If a positive attitude is so damned beneficial, why shouldn’t a negative attitude be capable of harm?
It’s only fair.
Even if it’s foul.
Everyone wants the upside–that a good attitude brings about better performance results–but no one wants to acknowledge the equal and opposite corollary whereby a foul attitude should be able to bring about some shit.
Of course, positive attitude alone isn’t enough. Positive attitude is just a performance enhancer–there’s got to be effort or action to enhance.
The same should apply to negative attitudes, and so even the hocus-pocus of witchcraft makes sense in a general way–just having a foul attitude is not enough. Some kind of action must accompany the bad mindset.¹
But that is a digression–the main point is that the philosophical attitude of modern people towards the power of positive vs. negative thinking is more contradictory and thus more “illogical” than the nearly universal belief in witches and witchcraft among pre-modern peoples.
The pre-modern view–that there is power in both positive and negative thinking, positive and negative symbols–is much more consistent.
Another serious anthropological mystery solved in jest.²
1. Society normally prohibits the kind of “action” or “effort” or “work” that the foul-minded want to undertake. So direct, logical action is precluded from the start by Society.
Therefore, indirect, illogical actions are the only choice–symbols and movements and utterances and thoughts–things that literally “don’t matter” but are often (figuratively) much more important than material things–these are the only sphere of action allowed by Society, or at least not easily controlled.
But for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction and this also applies to Society’s actions and normative pressures. Therefore Advanced Witchcraft takes advantage of the reactive force that inevitably results from the “positive actions” undertaken by Society. What Society taketh away–the option of direct physical harm–it must also give back even if in modified form.
In fact, truly advanced witchcraft makes use of the latest data and theory from sociology and anthropology and carefully integrates them into its hocus-pocus symbol systems with woopty-doo results.
I myself have witnessed talismans representing the unemployment rate used in conjunction with more traditional representations for casting curses upon intended victims. I saw a Tarot deck where the Devil had been replaced by Patriarchy, and the Tower was referred to as the World Capitalist System.
They say it improves the accuracy of their forecasts by 16% of a suggestive metaphor. That’s a two-thirds savings on your wasted money.
It can also bilk an extra big tip from an unsuspecting businessperson.
2. Obviously there are other factors besides logical consistency that help explain the nearly universal belief in witchcraft among pre-modern peoples. A classic sociological explanation is that group cohesion is reinforced by having a flexible scapegoat system whereby anyone can be accused of engineering misfortune through witchcraft.