13 Comments

I think that what you describe here is a close cousin to divergent thinking, something incredibly useful to a writer. Magical thinking assigns connections that aren't really there to things, but divergent thinking kind of does the same thing- comparisons from one industry or field of study can provide amazing insights into other fields, like the way Murray Gell-Mann took almost a grammatical approach to classifying fundamental particles in the 60s.

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When I think of magical thinking, I generally think of two kinds: the innocence of childhood and in the minds of the severely disturbed. In childhood, magical thinking allows us to generate hopes and dreams and to know what we truly want. It fosters imagination and emotional coping. In the severely disturbed, this veers into conspiracy theories and delusions, where rigid fixed beliefs are resistant to change, even in the face of contradictory evidence. There is a third kind of magical thinking in between the two. Its the willing suspension of disbelief when we read fiction or watch a film. Its very much like enjoying pretend play in childhood but can help us to explore darker thoughts and feelings that we may not do on a typical day.

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How amazing that of all the things that could of appeared when you asked for a sign, you actually saw a unicorn!

I really enjoy stories like this, because even if we dont have a rational explanation for it, there is something comforting about the idea that if we ask for guidance we may just get it.

I tend to believe that our ages over-emphasis on being rational all of the time, can sometimes be unhelpful because as I see it, there is no reason to expect our crazy and complex universe to always act rationally. In fact, I think expecting it to do so is irrational.

Great read Priya.

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As someone who has spent a large portion of my adult life in religious settings I heard many of these types of stories. I've had an evolution of thinking about it but can definitely say this type of thing has brought comfort and hope to dozens of people. Your story is particularly powerful and does feed the little kid in me who longs for the world to be good and generous

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I guess my question is: if it really was the universe talking to you by showing you the unicorn, did it give you the right answer? Were you happy staying at the job? Or was it beneficial in some way to your king range hopes and plans?

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