A little reflection on the balance between magical thinking and scientific thinking:
“Science has organized this nervousness into a regular technique, her so-called method of verification; and she has fallen so deeply in love with this method that one may even say she has ceased to care for truth by itself at all. It is only truth as technically verified that interests her. The truth of truths might come in merely affirmative form, and she would decline to touch it.”
“And where faith in a fact can help create the fact, that would be an insane logic to say that faith running ahead of scientific evidence is the ‘lowest kind of immorality’ into which thinking can fall. Yet such is the logic by which our scientific absolutists pretend to regulate our lives!”
William James, p 21 & p 25 of The Will To Believe, Dover Publications, 1956/ originally published 1897
- It seems silly and unscientific to believe in visualization, positive thinking, or the possibility of thinking things into being.
- Yet, any objective observation of people who are high achievers shows this: they not only allow for the possibility that they will succeed, more commonly they have an inordinately strong belief that they will succeed. If you don’t believe it, you won’t begin it, regardless what you think about cause and effect.
Thus, especially so far as human achievement goes, magical thinking is far more useful than scientific thinking.