magical thinking redux

03/07/2023 2 By BuddyCushman

Yesterday’s Blog post mentioned magical thinking. I’d like to riff on it just a bit more.

If you want to be all serious and technical and properly realistic, I suppose, the term “magical thinking” belongs squarely in the realm of mental health. Or, better said, an example of a problem with mental health. The kind of “bible” of diagnoses – the DSM 5 – quotes: ” Magical thinking can be a sign of various disorders other than psychoses.” It’s mentioned in “Generalized Anxiety Disorder.” It’s connected with “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.” In folks with “high polygenic risk for schizophrenia.” And then in “Healthline” there’s this: “People with schizotypal personality disorder are often identified as having an eccentric personality. They might take magical thinking, superstitions, or paranoid thoughts very seriously, avoiding people whom they irrationally mistrust. They also might dress strangely or ramble in speech.

I don’t know. I just came back from the mirror, and the thing staring back at me sounds a lot like that last description. In fact, so does lots of what’s found day in and day out in this Blog. “Eccentric.” “Avoiding people.” “Dress strangely.” “Ramble in speech.”

I wonder if belief in Peter Pan qualifies as magical thinking? That hummingbirds fly close to your face and hover, just hoping for a bit of a chat? That the idea of chasing a job at age 74 is both crazy and wickedly wonderfully guerilla-theatre-like behavior? That life, in fact, can be a dream?

Yesterday’s post said, quite succinctly – “Monday – this is a day for magical thinking.” Like thinking “One-Eyed Willy” was a real, in-the-flesh cat. Back there in Astoria. And that there is a pot of gold somewhere in the Universe, with my name on it. Gainfully employed or not. Wildly waving this wand, or not.