Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Magical Thinking and Identity Politics

Robert Weissberg writes at Taki Magazine about the Donald Sterling brouhaha, and makes the following observation:
Central to magical thinking is the belief that thought in and of itself can have tangible real-world consequences. For example, someone dies after you imagined his death, though you are totally innocent of causing it. Add magical thinking and pure coincidences become a causal relationship: “I thought him dead and therefore he died.” In many Earth cultures, silence prevents hexing the outcome; this is why you don’t count your chickens before they hatch. Jews, fearing His wrath, are forbidden to utter God’s name and instead use multiple substitutes. The anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski associated magical thinking with primitive tribes (“savages”); Sigmund Freud saw magical thinking as a childhood trait, e.g., trying to receive a gift simply by wishing it.

The mother of all examples is white racism. There is a belief common among blacks that a white’s mental state can debilitate black people independent of any overt harmful behavior. The very invisibility of this force makes it magical.  ...
 I prefer the allusions to thought police, but I suppose "magical thinking" is more in line with the fanaticism of the left.

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