Magical thinking is the assumption that if I do this, then that will happen. It is an illogical thought pattern that involves linking unrelated actions or events.
Things like emotional stress and events of great personal significance can push us toward magical meaning-making.
Magical thinking is widespread and most of the time it’s harmless, such as the use of mascots in sports. But there is a tipping point, beyond which it can become quite sinister and even deadly.
Magical thinking usually comes in the guise of simple, straightforward solutions for any number of problems. When a really bad thing happens, like being diagnosed with cancer, the lure of magical thinking can become dangerously irresistible.
Magical thinking tells us for example that science has got it wrong and that it is possible to cure cancer without conventional medicine, provided we follow the right diet, take the right supplements, think the right thoughts or have the right attitude.
It sounds absolutely wonderful and it dampens our fears and make us breathe again, now that the threat of surgery, chemo and radiation has gone.
But sadly, none of it is true and just like the singing of the treacherous nymph Lorelei, it is sure to lead us into destruction.
What are they trying to make us believe, these peddlers of magical thinking?
They tell countless different stories – the internet is overflowing with them. But in essence, they all come down to these three:
1. Science is wrong: cancer is not caused by DNA mutations
We are told that scientists are narrow minded people who are incapable of thinking “outside the box.” That is why they can’t see the real cause of cancer, which is always very simple: a common infection, a simple fungus, a parasite, brought about by the wrong lifestyle. And because the cause of cancer is so utterly simple, it is equally simple to cure it, as long as you follow the right alternative treatment.
It would be wonderful if things were really that simple, but sadly they are not, which science has been shown over and over again.
2. The Body can Heal Itself
You only have to support it, by eating the right things, like apricot kernels, or a very special diet, or lots of supplements. This is often called “boosting your immune system.” If you do this the rest of your life, the cancer will go away and never come back.
Our body can indeed heal itself – most of the time, but sometimes it needs special help, when it’s being besieged by a dangerous terrorist like cancer for example.
It would be very unfair and very unwise to expect our body to deal with this lethal and relentless enemy with nothing more than a healthy lifestyle. That is just plain silly and akin to suicide, for there are many more factors that define our immune system than food and exercise. Besides, prevention is not the same thing as cure.
3. There can be no cancer in a healthy body, but for your body to be healthy, your mind must be healthy first
So what you need to do is clean your mind, by solving your inner conflicts, forgiving and receiving forgiveness and always having a positive attitude. Then your body can focus all its energy on staying healthy, at which you can help it by feeding it the right things.
The reality is that cancer cells just don’t give a hoot about our thoughts, our feelings or our attitude. They just continue to do what they do best: divide and grow.
What if the magic doesn’t work?
If the magic doesn’t work – and it never does – there’s only the patient to blame: they weren’t disciplined enough with their diet, they didn’t solve their inner conflicts, they weren’t forgiving enough, they didn’t take the right supplements, etc, etc.
It is a cruel magic, and the more alluring the story, the more dangerous it is.