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Magical Thinking

In the articulations of cognitive scientists we are told, “Children blur the border between thinking and doing, between the inner space of imagination and the outer space of objectivity. The young child confuses the volitional act of willing with causality.” How familiar is this terrain to the “adults” within our society? Is there not a similar confusion between thinking and doing expressed in the hypocrisy of those Americans who heed religious doctrines which champion the virtues of charity, tolerance, and austerity while they lead lifestyles quite to the contrary? Too often is this childlike condition equally expressed by those “progressive”-minded members of the public (liberals, leftists, etc) who believe that shifting one’s consciousness is, in and of itself, a political act which will lead to significant change. Unfortunately, power maintains itself quite nicely when people are content to simply ‘think’ about an alternative realty. Perhaps that is why both Dante and Zen Buddhists claim that the lowest “hell” is reserved for those who can do ‘good’ but choose to do nothing. Such are the fecund conditions nourishing the insidiousness of the Commodity and the modus operandi of Debord’s “spectacle”: “So far from realizing philosophy, the spectacle philosophizes reality, and turns the material life of everyone into a universe of speculation.” On the contrary, change and effect come to bear only when philosophy is a subjective proposition, desire and praxis that are applied to the event. In this way “magical thinking” drops its cloak of transcendental escapism and materializes as a political counterperception – an alternative worldview that summons the creative and prophetic power of the multitude and necessitates acts of conviction in order to realize transformation.

To read more of this article, Transformation Magic: Transforming understandings of “Transformation” – follow this link to The Center for Tactical Magic


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