Oliver Mauerhofer MFA

Master-Thesis: "Systems of Belief"

Supervision: Prof. Ute Eitzenhöfer, Prof. Eva-Maria Kollischan, Prof. Theo Smeets

"The term “magical thinking” describes, among other things, the peculiarity of man to emphasize similarities between the most diverse objects and living beings and to conclude from this to further similarities. This process is called the law of similarity and has served man since time immemorial as an orientation aid in his habitat. Another aspect of “magical thinking”, the law of contagion, describes the assumption that beneficial and harmful forces can be transmitted between objects, places, and living beings purely by physical contact. Animism and the belief in remote effects are further phenomena based on “magical thinking”.

Even in modern, scientifically oriented societies, a high topicality of this thought process can be seen. In contrast to the widespread opinion that this principle is purely archaic and primitive, my research showed that “magical thinking” is still a vital process whose tasks cannot be replaced by “rational thinking”. Rather, “magical thinking” and “rational thinking” exist as equivalent systems in the human brain in symbiosis, thus enabling the development of a healthy consciousness capable of action in the first place. Both serve the essential goal of man to gain control over his environment and knowledge of all aspects of existence. In this community, “magical thinking” is strongly emotion-oriented while for the rational thinking process objectivity plays the most important role.
“Magical thinking” offers the mental possibility to suggest security where there is no security from an objective point of view. This process opens up mental room for man to maneuver and thus makes the use of “ratio” possible in the first place.

The practical works address the equivalence of the two ways of thinking. They are intended to make characteristics of “magical thinking'' comprehensible as a universally understandable language and to call into consciousness that this principle ubiquitously influences the considerations and actions of every human being. The fiction of the purely rational thinking human being is to be made conscious as such. The pieces function here as a level of reflection for the wearer and the viewer."

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