Storybook land is the name of an amusement park in New Jersey. But, and it’s also a term for a mental disorder. One is fun and the other dangerous. Make sure you don’t expose yourself to the wrong one.
Magical Thinking Cognitive Distortion
Every week almost one-half the population of the planet gathers to pretend. Pretending isn’t a bad thing when used correctly. Children spend a lot of time in their imaginary worlds of play. Adults need to play.
However, children do not create rules or values that run a society. We teach children not to allow their imaginary friends and enemies to override their common sense. In other words, don’t run out in the street because your imaginary enemy is trying to catch you.
The problem begins when adults allow the preoccupation of mythology to override facts and reason. That’s a huge problem. When we accept mythology and superstition over facts and evidence, we create a dangerous precedent. See what it is and what you can do about it.
Magical thinking isn’t dangerous when people use it to exercise their imagination. However, when it becomes a fixation that distorts reality, then it becomes a problem.
The Dangers of Storybook Land
People still routinely subject themselves to groupthink manipulation tactics in our modern world. Thus, reinforcing the strength of this psychological disorder. It all starts with pretending an imaginary story is true. Magical thinking cognitive distortion is the result of brainwashing through continued indoctrination.
“You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, burning bushes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive stories, and you say that we are the ones that need help?” ― Mark Twain
“In every state of the Union, Fundamentalists still fight to ban all the science they dislike and prosecute all who teach it. To them, ‘traditional family values’ denotes their right to keep their children as ignorant as their grandparents (and to hate the same folks grand-dad hated.)” ― Robert Anton Wilson, Sex and Rockets: The Occult World of Jack Parson
Imagination is a powerful tool. Everything in our modern world originates from the imagination of a creative person. They use creativity to design and create things that have substance. However, using your imagination to fixate on fictional mythologies is dangerous. When you misuse your imagination, it confuses fictionalized accounts with facts; that’s a psychological issue.
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” — Albert Einstein
What is this Mental Disorder?
The disorder is “magical thinking cognitive distortion.” It’s an obsession with an imaginary construct of reality. This kind of magical thinking distorts our cognitive ability. This disorder manifests as a superiority complex and mindset, making a fictional construct superior to any facts or evidence to the contrary. It makes people even more susceptible to group hypnosis and groupthink manipulation tactics. It provides authority figures with the opportunity to use their leadership positions to brainwash and promote any agenda.
When people have this mindset, they need to protect these boundaries against anything threatening this unhealthy worldview. It substitutes fiction and mythology for facts, evidence, and logic. The result is a type of self-hypnosis that becomes a slippery slope. The more the individual exposes themselves, the more likely they are to accept extremist points of view. Who would do that? Well, you would be surprised to find out how many people do just that.
What is the difference between living with imagination and living in an imaginary world? It is simple. When you use your imagination to create things, the results materialize and are measurable. Your efforts leave empirical evidence.
The problem occurs when adults substitute science and evidence for mythology. This substitution of facts for fiction is a problem. When you create institutions and laws to run people’s lives, which come from mythology and imaginary beings, you leave behind a trail of negative things, such as killing others because they don’t believe in your mythical being. That is a negative consequence of living in storybook land. In short, it is mythology presented as fact.
When mythology takes precedence over science and reason, you create laws that cause harm. It justifies the denial of basic human needs like food, water, shelter, and medical care. These are the adverse effects of living in an imaginary world. It provides excuses to commit unspeakable acts of violence. It spawns racial, ethnic, and religious genocide. It’s the reason for gender discrimination and subjugation, and it promotes mythology over scientific knowledge.
The fact is, you can trace most of the wars and conflicts of the war to those who hold fundamentalist or extremist religious views.
Avoiding The Dangers Storybook Land
1) Fix Your Programming
Many people inherit their religious beliefs families indoctrinate their children into their religion at an early age. They have no choice but to obey, assimilate, and accept the mythology. If this is you, then you are not responsible for being subject to groupthink manipulation. However, you are responsible for fixing your programming. Now, more than ever, you must learn to become a freethinker and not a follower. We recommend you do the following.
- Turn off the religious programming on TV and radio.
- Stop going to religious services.
- Stop supporting the machine of organized religion.
It’s essential to realize intelligence is not a safeguard against the power of groupthink manipulation. People in our most highly regarded professions are not immune to organized religion’s cultural programming techniques. Indoctrination starts in childhood and continues through adult life. It’s why learning to question the cultural narrative is so important. The right questions will open your mind to the facts.
2) Speak Up and Speak Out
Organized religions want us to be tolerant of their beliefs. Religious freedom begins with being free from religion and not tolerating its intrusion into society. So, it is time to confront those who want to use religion as an excuse to promote inherently destructive ideologies. It is time to speak up and speak out. Being tolerant is what allows their extremist ideas to become accepted.
Speak out but learn to be pro facts and not anti-religion. Learn how religion uses the cultural narrative to protect its customer base. It all depends on where you live. The three faiths that dominate half of the world’s population come from the Abrahamic religions (1). These are the Semitic religions, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.
“Religious people claim that it’s just the fundamentalists of each religion that cause problems. But, there’s got to be something wrong with the religion itself if those who strictly adhere to its most fundamental principles are violent bigots and sexists.” — David G. Mcafee
Be careful when speaking up and confronting those who hold their mythology as sacred. Pointing out the errors of their worldview threatens their identity. In many places, the laws of land protect religious mythology. Human rights are secondary to superstition. So, pointing out errors and making fun of their imaginary friends and enemies is an “infringement of their rights.” Magical thinking cognitive distortion gives them the right to protect their version of storybook land.
Realize it is acceptable for them to discriminate against you for promoting unacceptable points of view. For instance, if you try to practice Wicca openly across the street from a church, you will likely subject yourself to open objections and even violence. So, be safe and measured when confronting the dominant religious mythology.
It is dangerous enough for people to have their religion. It becomes a social problem when people use it as a smokescreen to deny other people their rights. Nor should you allow them to use it to create laws that govern society. Don’t ignore the use of religion to promote discrimination and prejudice.
If people want to live their lives in storybook land, they need to know that their beliefs have negative consequences. If they are open-minded enough to engage in independent research, we point them to the comparative analysis process. It’s a scientific method of comparative religious study. Again, be careful. Those with “deeply held” religious beliefs will protect them using violence if necessary.
3) Don’t Confuse Religion with Spirituality
We are spiritual beings having a physical experience. We are “consciousness” and “awareness” confined to a biodegradable container. It is in our nature to explore the unknown and seek answers. Don’t accept the simple explanations of organized religion. The revelations of your path are far more critical.
The inward quest is what Joseph Campbell calls the Hero’s Journey (1). It has nothing to do with religion or religious mythology. Spiritual exploration is an authentic inward journey; it differs significantly from organized religion.
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(1) Abrahamic Religions, Wikipedia
(2) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia