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George Davis

George Davis

Sex, Magic, and Astrology

Sometimes what you feel is as useful as what you know.

I have a potentially important young business associate (YBA) who I communicated with a few times by email before telling him he was a Virgo. He said yes and wondered how I knew. I didn’t know I felt.

As a professor at Rutgers University if my sensitivities were high I could come to the first meeting of a class and after short conversations pick out every Libra in the room. Sure there was something of the parlor game about it to get students comfortable with the course; but I almost never miss with Virgo, Libra, and Leo—that energy continuum, and often the continuum extended out to Scorpio, looking on with probing intensity with a quizzical half smile.  

“I didn’t guess. It is called magical thinking,” I wrote to the YBA, aware that I might giving The Science of Magical Thinking a bad name by associating it with astrology. In the past 12 months that post had been my most visited at Psychology Today, except for “Good Sex” and the Super-Conscious Mind. (I figured that the words “good sex” was searched a lot on Google and that’s why that post number one.)

I decided to keep up my parlor game by email; and I copied a few people in on it—some of whom would be impressed and others would wonder: “Is this guy a flake”? “Most Virgos need to know why something is true. How is it true and if it can be verified empirically,” I wrote.

“In popular astrology Virgo is noted for being attentive to details and extremely critical.” I decided to keep pushing the YBA even though I felt I might be reducing the chances of getting him to join the team we were building, but maybe not.

“Most Virgos who try to reconcile magical thinking with logical thinking are driven to distractions,” I wrote, “like Charlie Parker or Michael Jackson. Nothing is good enough. They have to keep pushing." I decided to throw in a little more obscurification. "They (Parker and Jackson) have the same birthdate, August 29.

"Anyway, magical thinking and logical thinking do not have to be reconciled just as the following does not have to be corrected in order to contain useful information.

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

“The Virgo paradox is that Virgo’s highest value is in ‘needing’ to correct things. That’s why you can be valuable to the team, especially since I move forward with fuzzy logic. This need to get things precise brings logical thinking to its sharpest, but it precludes faith in the evidence of things unseen, or partially seen.

“Magical thinking is not confined to seeking utility from the ‘seen’ universe, but also from the partially seen. I cited several fortunate occurrences that had happened in my relationship with this YBA that I predicted even though there was no evidence to justify the prediction.

“Coincidence? ‘There is no such thing as coincidence,’ many people like to say. Another way of saying the exact same thing is that everything is coincidental, since there is no such thing as cause. There is but one cause—first cause. God says the Bible, The Big Bang say scientists.” I spun the tale out there.

There was a chance that I was drawing this young man closer to deciding to join the creative team. I was playing on the obsessive curiosity of the supercritical mind. “It is best for you not to think about the fact that it is the individual mind that links things in time sequence as cause-and-effect, but the mind could also link them as effect-and-cause.” 

I sent a link to In New Quantum Experiment, Effect Happens Before Cause. If anyone would lthink about it, especially against my warning not to, he would, I felt. “Everyone’s life has central paradoxes according to Paradoxical Life: Meaning, Matter, and the Power of Human Choice by Andreas Wagner.

‘Though we tend to think of concepts in such mutually exclusive pairs as nature-nurture, mind-matter, and self-other, Wagner argues that these opposing ideas can not really be separated.  Unfortunately he does not deal with the pair—logical-magical—but he should have.

“The only escape from any paradox, or pair of opposites, is the constant cultivation of spiritual transcendence, as was done by, say,  Leo Tolstoy, a supercritical Virgo. His was a troubled kind of peace but that is all any of us can find—go-stay, let go-hold on, etc. I know what I am saying does not make logical sense, but like:

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

“You don’t have to straighten it out to get utility from it. Keep the faith”! I wondered what it would mean if his birthdate was Aug 29? Nothing and everything!"

I wondered would the probably brilliant and certaintly curious YBA join the team. I didn't guess and I couldn't get a feel."

George Davis is assembling a world-wide team of writers, web programmers, and other creative types to build an interactive, group-authored, Internet novel-as-a-game. The game-novel, The Bay is Dying, is about a global struggle to save the environment

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