Saturday, November 17, 2007

Magical Thinking

I have been thinking of doing The Crazy.* The Crazy takes two weeks and leaves one in her skinny jeans, not to mention on another spiritual plane.

Nina has been washing a lot of cupcakes down with vodka lately, so The Crazy is an excellent idea, especially since seven weeks from now, Nina's schedule includes a winter ascent of Mt. Washington, (ie, mountaineering). Climbing Mt. Washington is a hard day's work. I know because I turned around just short of the summit last season because Zeb said it was too dangerous to continue. That failed summit has been haunting me ever since.

I'm sorry. Where was I?

Reader, I am terrified to crack into the inaugural vial of The Crazy because of magical thinking, defined below (thank you, Wikipedia):

While having no universally accepted definition, magical thinking is described in anthropology, psychology and cognitive science as causal reasoning that often includes such ideas as the law of contagion, correlation equalling causation, the power of symbols and the ability of the mind to affect the physical world.

...Like science, magic is concerned with causal relations, but unlike science, it does not distinguish correlation from causation. For example, a man who has won a bowling competition in a given shirt may then believe this shirt is lucky. He will continue to wear the shirt to bowling competitions, and though he continues to win some and lose some, he will chalk up every win to his lucky shirt.

Magical thinking can occur when one simply does not understand possible causes, as illustrated by Sir Arthur C. Clarke's suggestion that "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" (see Clarke's three laws), but can also occur in response to situations that are largely random or chaotic, such as a coin toss, as well as in situations that one has little or no control over, especially those one is emotionally invested in. (Indeed, this can be seen as a special case of failure to understand possible causes: specifically, a failure to understand the laws of probability that guarantee the occurrence of coincidences and seeming patterns.)

I have done The Crazy three times, and each time, something terrible happens on the 10th day. And no, I am not talking about small scale terrible.

1) The first time, I crashed a mountain bike and broke my elbow. (Don't say that's not a big deal, because my arm was screwed up for six months. Thank you.)

2) The second time, my dad was diagnosed with leukemia.

3) The third time, I lost my job (ok one of them but my dad was in the ICU at the time and I was broke and I so did not need that shit to happen right then).

Dare I attempt The Crazy for the fourth time?

Wouldn't it be less trouble to just go shoot somebody or throw my cat out the window?

Because I have a thing about correlation equalling causation?


Ok, cracking into the first batch of herbs. Will report back later with (possible) progress.

*two work outs a day, no drinking, no cupcakes. (!) Lots of arugula, vitamins and Chinese herbs. I haven't looked at the rules in a while but I am pretty sure you are also supposed to refrain from sexual activity and also pray for three hours a day. Wait, that might have been Lent. Sorry.


Lola said...

Hee hee hee, funny.
Go for it!
I'd do it with you post Thanksgiving.
You know I need you to cry and bitch to during crazy because I am hungry and cranky and unsedated and it's all ur fault because you showed me the holy grail to slimness.. :-)
Good Luck Sistah!

LizB said...

The Crazy sounds pretty, um, crazy. Just be healthy, ok? You're too cool of a person to be unhealthy. Glad to read that your dad is possibly in remission -- that's hopeful news.

ByJane said...

all that hiking? that's really crazy. why not just get new friends...

Nina said...

Lola, you know very well that I am just weird enough to try The Crazy (tm) during Thanksgiving week. I'll let you know how it goes.

LizB, yeah I know. It's not THAT crazy. Re: my dad, I am not willing (yet) to use the word remission. It's uncanny that he's done so well, and we don't have an explanation. If he's still lifting 80 pound bags of mortar mix in two months, I might consider using it. Maybe.

Jane, I love the hiking, so it's no issue. It would be nice if I were faster, but for days when I am not, I have other non-hiking friends. I'll get by, Crazy or no.