Carey: On Magical Thinking

Interesting article from the New York Times’ Benedict Carey: Magical Thinking: Why Do People Cling to Odd Rituals?

Children exhibit a form of magical thinking by about 18 months, when they begin to create imaginary worlds while playing. By age 3, most know the difference between fantasy and reality, though they usually still believe (with adult encouragement) in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. By age 8, and sometimes earlier, they have mostly pruned away these beliefs, and the line between magic and reality is about as clear to them as it is for adults.

Unless they’re the current US president, in which case they continue to make speeches manifesting their magical beliefs all the way to the age of 60…

4 Responses to “Carey: On Magical Thinking”

  1. adam_blust Says:

    One thing that struck me (and others) was how Bush welcomed Nancy Pelosi as the first female Speaker, and then followed it up immediately with the phrase “Democrat majority.” What a tool.

  2. jbc Says:

    Yup. I had the exact same reaction to that as I was listening to the speech on my way home from work.

  3. ethan-p Says:

    I like how religious faith was carefully taken out of the equation. I don’t want to incite anyone with my not-so-nice opinions…actually, it’s just the people here who are my personal friends who I don’t want to incite. The rest of y’all can eat me ;). However, I think that if anyone wanted to analyze this in an objective way, religious beliefs must be heaped in with superstitious behavior. This is especially given the huge leaps of faith which must be taken in order to get beyond the seemingly titanic logical fallacies inherent to most organized religions. Ultimately, these widespread superstitions are to the same end of individual superstition. The ‘end user’ is provided some form of comfort by the ritual regardless of the actual effect. The only difference is that most of the superstitious behavior mentioned in the article is unique to the individual rather than the massive scale of the superstitions behind organized religion.

    What’s interesting is that while some religious superstition is discussed here, such as the effectiveness of praying for a loved one or team. I’m surprised that the article doesn’t discuss team prayer and thanking God for their victory (and never damning God for their loss).

    Then again, I can’t say that I’m above this kind of thinking. I still lay my palm on the exterior fuselage of an aircraft prior to boarding. I guess laying my hand on a solid piece of aluminum restores my confidence in the structural integrity of the craft. I don’t know if it’s a magical belief , but there’s definitely some superstition at play.

  4. treehugger Says:

    I read this about the use of the word “Democrat”:

    “The word “Democrat” is a noun; its use as an adjective defies the rules of English grammar.”

    Which shouldn’t be to surprising coming from this dickhead of a president who butchers the english language on pretty much a daily basis. I agree, what a tool.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.