It's a sign / Magical thinking is stupid

Anything goes (almost).

It's a sign / Magical thinking is stupid

It's a sign! - just when I needed it most, I got a sign inexplicably from the universe or something!
11
37%
Magical thinking is stupid! - be logical & you won't find yourself in such desperate situations, clinging to such desperate nonsense.
19
63%
 
Total votes : 30

Re: It's a sign / Magical thinking is stupid

Postby tatpurusa » Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:21 pm

porpoise wrote:
tatpurusa wrote:... be careful, porpoises are directly born from avidyā :sage: :ugeek:


No, they're born from mummy and daddy porpoises.. :tongue:


..as a direct result of avidyā .. :tongue:
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Re: It's a sign / Magical thinking is stupid

Postby Astus » Fri Dec 06, 2013 2:10 pm

Magical thinking supposes unknown causal relations and/or an external intelligent force. It can serve as an explanation for not understood events, it provides a feeling of power. It is basically cheating oneself, accepting a lie for the sake of emotional comfort. Is it stupid to feel safe? Not at all. Can it generate positive mental states? Yes. It is not much different from conspiracy theories and paranoia.

Citing "interdependence" means very little. It does not mean in Buddhism that everything is connected to everything, and such. It is used to prove that all phenomena are composites without a substance. Although it is true that traditionally Buddhism accepts magic as a real thing, it has no explanation for it whatsoever, therefore it is nothing but accepting the ruling cultural beliefs, just as today many like to connect biochemical phenomena to meditation.

Magical thinking is also a sign of mental proliferation, the desire to explain everything. But that nobody can explain everything does not mean that simple concepts (e.g. God, karma, energy, UFO's) are the solution. They are not much better than children's stories.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: It's a sign / Magical thinking is stupid

Postby Anders » Fri Dec 06, 2013 5:39 pm

padma norbu wrote:
porpoise wrote:
AnShen wrote:I think the poll presents us with a false dichotomy.


Rationality often does.


Some things are signs, some things are not?


Maybe.

I indulge magical thinking now and then. Since I allowed myself this, I find I've become much more flexible in my thinking, open-minded and creative. Life is often richer with a bit of magic. Doesn't mean I take it literally though - But I play along with it now and then on the premise that it could be true. Whether it is or not, or turns out to be or not, isn't that relevant as the personal utility such thing might offer at that given time, even when it seems such magic is in fact very real.

I'm a big fan of rational empiricist thinking. And I tend to mislike magical thinking that is overly literal and fundamentalist. But the rational mind isn't, and shouldn't be, the only tangent for the human mind to play on.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: It's a sign / Magical thinking is stupid

Postby Anders » Fri Dec 06, 2013 5:44 pm

Astus wrote:Magical thinking is also a sign of mental proliferation, the desire to explain everything. But that nobody can explain everything does not mean that simple concepts (e.g. God, karma, energy, UFO's) are the solution. They are not much better than children's stories.


let's be sure to understand the concept here: Magical thinking is basically any kind of concept that is not founded in some sort of empirical causal evidence. Belief in reincarnation, karma, purelands, mahasattvas, etc all fall under this umbrella. Hell, a lot of actual experiences of same could fall under the same umbrella barring some means of external verification.

We aren't limited to UFOs here. What Buddhism understands to be causal fails most criteria for non-magical thinking.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: It's a sign / Magical thinking is stupid

Postby futerko » Fri Dec 06, 2013 6:00 pm

Anders wrote:Magical thinking is basically any kind of concept that is not founded in some sort of empirical causal evidence.


In fact, rationalism is based precisely on the hypothesis that concepts and knowledge are gained independently of empirical sensory experience.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ratio ... mpiricism/
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: It's a sign / Magical thinking is stupid

Postby padma norbu » Fri Dec 06, 2013 6:03 pm

I believe in UFOs and aliens piloting them. There is way too much information coming from credible sources to think that's just silly kid stuff and paranoia nutbaggery.
"Use what seems like poison as medicine. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings." Pema Chodron
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Re: It's a sign / Magical thinking is stupid

Postby Astus » Fri Dec 06, 2013 6:31 pm

Anders wrote:
Astus wrote:We aren't limited to UFOs here. What Buddhism understands to be causal fails most criteria for non-magical thinking.


Yes, where Buddhism says that one's intention and action modifies physical reality it is magical thinking. Only when karma is restricted to a personal mental continuum and its way of perception could we say that there is no "magic" involved. See this one here: Buddhist Magic.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: It's a sign / Magical thinking is stupid

Postby Anders » Fri Dec 06, 2013 6:44 pm

futerko wrote:
Anders wrote:Magical thinking is basically any kind of concept that is not founded in some sort of empirical causal evidence.


In fact, rationalism is based precisely on the hypothesis that concepts and knowledge are gained independently of empirical sensory experience.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ratio ... mpiricism/


"Rationalism" is a philosophical school yes. I think 'rational' thinking doesn't necessarily fall under the the umbrella of the 'pure reason' advocated by Descartes et al that Hume basically stopped dead in its tracks. in modern parlance, being 'rational' falls closer to the empiricist model - that is to say, one's thinking should be structured and properly sequenced, with proper basis for each step of the chain. Today, this implies empirical testing almost by default.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: It's a sign / Magical thinking is stupid

Postby futerko » Fri Dec 06, 2013 7:06 pm

Anders wrote:
futerko wrote:
Anders wrote:Magical thinking is basically any kind of concept that is not founded in some sort of empirical causal evidence.


In fact, rationalism is based precisely on the hypothesis that concepts and knowledge are gained independently of empirical sensory experience.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ratio ... mpiricism/


"Rationalism" is a philosophical school yes. I think 'rational' thinking doesn't necessarily fall under the the umbrella of the 'pure reason' advocated by Descartes et al that Hume basically stopped dead in its tracks. in modern parlance, being 'rational' falls closer to the empiricist model - that is to say, one's thinking should be structured and properly sequenced, with proper basis for each step of the chain. Today, this implies empirical testing almost by default.

For sure, modern science has tended towards a positivist/empiricist model, whereas I think Buddhist philosophy generally falls under the rationalist heading, and also in academic circles there is still a strong tradition critical of the lack of rationality found in the more observable results (i.e. cash) driven sciences.
As regards Hume basically stopping that tradition, try telling that to Kant and the German idealists. Maybe you are right regarding Anglo-Saxon thought, but in the Continental tradition Hume barely registers on the radar.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: It's a sign / Magical thinking is stupid

Postby padma norbu » Fri Dec 06, 2013 7:10 pm

Meanwhile, on a popular UFO website forum, they are discussing the rationality of buddhism...
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread971382/pg1

( ^^^ I found that to be a very interesting thread, btw)


:shrug:
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Re: It's a sign / Magical thinking is stupid

Postby Martin007 » Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:56 am

Anders wrote:I indulge magical thinking now and then. Since I allowed myself this, I find I've become much more flexible in my thinking, open-minded and creative. Life is often richer with a bit of magic.


Yes, I've found this to be the case too. I've also found that things are more interesting when one allows for possibilities - purely rational thinking can feel quite restrictive, and rather boring!
I received a Tara empowerment a long time ago and sometimes still chant the Tara mantra - it has an affect, and there is a feeling of connection. I sometimes wonder whether the connection is with something "internal" or something "external". When I'm in a skeptical mood I tend to dismiss the idea of an external connection, but at other times I reflect that it really doesn't matter.
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Re: It's a sign / Magical thinking is stupid

Postby padma norbu » Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:40 pm

porpoise wrote:
Anders wrote:I indulge magical thinking now and then. Since I allowed myself this, I find I've become much more flexible in my thinking, open-minded and creative. Life is often richer with a bit of magic.


Yes, I've found this to be the case too. I've also found that things are more interesting when one allows for possibilities - purely rational thinking can feel quite restrictive, and rather boring!
I received a Tara empowerment a long time ago and sometimes still chant the Tara mantra - it has an affect, and there is a feeling of connection. I sometimes wonder whether the connection is with something "internal" or something "external". When I'm in a skeptical mood I tend to dismiss the idea of an external connection, but at other times I reflect that it really doesn't matter.


Empowerment is a good topic for 'magical thinking.' Some transference occurs there which seems magical and people feel the need to 'refresh' them or get more. For me, personally, when I don't do Tara for a long time, for example, I have a feeling like "ah, it probably won't work now because I've waited too long..." and I feel like the magic connection is gone. But, then, if I do it, I still find it seems to work. If I do it regularly, however, it is as if by magic that I become somewhat 'immune' to the sadhana's charms and my mind wanders and I find it less transformative. So, there is a weird balance there which seems to hinge on my own personal magical thinking.
"Use what seems like poison as medicine. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings." Pema Chodron
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Re: It's a sign / Magical thinking is stupid

Postby Martin007 » Mon Dec 09, 2013 3:18 pm

padma norbu wrote:
porpoise wrote:I received a Tara empowerment a long time ago and sometimes still chant the Tara mantra - it has an affect, and there is a feeling of connection. I sometimes wonder whether the connection is with something "internal" or something "external". When I'm in a skeptical mood I tend to dismiss the idea of an external connection, but at other times I reflect that it really doesn't matter.


Empowerment is a good topic for 'magical thinking.' Some transference occurs there which seems magical and people feel the need to 'refresh' them or get more. For me, personally, when I don't do Tara for a long time, for example, I have a feeling like "ah, it probably won't work now because I've waited too long..." and I feel like the magic connection is gone. But, then, if I do it, I still find it seems to work. If I do it regularly, however, it is as if by magic that I become somewhat 'immune' to the sadhana's charms and my mind wanders and I find it less transformative. So, there is a weird balance there which seems to hinge on my own personal magical thinking.


Yes, I know what you mean. If I chant too much it feels like going through the motions, and somehow the connection is lost ( or maybe I'm just easily bored ;) ).
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Re: It's a sign / Magical thinking is stupid

Postby M.G. » Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:38 am

porpoise wrote:
Anders wrote:I indulge magical thinking now and then. Since I allowed myself this, I find I've become much more flexible in my thinking, open-minded and creative. Life is often richer with a bit of magic.


Yes, I've found this to be the case too. I've also found that things are more interesting when one allows for possibilities - purely rational thinking can feel quite restrictive, and rather boring!
I received a Tara empowerment a long time ago and sometimes still chant the Tara mantra - it has an affect, and there is a feeling of connection. I sometimes wonder whether the connection is with something "internal" or something "external". When I'm in a skeptical mood I tend to dismiss the idea of an external connection, but at other times I reflect that it really doesn't matter.


I'd be lying if I said that the Vajrayana's magical aspects weren't part of its appeal for me when I was young. I've left the tradition but certainly I remember some of that, like the effects of certain empowerments, seeming quite real. As long as one doesn't get hung up on that sort of thing I think its alright to take joy in it.
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Re: It's a sign / Magical thinking is stupid

Postby Lindama » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:09 am

porpoise wrote:
Anders wrote:I indulge magical thinking now and then. Since I allowed myself this, I find I've become much more flexible in my thinking, open-minded and creative. Life is often richer with a bit of magic.


Yes, I've found this to be the case too. I've also found that things are more interesting when one allows for possibilities - purely rational thinking can feel quite restrictive, and rather boring!
I received a Tara empowerment a long time ago and sometimes still chant the Tara mantra - it has an affect, and there is a feeling of connection. I sometimes wonder whether the connection is with something "internal" or something "external". When I'm in a skeptical mood I tend to dismiss the idea of an external connection, but at other times I reflect that it really doesn't matter.


Glad to hear that thinking is becoming more flexible for you two... but, open minded and creative thinking is not the same thing as magical thinking.... far from it. Magical thinking carries a diff kind of fantasy. Be clear about the definition for magical thinking.
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Re: It's a sign / Magical thinking is stupid

Postby smcj » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:38 am

...open minded and creative thinking is not the same thing as magical thinking.... far from it. Magical thinking carries a diff kind of fantasy. Be clear about the definition for magical thinking.

To me superstitions are idea like, "If I break a mirror I will have 7 years bad luck" Synchronicity is when unrelated events happen that seem to have a thematic relationship. Magical thinking are ideas like, "If I have a positive attitude about money I'll become rich."

Those are just my ideas, not formal definitions. I think most of the discussion here has been about synchronicity, where unrelated events seem to signify something.
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Re: It's a sign / Magical thinking is stupid

Postby Lindama » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:48 am

smcj wrote:
...open minded and creative thinking is not the same thing as magical thinking.... far from it. Magical thinking carries a diff kind of fantasy. Be clear about the definition for magical thinking.

To me superstitions are idea like, "If I break a mirror I will have 7 years bad luck" Synchronicity is when unrelated events happen that seem to have a thematic relationship. Magical thinking are ideas like, "If I have a positive attitude about money I'll become rich."

Those are just my ideas, not formal definitions. I think most of the discussion here has been about synchronicity, where unrelated events seem to signify something.


there is a diff between magical thinking, illusion, synchronicity, and open minded and creative thinking. Superstition has nothing to do with this. And, synchronicity has everything to do with related events if you tune into it... it's impermaent and empty at the core even with synchronicity. Can't say much about open minded and creative thinking... except yes!

I forgot about being rich long ago.... forget the positive attitude...
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Re: It's a sign / Magical thinking is stupid

Postby Martin007 » Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:29 am

Lindama wrote:
porpoise wrote:
Anders wrote:I indulge magical thinking now and then. Since I allowed myself this, I find I've become much more flexible in my thinking, open-minded and creative. Life is often richer with a bit of magic.


Yes, I've found this to be the case too. I've also found that things are more interesting when one allows for possibilities - purely rational thinking can feel quite restrictive, and rather boring!
I received a Tara empowerment a long time ago and sometimes still chant the Tara mantra - it has an affect, and there is a feeling of connection. I sometimes wonder whether the connection is with something "internal" or something "external". When I'm in a skeptical mood I tend to dismiss the idea of an external connection, but at other times I reflect that it really doesn't matter.


Glad to hear that thinking is becoming more flexible for you two... but, open minded and creative thinking is not the same thing as magical thinking.... far from it. Magical thinking carries a diff kind of fantasy. Be clear about the definition for magical thinking.


It depends on how one defines magical thinking, and I think there are nuances - unfortunately "magical thinking" is often used in a pejorative sense, which overlooks the possibility of skillful means. Does magical thinking include the idea of connecting with something external? Or is the distinction between believing that something mysterious is happening, as opposed to acknowledging the possibility?
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Re: It's a sign / Magical thinking is stupid

Postby padma norbu » Tue Dec 10, 2013 6:34 pm

Lindama wrote:I forgot about being rich long ago.... forget the positive attitude...


There's your problem right there! ;)

But, seriously, it sounds like you don't have a friend wearing big red shoes. I think the best cure for disbelief in magic of any sort is to go pick up a copy of the most terrifying grimoire you can find and and play around with it for a while. Comically, the one that works the most wonders (of a terrible sort) is the one which is roundly denounced as a fake even by serious occultists. I'll let you find that on your own. Just to be clear, though, I don't recommend this at all. I don't need the karma of connecting you to that stuff. I tried such things and it's probably the main reason I can take the Tibetan tradition seriously, since I am a skeptic by nature. Whenever I get that old skeptical feeling again, I just evaluate two ideas: do the Tibetans seem trustworth? Yes. Is there such thing as magic? Oh, most definitely. ...But, there is a distinction between magic and magical thinking of the mentally ill variety, and that's the distinction I was trying to make in the original poll question.
"Use what seems like poison as medicine. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings." Pema Chodron
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Re: It's a sign / Magical thinking is stupid

Postby tatpurusa » Tue Dec 10, 2013 7:59 pm

What most Western educated rationalists do not understand is that superstition and magic (or magical thinking) as practiced and utilized in tantra are not the same at all.
If someone regards these two as equivalent, loses the whole transformative potential of tantra.
In the best case then, it stays as some kind of phychotherapy, but not more. This is still quite powerful, but stays light-years behind the real potential of tantra.
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