I recently picked up a book on my way through the airport called The Magicians, by Lev Grossman, that billed itself as “a mature Harry Potter.” I’d position it as more of a Harry Potter-meets-Orson Scott Card-meets-C.S.Lewis-meets-Kurt Vonnegut. Some amazing prose inside (and a fantastic storyline to boot), including this great piece:
“Language and reality are kept strictly apart – reality is tough, unyielding stuff and it doesn’t care what you think or feel or say about it. Or you shouldn’t. You deal with it, and you get on with your life.
“Little children don’t know that. Magical thinking: that’s what Freud called it. Once we learn otherwise we cease to be children. The separation of word and thing is the essential fact on which our adult lives are founded.
“But somewhere in the heat of magic that boundary between word and thing ruptures. It cracks, and the one flows back into the other, and the two melt together and fuse. Language gets tangled up with the world it describes.”
I love this. I think it’s a great metaphor for self-doubt, where the greatest barrier to our personal success is ourselves. We sometimes think too much instead of going with our innate understanding of what is right and what is wrong. Calling it a “gut feeling” makes it sound too much as if we’re leaving things to chance. I believe the idea of “magic thinking” is when you tap into the subconscious and uncover what you already know to be true.