The Curse of Magical Thinking and Magical Storytelling Vs. the Cure of Careful reading, critical thinking & clear writing

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  • The Curse of Magical Thinkingand Magical StorytellingVs. the Cure ofCareful reading, critical thinking & clear writing

  • Some kinds of magic are just harmless entertainment

  • What makes magic entertaining?Spectacular tricks we cant do at home are mysterious and inexplicable to the audiencedont follow the laws of natureMagicians have to keep the real explanation secret

  • To create and share stories is to be humanThey convey a cultures memoriesThey entertainThey teachThey inspire

  • Some stories can be harmfulWhen told as absolute truthWhen they are confused with truthWhen they carelessly mix truth and fictionWhen they are received at face value

  • Yet magic is not always harmlessIn politics, economics and other key areas of human life, magic can cause lots of problems

  • Magic + Storytelling =misleading information

  • Some Instances of Magical Thinking & StorytellingPoor people are poor because they are lazy.Rich people are rich because they work hard.If you dont behave, the monsters will get you!Immigrants are taking all the jobs.Immigrants are all on welfare.

  • But Wait.Just as humans have a tendency to think magically and share it with othersWe also have inherent abilities to detect and counteract our own and others magical thinking

  • The Cure for MagicalThinking & StorytellingCareful READINGCritical THINKINGClear WRITINGBEING RESPONSIBLE CONSTRUCTORS,CONVEYORS AND USERS OF INFORMATION

  • Have you ever

    Detected something fishy?

  • Have you everNoticed when something didnt add up?

  • Have you everSmelled a rat?

  • CONGRATULATIONS !!YOU ARE A MEMBER OF THE HUMAN SPECIESMEMBERSHIP INCLUDESINTELLIGENCE DESIRE FOR TRUTH

  • IDENTIFYING ELEMENTS OF MAGICAL THINKINGSurprise explanations, beginnings, endingsMissing explanationsSimplistic explanationsNo explanations

  • Elements of magical Storytelling Word choicesPassive voiceDistorted sequence and characterizations in the narrative

  • Slow down, closely examineCracks in the BIG PICTUREUse whisper/shout reading strategies

  • Cracks in Magical Storytelling & ThinkingAll good vs all badOne-sided sourcesOne-sided use of sourcesNo one else gets the story right; the matter is settledHow is the used in the title?

  • Word choices Absolutes: always neverBestWorstonly

  • SpeculationProbablyWhat ifmust

  • Neutral or Value LadenDied vs murderedCriminal vs. suspectRegime vs governmentMurder vs taking someone outMob vs. crowdDemonstration vs riot

  • Euphemistic wordsThe U.S. expanded across the continent and acquired a number of overseas possessions. (CIA FactBook)There are at least three euphemistic words in this statement insofar as the nature of these events in reality were more violent, harsh or dramatic

  • Pessimistic wordsUnder construction

  • Critical thinkingExpanded how? Was it a smooth expansion?Acquired how? Do people just happily let themselves be acquired by another country? What does acquisition actually look like?Are there more accurate synonym /word choices?

  • Grammar plays a role tooPassive voice Large numbers of slaves were imported [CIA FactBook]Definitive article the The History of Magical Thinking in U.S. Schools

  • Critical thinkingImported by whom?Arent things imported, not people?

  • Causality: Vague, missing explanationsThe U.S. expanded across the continent and acquired a number of overseas possessions. (CIA FactBook)There are at least three euphemistic words in this statement insofar as the nature of these events in reality were more violent, harsh or dramatic

  • Magic & MythsMyths are theories based on a magical explanation

  • Unmentioned factsAfter gaining independence from the USUnder construction

  • Keeping Myths AliveWere socialize to embrace existing myths (part of our PK and experience)We can pass on to othersPoor informationLimited access to good quality informationGratifies/serves our self-interests

  • Thinking critically: REGIMEWhen we encounter REGIMEWhat are our spontaneous reactions?feelingsImagesmemories

  • Reactions to regimeGovernmentDictatorWMDTotalitarianismWhat else?

  • We know that GW Bush used regime with alarming frequency after 9-11To which govt s did he apply this term?

  • Britain's American colonies broke with the mother country in 1776 and were recognized as the new nation of the United States of America following the Treaty of Paris in 1783.

  • During the 19th and 20th centuries, 37 new states were added to the original 13 as the nation expanded across the North American continent and acquired a number of overseas possessions.

  • The two most traumatic experiences in the nation's history were the Civil War (1861-65), in which a northern Union of states defeated a secessionist Confederacy of 11 southern slave states, and the Great Depression of the 1930s, an economic downturn during which about a quarter of the labor force lost its jobs.

  • Buoyed by victories in World Wars I and II and the end of the Cold War in 1991, the US remains the world's most powerful nation state. Over a span of more than five decades, the economy has achieved steady growth, low unemployment and inflation, and rapid advances in technology

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