Magical thinking is becoming quite broad and frighteningly popular. When magical thinking pervades a society, widespread disconnect, followed by actively erupting disillusionment, is the inevitable result. By and large, we believe the imports of these make believe phenomenon/magical thinking, in all spheres of socio-economic existence, is essentially due to the strategy of globally entrenched interests. All the major institutions of humanity are systemically geared to numbing the masses. It is not for no reason we affectionately call the ‘human mass’ of each and every society the ‘sheeple’ (sheep + people). Without the project of zombifying the sheeple (sorry for the redundancy) the world’s dominant interests cannot always get away with their ritualized murdering, so to speak!
Here is a benign general definition. ‘Magical thinking is a type of thought process based on questionable cause and effect relationships. This can lead a person to hold false ideas and make poor decisions. In some cases, magical thinking plays some type of positive role that improves creativity or quality of life’. For us, a more nuanced and biting explication of the phrase is preferred, subsequently; ‘Magical Thinking’ is nothing more than a type of thinking fixated almost always on the magical, i.e., on the irredeemably irrational. In other words, it is thinking ‘outside of reality’! If magical thinking is widespread in a society, the possibility of rational thinking usurping power, hence responsibilities, is going to be remote. Such a situation is now prevalent in the majority of human collectives/societies. Why is the world having more and more individuals, people, corporations, states, etc., immersed in magical thinking? Our answer is simple; it is because late modernity is incapable of surviving actually existing reality! See the articles next column, on pages 30.
Let’s use current and somewhat familiar examples to illustrate the point. In Ethiopia, private banks profess to pay a dividend of 50% per annum. Obviously, this is not a prudent business model, by any stretch of imagination. Elsewhere, such Ponzi utterances can easily start a bank run, but not here. It seems there is no room for rational reflection on such critical matters in our country. Be that as it may, it is obvious that banks play significant role in late modernity. Therefore, if banks are getting such basic fundamentals wrong, then one can imagine what kind of blunders other gullible economic actors are liable to make, invariably at the expense of the sheeple’s livelihood. Between our mighty industrialists, who are bravely assailing the formidable manufacturing challenge of bottling God given water in plastics, and the highly depraved tenderpreneurs/rentiers corrupting all state apparatus, the country’s hope of creating a capable modern sector is bound to remain only a pipe dream. But don’t sweat it too much; what we lack in creativity can be amply compensated with our unfailing magical thinking!
Less than half a decade ago, the Ethiopian government was going around boasting that it had managed to raise a couple of billions of USD from the international capital market without a glitch. If memory serves us right, the underwriter/handler was Goldman Sachs. To critical analysts the whole theatrics seemed embarrassingly amateurish, if not out rightly imbecilic. As usual, we opined against such magical thinking, but to no avail. The magical thinking, backing the government’s decision was the unfounded belief in the country’s capacity to service the debt as well as pay the principal without sweat, i.e., without rescheduling or (anticipated) debt forgiveness. With plenty of useful idiots around (from the lenders’ point of view), our voices were drowned swiftly. Nonetheless, we fruitlessly continued to holler; these useless idiots (our sentiment) have no clue as to the real workings of transnational capital, financial, industrial, etc. Highly educated all the way up to complete daftness and subjugation, these cretins/useless idiots and their preaching were accepted as the epitome of erudition. Beware of false Prophets in late modernity, says the Good book!
Trusting the Goldman Sachs of this world, on its own, is an example of unadulterated magical thinking. These so-called investment banks (before they collapsed in 2008 and changed their status to ordinary banks) have proved, time and again, their unreliability the world over. Greece was taken to the cleaners, never to recuperate, on the account of Goldman Sachs’ expensive ‘guidance’. During the last decade Africa was ordered to sing the tune; ‘it is time for Africa’ or in the parlance of the propagandists; ‘Africa Rising’, all on the back of another cyclical commodity boom, which was known to be short lived. Today, we are not singing but crying. Don’t expect our good for nothing elites/leadership (not only political) to self-flagellate for their gross mistakes. If anything, these states and their leaders are now working, yet again, on other unworkable projects (New Green Development, Sustainable, blah, blah.), mostly to collect pittance from the pushers of these initiatives (OECD countries)!
Truth is; when the sheeple starts thinking magically, it tends to feel good.
Achieving all our dreams through sheer desire is what one of the modern day philosophers from Hollywood’s ivory tower is advocating. “I operate from a place of delusion – that’s what the Fame is all about….I want people to walk around delusional about how great they can be-and then to fight so hard for it everyday that the lie becomes the truth.” Good Day!