First, we should define what magical thinking is. The outdated way of calling it is superstitious thinking. But since psychology evolved, so did superstitions. They revealed hidden kingdoms that stood hidden inside the human mind for millennia.
Magical thinking defines the propensity to find connections that don’t exist. To believe that things have different meanings than they actually do. To believe that thoughts influence reality. Or that things are connected just because they resemble or repeat.
The categories of magical belief are superstitions, astrology, and paranormal beliefs.
The beauty of magic
In our days, religious rituals fall under the spell of magical thinking. Superstitions were banned by the Christian Church. But the church failed to see that its own rituals can be just as superstitious as believing that a black cat means bad luck.
Superstition equals believing in magic. And every religious belief was built on a little magic. To believe in something that can’t be seen a little bit of magic is needed. Magic that only the human mind is capable of.
Scientists believe in the unseen dark matter because without it the Universe with all the mathematics and physics couldn’t be explained. That’s just as magical as the immaculate conception.
The beast inside the magic
From a psychological perspective, magical thinking is the belief that can cause the fear of doing or thinking something because of an irrational correlation between doing so and possible calamities.
On a smaller scale, magical thinking affects people’s daily decisions. When people “trust their instinct”, they actually make decisions based on magical thinking. They have a feeling. And we all know how strong feelings can get.
“A feeling” is sometimes impossible to be displaced with cognitive thinking. And when people act on a feeling, true disasters can occur, and for no good reason.
Men and women share different magic
Research has proved that women are more predisposed to use magical thinking as an instrument to make decisions. That’s to say, they trust their instinct more than cognition. Apparently, men trust more their cognition. But they too have their magic share of magic with their higher predisposition towards taking risks.
Women make magic their reason, men make it their guardian angel. Carl Gustav Jung said that a man’s heart is Anima, and a woman’s is Animus. For a woman, the heart has a reason. For a man, the heart is a trouble maker. Only magical thinking could bring them together.
We all need magic
Nothing in this world can be fully explained, no matter how sure we are of the explanation. We all rely on a bit of magic to trust the understanding we have of the world. Magical thinking is the glue that holds it all together in our minds. It’s a kind of magic how magic works.