did not happen and do you stand by that it was because of your wishing when it does? 

 

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Not A Rockstar
2 hours ago, StarMountainKid said:

This is true. This subject is sneaky :) . I'm not trying to say there is something funny going on, maybe it's all coincidence of one sort or another. But it does seem to me I've been lucky in this way. Then again, maybe I'm just lazy and wait for something to happen. I suppose something will happen eventually probably by accident.

It is like someone once said that if I never buy a lotto ticket then the potential of ever winning anything (however small) from the lotto is zero. I see being open and hopeful and focused as allowing the potentials of synchronicity, if nothing else, to maybe go your way. Or maybe not, but, for me it is a happier state of mind. 

I really should buy a lotto ticket more often, though. Just because.

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bison

 Our perceptive capabilities are limited. Our reality is defined by what we can perceive. Anything that can widen our ability to perceive will, in a very real sense, affect our reality. The notion of an objective reality, while seemingly useful, is, beyond the limits just described, a very tricky proposition, subject to much error, and doubt.   

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PsiSeeker

I think we can however there's a world of difference between believing in what you think and just thinking in it.  The point where my thought regarding it hit a wall is I don't know how to truthfully, consciously, with the full force of my being just "believe" something that I choose to.  We believe all sorts of things all of the time however it tends to not be instigated by a will that is as conscious as we may think. 

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StarMountainKid
12 minutes ago, PsiSeeker said:

I think we can however there's a world of difference between believing in what you think and just thinking in it.  The point where my thought regarding it hit a wall is I don't know how to truthfully, consciously, with the full force of my being just "believe" something that I choose to.  We believe all sorts of things all of the time however it tends to not be instigated by a will that is as conscious as we may think. 

I just like the phrase I put in Bold type. I'll have to think about that.

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PsiSeeker
5 hours ago, StarMountainKid said:

I just like the phrase I put in Bold type. I'll have to think about that.

I can suggest several real instances however it ruins the fun of coming up with something more abstract yourself and I love pondering xD.  Sometimes I think people ruin my pondering fun by my not having the time to arrive at new thoughts on my own however curiosity is too strong and google too easy haha! 

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StarMountainKid
8 hours ago, PsiSeeker said:

I can suggest several real instances however it ruins the fun of coming up with something more abstract yourself and I love pondering xD.  Sometimes I think people ruin my pondering fun by my not having the time to arrive at new thoughts on my own however curiosity is too strong and google too easy haha! 

I wrote a little thing once about the sub-conscious mind being the real boss. It's thinking, thinking, planning, desiring, etc. and just filters up into the conscious mind what it considers best to achieve its own ends. 

It's sort of like an evil twin. :)  But, I think this is pretty much the case. It seems to me the conscious mind has little to do with determining our behavior, it just thinks it does. (Another devious aspect of the sub-conscious.)

Belief, magical thinking is probably like this, as their origins are deeper than at the conscious level. As you say, we can think within some belief, but to truly believe in it requires a deeper mental obsession. This is why it is so difficult for some to escape from some belief system. 

Somehow the conscious mind has to convince the sub-conscious to change. The sub-conscious is stubborn and doesn't want to be told what to do by the silly consciousness.

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PsiSeeker
1 hour ago, StarMountainKid said:

I wrote a little thing once about the sub-conscious mind being the real boss. It's thinking, thinking, planning, desiring, etc. and just filters up into the conscious mind what it considers best to achieve its own ends. 

It's sort of like an evil twin. :)  But, I think this is pretty much the case. It seems to me the conscious mind has little to do with determining our behavior, it just thinks it does. (Another devious aspect of the sub-conscious.)

Belief, magical thinking is probably like this, as their origins are deeper than at the conscious level. As you say, we can think within some belief, but to truly believe in it requires a deeper mental obsession. This is why it is so difficult for some to escape from some belief system. 

Somehow the conscious mind has to convince the sub-conscious to change. The sub-conscious is stubborn and doesn't want to be told what to do by the silly consciousness.

I have an inkling that seems to suggest that it's very important that it is that way.  The conscious mind comes up with some fairly naive things, that are understandable nonetheless.  If it wasn't for the resilience say maybe of the subconscious then it might be that we find ourselves in deep, dangerous places far more often than we might like.

The question about ethics does sort of arise out of a discussion like this.  Something I never paid too much attention to in my philosophical inclination.  What is the best way to conduct oneself and behave in the world to maximise what is best for self and for other?  It's really not an easy question to answer.  Thank goodness for the philosophers of the past to give us some groundwork to work with.

I think deep philosophical enquiry is a good place to start on the journey to the end of "know thyself".

When I was younger it occurred to me that to achieve maximum "power", of a sort, all one had to do was become consistent over time in some choosing one has.

Jordan B Peterson struck a cord with me recently where he suggest a rule for life, do what is meaningful, not what is expedient. I think this is quite important.  Do what is meaningful to your being and it seems that anything seeming to require expediency will be taken care of regardless.

In this sense if praying is meaningful, magick is meaningful, believing you're a wizard from Harry Potter, whatever, and you grow and evolve and strive towards the best version of yourself for your neighbours and yourself and you can maintain this sort of thing consistently over time then the reward seems to be greater than you could initially conceptualise.  To my thinking.

Something about things like magick that has me a little hesitant to become involved in it is simply, how do I know what I want and that what I want is the best that I could want?  My thinking seems to revolve around the concept of "the highest ideal", in a sense, which I think is represented by God.

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StarMountainKid

Joseph Campbell says follow your bliss. Follow what makes you feel like the real you. As you say, do what is meaningful to you. It's easy to be derailed from this in life. 

 

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Hello Davros Kitty

That's what I think the idea of Jesus's sacrifice started out as. It's just an idea so one does not get carried away by the five senses, and the myth is what one focused on to behave. 

It's more complex than this though, and it's before the Gospels.

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Clockwork_Spirit
On 28/04/2018 at 10:48 PM, davros of skaro said:

That's what I think the idea of Jesus's sacrifice started out as. It's just an idea so one does not get carried away by the five senses, and the myth is what one focused on to behave. 

It's more complex than this though, and it's before the Gospels.

Or the idea that the Universe sprang out of nothing. Isn't that also 'magical thinking'?

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Coil
Posted (edited)
On 13.04.2018 at 11:12 PM, XenoFish said:

Magical thinking.

Can we use it for our benefit?

 

 

Magic supernormal abilities would cause harm to people because they need to have a higher intelligence than a person and absence of selfish inclinations.

The russian saint Seraphim  of Sarov was able to light a candle with his eyes and was also noticed walking in the air but asked not to tell anyone. He was blessed with divine bliss. He was a very dedicated ascetic:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seraphim_of_Sarov

There are advanced mages who were very much looking to seize the opportunity to kill people with words and revive people to become lords of life and death. The books say about the rmoagal race that could with the help of the power of the word to win the battle with the enemies and pacify the animals. There is a sad experience of using deadly lightning against the spiritual master:

Spoiler

During his wanderings, Mahavira came to Sravasti and stopped in the garden of a certain Kosthanaki. Goshala came there much earlier and lived in a shop of the potter of Halahala. Goshala used to call himself omniscient. One day, when  Gautama, one of Mahavira's main disciples, heard that Goshala made such claims asked Mahavira whether Goshal was right in this matter. Mahavira replied: Makkhali thinks he is a genie, although he is not a genie. Goshala is the home of deceit. Dedicated to me, trained by me, he turned to bad opinions about me. He is not omniscient, Gautama.

When Goshala heard this opinion of Mahavira about himself, he was terribly angry. Seeing Ananda, another disciple of Mahavira, he said that he had a hot lightning that could burn the enemy, and that he would destroy Mahavira along with his disciples. When Ananda gave this to Mahavira, he noticed that Goshala did indeed have such a lightning with which he could kill anyone except an arhat who would feel only some discomfort, so Goshala should not be teased.

Ananda informed the residents of Sravasti that even more angered Goshala. He came and began to insult Mahavira. Moreover: he killed with his hot lightning two pupils of Mahavira, when they tried to protest.

Mahavira tried to reassure Goshala but his words were even greater and he released his lightning in Mahavira. Powerless against the Teacher, like a hurricane - against a mountain, it flew around Blessed, imitating a devotee. From this hot lightning in the Teacher's body was only warmth hot lightning, as if angry for being used for a crime - alas! - turned around and forcibly entered the body of Goshala.

Internally burned by it, Goshala became completely insolent and said to the arrogantly blessed Mahavira: "Blessed with my hot lightning, you will die in six months from the bilious heat, the usual ascetic, Kashyapa".

The teacher answered: Your speech is a lie: since I am omniscient, I will continue to wander for another 16 years. You, suffering from the bilious heat caused by your own hot lightning, will die at the end of the seventh day. There is no doubt about this.

The poor Goshala, burned by his own hot lightning to soften the pain, got drunk with wine, having taken a whole bottle. Drunk with wine, he sang, danced and constantly bowed to Halahala.He spoke incoherent and contradictory speeches and spent a day served by his pupils saddened by grief. So he suffered a week.And after the expiration of seven days, Goshala, expressing regret and repenting of his mistakes, died.

 

 

Edited by Coil

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Hello Davros Kitty
20 hours ago, Clockwork_Spirit said:

Or the idea that the Universe sprang out of nothing. Isn't that also 'magical thinking'?

There's a difference between "nothing", and "absolute nothing".

The "nothing"  referred to by scientists is Quantum energies that interacted in a way that eventually formed matter.

Theists are the ones that say the universe was created from "absolute nothing" by a God. 

Now that's magical thinking because there's no evidence for a God.

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Clockwork_Spirit
Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, davros of skaro said:

 

The "nothing"  referred to by scientists is Quantum energies that interacted in a way that eventually formed matter.

Where, for starters, are the laws of quantum mechanics themselves supposed to have come from?

Edited by Clockwork_Spirit

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psyche101
21 hours ago, Clockwork_Spirit said:

Or the idea that the Universe sprang out of nothing. Isn't that also 'magical thinking'?

No it's not, it's scientific theory. 

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psyche101
27 minutes ago, Clockwork_Spirit said:

Where, for starters, are the laws of quantum mechanics themselves supposed to have come from?

The fources of nature split when virtual particles set the big bang in motion. 

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