Magical thinking. When you think about it, all THINKING is magical. What is a thought. In reality it is an electrical-chemical reaction in that 3 pound blob of jelly that holds your ears apart. Every thought is a miracle of evolution.
What really separates us from the other animals covered in fur, feathers, and scales, excluding Faeries, Unicorns, and Mermaids of course, is that some Homo Escapeons THINK that their THOUGHTS can affect the space/time continuum.
In Psychological terms Magical Thinking or Ideation, can be defined as the unreasonable expectation that your thoughts possess magical, invisible, energy which can affect Life in the Universe.
"Luke, USE the FORCE!"
This illusion of control or influence on the space outside of your noggin is an evolutionary, psychological aid that Homo Escapeons developed to combat the threat of living in this arbitrary, unpredictable, world. We needed a mechanism that allowed us to cope with the reality that sh*t happens, so we invented a crazy little thing called HOPE.
Why? Because most Homo Escapeons want and need to believe in an equitable Universe. We therefore choose to believe that good and bad things happen for a reason.
Some people opt for a belief in a universal, moral, Governor, collectively referred to as GOD. Most Theists believe that this personification of the Universe is keeping score on their behavior and doling out the appropriate punishments and rewards.
Life is perceived as the cumulative experience of receiving the rewards and/or punishments from GOD all of which are the direct result of their personal thoughts and deeds. It's a dress rehearsal for the afterlife because the nonsensical occurrences in this world couldn't possibly be all that there is to it???
Life is too CRAZY.
At one extreme, some Theists like the Prosperity Gospel Christians, view GOD as a cosmic bellhop who is at their beck and call to shower them with material wealth. At the other end of the spectrum are the martyrs who practice corporal mortification and deny themselves earthly pleasures as a sign of piety and subservience. Some Extremist Theists go so far as to blow themselves up in the hope of really impressing GOD despite the fact that their sacred text absolutely forbids it.
The vast majority of Homo Escapeons relate to GOD, or a reasonable facsimile, on a more practical (less dramatic) level and try to manage and balance their lives on the Doing Unto Others Gold Standard of human behavior:
Treat others the way you want to be treated. DUH.
Other forms of Theism allow adherents to interpret events from a more passive, nonparticipatory stance. The Karmic/Fatalistic point of view allows it's disciple the luxury of not being their brother's keeper. Personal interference is seen as meddling with the Grand Scheme Of Things. People get exactly what they deserve and personal interference is inconsequential: your fate is sealed.
Magical Ideation generally ranges from low in Skeptics who accept that sh*t happens and that they are accidental tourists (meh whatev) to completely overwhelming in Schizophrenics (it's all about ME ME ME) who envision something significant in everything.
For a few oddball Skeptical Empiricists like yours truly, who despite all evidence to the contrary, adore and embrace magical thinking, there are some serious issues to resolve. (HELP!) Managing my magical thinking, with varying, virtually imperceptible, levels of success, is accomplished by hourly reality checks and ritualistic ceremonial behavior such as Blogging and buying Lottery Tickets.
I need to flush my brainpan.
However at the epicentre of it all is DOPAMINE, the regrettably, labelled (DOPE)neuro-transmitter that tags and bags experiences as meaningful events and keeps meticulous records of such events.
My brain sounds like Jon "Bowzer" Bauman from Sha Na Na. Everytime I do something that feels good he sings:
"OOOH Let's Do Dat A-gain
Levels of this chemical in your brain may explain why some people are like TIGGER and ravish every waking moment waltzing in LA-LA-LAND while others are like EEYORE and struggle to see the point of getting out of bed in the morning to trudge through another miserable, meaningless, day. Somedays I somehow manage to be like both of these characters, simultaneously?
Perhaps some of you feel like that too?
Is your inner Eeyore/Tigger combo getting enough Dopamine to sustain your magical thinking?