koralleen (koralleen) wrote,

It's Magic

Around a bonfire, talking about books, I mentioned that I was enjoying The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking: How Irrational Beliefs Keep Us Happy, Healthy, and Sane, causing a guy to elbow his partner. "See? I told you magic was a thing now!" Turns out he's reading The Return of Merlin, which I didn't know was a thing, so it's good that I stopped to chat by the bonfire.

But back to Hutson's book: it was pretty fun. The seven "laws" are actually author-imposed categories for types of thought supported by examples that run the gamut from scientific studies, through celebrity quotes, to personal anecdotes. Some of his arguments for how this thinking is beneficial were unconvincing, but thinking about thinking always almost entertains me. Unless I have a headache.

Here they are, the laws as described by chapter headings. I haven't used the <ol> tag in a long time, so this is exciting:

  1. Objects Carry Essences: cooties, contagion, and historicity
  2. Symbols Have Power: spells, ceremonies, and the law of similarity
  3. Actions Have Distant Consequences: using superstition to make luck work for you
  4. The Mind Knows No Bounds: psychokinesis, ESP, and transcendence
  5. The Soul Lives On: death is not the end of us
  6. The World Is Alive: animals, objects, and gods are people, too
  7. Everything Happens For A Reason: you've got a date with destiny

Of course he had my attention from the start with the idea of provenance, something that imbues an object with intuitively obvious value... why? Using metaphor as more than a poetic device, the nature of fate, interpreting brain phenomena—any of the chapters would fuel an interesting discussion. The epilogue is called "The World is Sacred". Unfortunately, as he bundled all of these ideas into a bin marked "Crucial for Meaningful Existence" I realized that I was more intrigued than convinced. Nonetheless, it was worth a look.

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.