Difference between magical thinking and delusions?

Aren’t they kinda the same?

What magical thinking do you have?

An overly simplified example of the difference between the two:

Magical thinking = I believe that a man walked on the water 2000 years ago!
Delusion = I KNOW that I can walk on water!

Children or primitive tribal people often display magical thinking.

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They can be the same thing if your delusions are ‘spiritual’ in nature. If your delusions are about real things (red cars are out to get me for example) , then it’s different.

Celery is 90% of water, I can walk on celery, therefore I can walk on 90% of water :wink:


That’s paranoia, though, right?

I think paranoia is a delusion. A delusion of persecution. I suffer from it.

Oh, I see. I also have delusions, paranoia and this so-called magical thinking.

I wonder what makes our brains so prone to delusions and persecution paranoia. It’s strange that so many have it, but so many live their whole lives not knowing how it feels.

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I always feel people want to murder me. If I stand outside and a car drives by I just know I will be targeted for murder. It hasn’t happened yet, so it must be ridiculous.

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I had a bad run of paranoia for the past few days after being paranoia free for quite a while.

Magical thinking can be rational conjecture. The difference is you know what the thought is and can control it. You can accept that you are wrong, unlike the two partied in our current government.

That would be a paranoid delusion. Why would do you think they want to kill you? It sounds as if it’s just an emotional reaction and has no basis in reality.

Are you taking any medications or seeing a therapist for this? Living in a non-stop state of fear is hell and is no way to live your life.

Yes, I take medication and have therapy and it’s going well. I’ve noticed my paranoid delusions and magical thinking are fading into the background. I’ve lived with it unmedicated for so long, now it seems strange that it’s fading.

My feeling of being targeted for murder is also fading. No worries.

That’s nice! It sounds like you’re finally getting your life straightened up! Keep up the good work! :+1:

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A layer was placed on the water, an invisible imperceptible layering that they were walking on.

Looks totally real but no no one was actually walking on water, sure as hell could look like it though.

Neat ■■■■■■■ trick eh? Looks totally real!

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Here’s something from my history that I’ve considered to be magical thinking, but please correct me if I’m using the term wrongly.

My cat Puck died after years of kidney disease. It was important to watch his and water intake, etc. As he got sick, I learned a lot about what diets help and what diets hurt, and learned that there were things I could have done differently that might have led to a better outcome.

I got a kitten the year after he died, and I was determined to do everything possible thing right for her. Best foods, best litter, best vaccination schedule, all recommended appointments, etc. I mixed up supplements for her with her meals. I was vigilant. At a not very deep level, I believed that by doing these tasks and demonstrating my contrition and dedication, I would somehow bring Puck back. And whenever anything went wrong with Claude, I felt as if I were losing my chance at Puck all over again. Logically, I knew better. Emotionally, I was convinced. I struggled with this for a long time.

Magical thinking: If I walk anti clockwise three times round the lounge it will be safe to go in the kitchen.

Delusional thinking: I am going to give birth to aliens.

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Would, If I walk anti-clockwise three times every day at sundown from equinox to equinox, I will give birth to aliens, be magical thinking + delusion?

My understanding of magical thinking was that it was a fault in recognizing causation. You believe certain outcomes will arise from unrelated actions.

Magical thinking seems to be strongly related to OCD. I have one thing that could loosely(I think) be called magical thinking or a ritual.
I tend to have thoughts that I am going to have a brain haemorrhage ,stroke etc while in bed at night or die in my sleep. When these thoughts come my automatic response is to utter a nonsensical phrase(that has no logical connection)- "The conservatives are going to lose the election 6 goals to 3 "- until the thoughts have receded. I wasn’t always like that, ie had a safety saying.

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Jesus is real > I am jesus

Aliens are real > I speak to aliens and they speak to me

Magical is basically another word for mysterious

For magical thinking to work you must have faith that it is true


Yeah, the commonplace example of magical thinking that they talk about is sports fans thinking that wearing a certain shirt, doing or not doing a certain thing, will cause their team to win or lose a game. It’s the thought that x influences y that makes it magical thinking. I’m not sure if other forms of superstition fall under it.