Cluse Krings

 Vom Untergang der Moderne










Magisches Denken

Das Zitat im Buch entspricht dem Original, wie es hier dokumentiert ist. Jedoch springt der Autor zwischen den Themen hin und her, so dass für die Druckausgabe Kürzungen und Umgruppierungen vorgenommen werden mussten. Im Original lautet der Aufsatz (in Auszügen):

"Scientific thinking is hard is because our brains are not wired for it. Instead, our minds are wired for magical thinking. Magical thinking is a part of all aspects of our lives, and exists at the core of neural functioning.

What is scientific thinking?
Scientific thinking is a process of testing ideas with evidence. It is a process of having a theory about how things work in the world, and then going out and doing an experiment or making an observation to see whether that theory actually pans out. [...]

What are some other kinds of thinking?
Logical thinking is a way of testing out relationships between ideas. Logical thinking can be used to see whether two theories are consistent or inconsistent with one another. Logical thinking can be used to see whether one theory can be broken down into smaller or more basic assumptions. Logical thinking can be used to see whether one theory automatically implies another theory. However, logical thinking has nothing to do with the real world: it is about relating ideas to ideas.
Magical thinking is a process of coming up with stories to explain things. Like scientific thinking, magical thinking is about creating relationships between ideas and the world. However, magical thinking doesn’t involve testing or skepticism. Instead, magical thinking is about seeking out patterns and relationships! Magical thinking is about coming up with a good story to explain our experiences in life.
(Some people would simply call this “creative thinking”, but I prefer the term “magical thinking” and you will understand why later on in this article.)
Magic vs. ScienceMagical thinking and scientific thinking are very different. Scientific thinking is skeptical, while magical thinking is always ready to believe a good story. Scientific thinking believes in coincidences, whereas magical thinking hates coincidences because it knows there is always a secret connection between things! Scientific thinking seeks out the exception that will disprove the rule, while with magical thinking sucks up every pattern it can and ignores everything else!
Magical thinking acts like a positive feedback loop: it will find patterns within patterns within patterns, that will grow and grow until everything seems related to everything else, and even inconsistent evidence seems to be a confirming part of the puzzle. (Magical thinking is behind most political conspiracy theories.)
Scientific thinking is relatively recent thing, historically-speaking. Greeks didn’t have scientific thinking. They knew the dangers of leaving magical thinking unchecked, however, so they tried to temper it with logical thinking. This was the idea behind their dialogues and rational philosophy. In order to keep magical theories from getting out of hand, they would question them using logical analysis. They would look for consistencies and inconsistencies in arguments, and try to break down theories into simpler and more fundamental pieces.
This approach–a combination of magical thinking and logical thinking–continued throughout antiquity and through the middle ages. The whole idea of testing hypotheses with experiments and data didn’t really catch on until the Renaissance. [...]
Even though we have now had the idea of scientific thinking for a few hundred years in human culture, people are still terrible at it.
People don’t believe in coincidences, but they do believe in horoscopes. People think “everything happens for a reason” and they are more persuaded by personal stories that “just make sense” than experiments and statistics. Ultimately, magical thinking is what comes naturally to people, and requires a real effort for most people to use scientific thinking at all… and even then they only succeed part of the time.
I’d like to propose, however, that this is very natural and understandable when you look at the way that our brains work. I think people are hard-wired for magical thinking, and that is why it comes so naturally.
The human mind is a story-creating machine. Internally, the connections within the brain are set up with all kinds of positive feedback loops that allow us to partially figure things out based on very incomplete information. This is why we can figure things out so quickly. This is why we can see a rich and detailed world around us, even though the information about patterns of light that we get from our eyes is terrible and two-dimensional and incomplete. [...]
So story-telling is essential to our perception. The magical process of creating patterns, and even finding patterns where there might be none, is wired into us at such a low level that it affects our very senses.
It should not be surprising, therefore, that thinking magically comes so much more easily–at every level, and on every topic–than thinking scientifically.

Titel: Magical thinking is easy and scientific thinking is hard, Greg Stevens
December 20th, 2012

George Orwell













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