Thursday, 23 June 2011

Tragical thinking.

So, inspired by a tweet by Tim Minchin, I'm going to try to rid myself of all the traces of magical thinking. What's magical thinking you say? Essentially it's the kind of thinking that makes bogus connections between thoughts, words or actions effects in the real world, like prayer, spell-casting or, at a lesser level, superstitious beliefs like black cats being unlucky (or lucky, depending on who you listen too). Of course I don't pray, or cast spells (any more), or avoid black cats or walking under ladders, except when safety dictates, but there are traces of this kind of thinking in some of my, and most other people's, words and mannerisms, and I'm going to try get rid of them all.

So this means no more:

  • wishing people good luck
  • crossing fingers (or saying crossed-fingers) for luck or to negate bad luck
  • touching wood (fnarr fnarr)
  • saying things like "well of course it's rained, it's because I washed the car"
  • correlating weather with my failure to dress appropriately for it
  • etc.
even in jest.
    Of course most of the time when we say or do these things we're using them as a shorthand for something else, like expressing sympathy for or solidarity with a friend in fix, or exasperation with our own stupidity. I'm just going to have to find better ways of expressing those things without indulging in stupidity. The idea that thoughts or words or actions can affect reality without a non-supernatural causal link really is one of the daftest going around, so if anyone catches me saying or doing such things, please point it out.

    I don't think it's going to be easy; wish me luck! ;)

    Update: of course there's one symbol I'm not giving up, because it's too fucking awesome, and that's the sign of warding against the evil eye, AKA the rock/metal hand.


    Faithless Eye said...

    Good luck!
    I've managed to completely purge myself of the "Bless You" reaction. I'm happy about this, but there's a definite silent gap left in its place now.

    I blogged on the whole "just my luck thing" a while ago. Double my readership and have a look!

    Faithless Eye said...

    Perhaps I'll provide a link


    Timmeh! said...

    "Gesundheit" is a good replacement for "bless you"; it literally means "wellness" and is a simple way of expressing "I hope you get better"

    Faithless Eye said...

    Interesting... hmm, I'll give that a whirl.