Day 652: Magical Thinking

Magical thinking

… is the attribution of causal relationships between actions and events which cannot be justified by reason and observation.


… is a fundamental dimension of a child’s thinking.

… involves several elements, including a belief in the interconnectedness of all things through forces and powers that transcend both physical and spiritual connections.

The Skeptic’s Dictionary

Here‘s what says about Magical Thinking:

Think you don’t believe in magic? Think again. Our brains are designed to pick up on patterns: Making connections helped our ancestors survive. You’re not crazy if you’re fond of jinxes, lucky charms, premonitions, wish fulfillment, or karma. You’re just human.

I’ve got some recent examples of magical thinking by

IMG_0870,  in The Years(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally:

  • I wrote, two days ago, that I was not afraid of Ebola. Poof! The same day, the media reported a possible case of Ebola in Boston (where I live and work), too close for comfort.
  • I bought a portable drive to  relieve storage problems (mostly for photos I’ve taken for this blog). Poof! Installing the drive took up too much space and screwed up several things on my laptop. The magical thinking here: Whenever I try to make things better, I actually make things worse. (By the way, that drive has gone Poof! back to the store.)
  • Because I wish to be Freshly Pressed here on WordPress, (Poof!) I won’t be.
  • Because I’ve been feeling “too good” and “too confident” lately about (1) work, (2) giving presentations, and (3) writing these posts, I’ve been wondering: WHAT AWFUL THING IS GOING TO HAPPEN?!?!
  • Because it’s getting darker and colder in these parts, I’ve been thinking: WHAT AWFUL THING IS GOING TO HAPPEN?!?!

Magical Thinking was a lively topic of discussion, over breakfast yesterday, for me and my friend Deb (who has made previous magical appearances in this blog, including here and here).

IMG_0831 IMG_0833

In that second photo, Deb is telling me how she magically created a wine bottle in one of her glass-blowing classes!

When there were several problems with the service and the food at that restaurant yesterday, I had this passing thought, which I shared with Deb:

The server hates us!

Now, that is  definitely a great example of the cognitive distortions of Mind Reading and Personalization, but I’m not sure if it qualifies as magical thinking.

What are your magical thoughts on all this?

As you’re making your own magical connections, here are more photos I took, yesterday, with “magical thinking” dancing in my head:

IMG_0841 IMG_0842  IMG_0848 IMG_0849  IMG_0851 IMG_0855 IMG_0858 IMG_0861 IMG_0862 IMG_0865IMG_0874


Do you have any magical thinking about what magical, musical number might appear — Poof! — in this post, right now ?



After several moments of magical thinking, I made up my mind to show you that YouTube video of The Lovin’ Spoonful performing “Do You Believe in Magic?” on Shindig! in 1965.

Did you have any wishes that a different song about magic might have appeared here, instead?

Before I — poof! — magically transport myself back to work, I wish to share a dream I had last night.

I dreamed that, in various ways, my health kept deteriorating, until I was bedridden. Thank goodness, I do NOT consider myself psychic.  When I have a dream, I don’t think, “That is now going to come true.”

I am thinking, though, why that dream might have magically appeared.  I’m reading this extremely compelling, well-written,  heart-rending, thoughtful, soulful, and otherwise admirable memoir by a fellow WordPress blogger, Charles Gulotta:


I think The Long Hall is magic, in this sense of that word:

special power, influence, or skill


Many thanks to Charles, to Deb, to winged fairies and black cats, to The Lovin’ Spoonful, and — of course! — to all you magical thinkers out there.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

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38 thoughts on “Day 652: Magical Thinking

  1. I always though of magical thinking as an assumption you make that the other person understands what you want even though you haven’t expressed it.

  2. I think it’s magical the way you make me laugh every morning!

  3. Gene Phillips

    While I am, in most ways, an utter skeptic about all things supernatural, I knock on wood whenever a particularly unpleasant possibility appears vividly in my mind, knowing full well that knocking on wood is for when you tempt fate by saying or believing something too positive.

    • I would knock on wood, too, but I’m never sure, these days, what is really wood and what might be something else. So I guess I’m skeptical, myself, about that.

      It’s always particularly pleasant when you visit here, Gene. (Does that sound too positive?)

  4. Your post made me realize how different our magic thoughts are compared with children’s…. where we can fly, there is a Santa Clause and anything is possible when we believe!
    Val x

  5. I really like this post. Good ole magical thinking!! I think of Magical thinking as the glue that holds our body of beliefs together, like fascia holds the muscles that allow us to move about and feel strong. Beliefs support the narratives that are our stories. We think we remember those stories The same ways always, more or less as we hang our beliefs on them but actually i think they change /we rewrite them constantly, sometimes a little sometimes a lot. Often, it seems we don’t remember that they were different because the rewrites are organic and fit with as well as shape our ways of perceiving and our efforts to feel safer. Magical thinking is reminds us that some things cause pain or harm, weven when we forget the sensation of pain – i think. Anyway, i like that wiki definition a lot too. Thanks for your post on one of my favorite human constructions! Xox

  6. I love this. I am all about the magical thinking and the synchronicity and wonder of it all.

  7. I believe in miracles and magic Ann!
    Diana xo

  8. Marcia Dubreuil

    Hey, magic is the thing that keeps us safe from that dark “dream,” Ann. It keeps us “young and easy,” even though ‘green and dying’ is always gaining on us! All I know is, I’m going right out to look for a bag of Randoms. So great!

  9. I believe our thoughts are very powerful and yes magic at times. I enjoyed this post very much. I love to see images in your post.

  10. I am thinking that a Spoon Full of Sugar Makes the Medicine Go Down, Ann. Which jumped to my mind from the Lovin’ Spoonful, connected to your dream about falling ill, connected to a case of ebola, connected to your working in the hospital.

    It might not be magical thinking, but I love the way those magical connections work for me, Ann, fed by your Supernatural suggestions that spike my neurons. (My dear wife Karen and I saw Carlos Santana perform Sunday night, and he was Smooth.)

    Thanks, Ann, keep flagging down that waiter. He doesn’t hate you, but he might not like that table you and Deb were seated at because of some previous connection.

  11. Something awful going to happen? Ah, yes, I start with quite an innocent thought and before I know it I am imagining some ghastly confrontation or I am attending the funeral of someone I care about – why such unproductive fantasy? I can imagine good things too. Pity we adjust our magical thermostats.

    • Expecting the worst seems to be natural and automatic, Hilary, for a lot of people. That’s why we have to work on noticing our own thermostats and adjusting them accordingly. Thanks so much for your productive visit here.

  12. I love magic, the Lovin’ Spoonful, and that book. I think I’ll be keeping it in my heart for a long time.

  13. Yes! I believe in magic. I’m going to dance to that.

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