Sunday, September 5, 2010

Definitions of terms used in Magical Thinking in America
NATURAL: Having a real or physical existence as opposed to one that is spiritual, intellectual, or fictitious.

SUPERNATURAL: A being, location, object, or event that exists outside physical law; a dimension that is a product of the human brain, and which exists nowhere else.

MAGIC: A fundamental mode of human thought, which seeks to control physical reality through ritual and formulae. Homeopathic magic imitates the desired outcome. Contagious magic utilizes objects that have been in contact with the target individual.

ANIMISM: A stage in which the world is seen in terms of human consciousness; creatures and objects are regarded as having souls, spirits, or awareness.

RELIGION: Religion is the ritual presentation of the culture myth –Joseph Campbell
Magic and animism are fundamental to religion. Modern "-isms" such as Nazism, Socialism, Capitalism, New Age-ism. Politics and advertising also fit the definition.

MIND: The sum of an organism's or group's reactions to the environment. Instinct is the source of automatic reactions; other reactions are cultivated. Emotions comprise the fundamental mind.

CULTURE: The sum of an organism's or group's interactions with the environment. These may be instinctual, learned, or invented. All living things have mind and culture; mind and culture aren't exclusive to humans. A bacterium both reacts to and interacts with its environment.

CONSCIOUSNESS: A term that is defined and used so broadly that it has become all but useless. (See sections on co-consciousness and supernatural consciousness.)

HYPOTHESIS: A rational explanation of an event or observation that must be supported or rejected through further observation and experimentation. Results must be confirmed by other scientists.

SCIENTIFIC LAW: A statement of fact that explains an action or set of actions, often expressed as a mathematical equation. Scientific laws must be simple, true, universal, and essential to science.

THEORY: A scientific Theory is founded on proven hypotheses and explains a group of related phenomena. It must be verified by independent research. The popular phrase “just a theory” suggests that a Theory is no more than a guess. This expression adds to the confusion among the public as to the value of scientific knowledge.

PRIMATE: Compared to other mammals of similar size, primates have large brains are slow to mature. They have long life spans and their offspring have a high survival rate. Lemurs, monkeys, and great apes (man) are primates; there are over 300 primate species.

HOMINID: Any of various primates of the family Hominidae, whose only living members are modern humans. Hominids are characterized by an upright gait, an increase in brain size and intelligence compared with other primates, a flattened face, and reduction in the size of the teeth and jaw. Besides the modern species Homo sapiens, hominids also include extinct species such as Homo erectus and the extinct genus Australopithecus. The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2002.