Thursday, August 23, 2018

Magical Thinking as Realpolitik

There is no denying that much of what makes us human is our irrationality. Take it away, and we become bags of chemicals ruled by electrical impulses and hormones. Some of our irrationality is simply random or downright stupid, but much of it is organized around specific schemes of reality-defying magical thinking. We have learned, over time, to keep our propensity for magical thinking somewhat under control in certain areas, but it can never be eliminated entirely. Even in such technological realms as nuclear energy, we magically think that it is possible to contrive a set of operating procedures such that nothing will ever go seriously wrong, giving us important events such as Chernobyl and Fukushima.