Magical thinking is a form of purely imaginative cognition exhibited in childhood, in which children pretend that they will be able to get whatever they wish for without regard for the actual realities of the world.
Not limited to children, magical thinking is a common trait exhibited by the emotionally immature — who never quite outgrow this habit of allowing wishful thinking to cloud their judgment and behavior.
It is also a common trait exhibited by those with personality disorders in Cluster B, whose fundamental characteristic is extreme narcissism. These individuals’ extreme self-centeredness has fooled them into believing they really do possess some sort of omnipotence, with which to bend the world to their (magical) will.
We’re all just taller children
Many (most?) adults outgrow the habits of magical thinking as they get older, but some individuals never do. People with personality disorders tend to retain this maladaptive psychological practice throughout their adult lifetimes, not ever quite grasping their lack of omnipotence to change the outside world via the powers of their minds.
Donald Trump’s assertion that if we only stopped testing, we’d have no covid-19 cases is a prime example of magical thinking. The president mistakes the absence of evidence for the evidence of absence, falling for a logical fallacy — a clearly proven irrational conclusion in terms of the kind of formal logic we think of as essential to rational discourse.
Superstition and Conspiracy Theory
Another fantastic example is the prevalence of superstitious beliefs, and belief in conspiracy theories. Behold the QAnon conspiracy theory that apparently unironically believes a Satanic cult of child-trafficking liberals rules the world and is being ousted by Donald Trump. Ontologically related to millenarianism and apocalypticism, QAnon travels under other names including The Storm and The Great Awakening, and shares ideological and mythological DNA in common with the Left Behind religious novel series by right-wing American evangelical minister Tim LaHaye.