“Are Unicorns Real?” – Or Why Do People Believe in Magic?

By George
"Are Unicorns Real?”

Even the most rational among us believe in the magic, that objects and symbols have power, that luck can determine our destiny, or that astrology can tell me what my future will be. Everyone chooses their threshold of belief in the mystical.

Sometimes it helps to motivate and find new strength to keep going, and sometimes it gives unreasonable hope and leads to disappointment. Still, keeping a sober mind and understanding that unicorns do not exist is important. Otherwise, the student who believes that a coin under the heel guarantees a successful passing of exams can stumble upon an unpleasant reality. And then, he will need to tighten his tails and look for a good essay writing service.

In his book, The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking, psychology expert Matthew Hutson explains how and why this mechanism of the mind works.

But first, a clarification: Magical thinking is one thing, and the faith we place in superstition is another; we are full of superstitions that we respect. Would anyone walk under a ladder or dare to pass the salt shaker in your friend’s hand, for example? If we don’t do it, it could bring us bad luck.

A few years ago, in 2008, an anonymous buyer paid $5,300 for a scarf worn by actress Scarlet Johansson. While most of us wouldn’t spend our savings on dirty memorabilia of our favorite celebrities, Hutson argues that almost everyone attaches importance to the objects associated with the people they idealize. John Lennon’s famous white piano is worth far more than an identical piano not owned by a celebrity, for example.

Hutson has spent the last ten years researching magical thinking and has concluded that it is a resource that can make our lives more bearable.

“Magical thinking works in different ways” Hutson explains, “It consists of attributing mental properties to non-rational phenomena, interpreting natural events as if they have purpose or meaning, or treating thoughts as if they have physical power.” According to him, magical thinking has helped us survive for thousands of years, helping us make sense of life, answer existential questions, and alleviate the anguish caused by uncertainty….

Hutson describes seven types of magical thinking that persist to this day and how they function in our daily lives.

  1. Objects with essence.
    Autographs, dedications, gifts, unique objects. We all collect something, even quotes from books or favorite songs. We cherish them because they bear the imprint of someone or something we admire. Hutson argues that this is based on the property of transmission: the belief that personal properties can be transferred to objects (if I own something of someone I admire, its subjective values will be transferred to me by the object in question. For example, Scarlett’s scarf, Lennon’s piano, or my grandmother’s favorite piece of jewelry). It gives us confidence and a feeling of control over the world.
  2. Mind without limits.
    Better known as the law of attraction, it tells us that if we visualize something, it can come true. (A clear example is the unprecedented success of Rhonda Byrne’s book The Secret, whose premise is based on the belief that if you imagine the life you want, the universe will provide it). Hutson argues that the law of attraction works, but not because of a “mental frequency.” What happens is that positive expectations become self-fulfilling prophecies. It is a matter of attunement: the more significant the certainty about what we want, the greater the connection to recognize those opportunities that will help us realize the desire.
  3. Symbols with power.

Hutson identifies it with the law of similarity, which is based on believing that causes resemble effects: if I cut out my father’s face from a photo, this could cause him some harm. The symbolic power of ritual acts gives us the feeling that we are in control of events.

  1. Actions that have consequences over time.

Luck, superstition, karma, “whatever you do, sooner or later it comes back to you .”This thought helps us to explain the dynamics of energy and can also function as a kind of collective conscience to help us become more empathetic and more aware of the moral value of our actions.

  1. The soul does not die. Hutson points out that, from a scientific point of view, what we might call the soul or consciousness is a mental creation (something that the history of philosophy would refute, let alone religions). However, the belief that the soul survives the body, and therefore the brain, is among the most powerful in all cultures and religions. Belief in life after death alleviates the fear of absolute disappearance, of nothingness.
  2. Everything is alive.

Attributing human feelings and reactions to animals, technology or nature puts us in tune with everything around us.

  1. Things happen for a reason.

It’s a belief that gives life meaning,” says Hutson. We feel that what is happening to us is part of a larger narrative, a larger story, and it also gives us a sense of belonging. It also helps us understand transcendence, that is, everything bad or good happens is part of a lesson or a call to do better.”

All this, of course, if we analyze the positive values of magical thinking. Something very different is, as I mentioned at the beginning, the belief in superstition, horoscopes, Tarot readings, Runes, divination, and other “magical” elements that abound, for example, on the Internet.

The truth is, I do not believe in witches, but there are witches, there are witches.

By George
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George is a passionate writer and technical lead in a reputed company, he is contributing since 1997 to the web, and he has worked in the top 500 fortune companies and made his remark.
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