Magical Thinking

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Author’s definition[edit]

This is a mode of thought in which a person believes that if they or others can do something which is impossible or highly improbable in defiance of the laws of physics. Implicitly they believe that either they or someone else has superhuman powers, making them very special and extraordinarily capable.

Types and sources[edit]

Magical thinking can occur in fantasy, in which case it is not delusional. Or, when the person has a fixed idea that they have magical powers it is delusional. (Magical thinking is found in many religious texts. For example, it was believed that Tibet’s great Yogi Milarepa could fly.) It is found in the fantasy life of children and in the delusions of paranoia and manic-depressive psychosis. These delusions can be exhilarating especially if they come in rapid succession. Magical thinking bypasses reality testing, which is to say that the person does not pause to consider if his ideas are plausible within the limits of time, space or physics. It is as if these limitations are megalomaniacally disregarded as unwanted impositions.

Latent magical thinking in the present treatment of fibromyalgia and past treatments of yesteryear for neurasthenia[edit]

Magical thinking can be “implicit” or “latent” as when there is no overt conscious claim, but it is reasonable to infer the presence of magical thinking when a person consistently selected far-fetched instant cures of no or very little proven value to treat their fibromyalgia.