The Magic of Confirmation Bias

Recently, a friend shared a VICE article about witches across the world cooperating to cast a spell on rapist Brock Turner (about whom I’ve written before).  This event, which was organized using Facebook, really showcases the power of social media to bring people together in ways that previously would have been unimaginable.

One of the participants pointed out that this was and should be a healing event, especially for the witches who were survivors of sexual assault.  She said, “Hexing is very powerful. As I was always taught: If you can’t hex, you can’t heal.”  While I truly hope that victims of sexual assault find healing, I’m not so certain that casting spells on others will accomplish healing.  This is the spell recommended by the organizer of the event:

“Brock Allen Turner we hex you.
You will be impotent
You will know constant pain of pine needles in your guts
Food will bring you no sustenance
In water, your lungs will fail you
Sleep will only bring nightmares
Shame will be your mantle.
You will meet justice.
My witchcraft is strong. Our witchcraft is powerful. The spell will work. So Mote it be.”

I’m a little dubious of a spell that, like Donald Trump, has to boldly claim its strength and the vigor of the spell-caster.  It makes me wonder, when men feel a need to talk about how powerful they are, whether they have any real power at all or they’re just confirming their beliefs about themselves because of a psychological need to feel powerful.  And in the same way, I wonder whether the spell has any real power at all, or if it’s just a confirmation of the spell-caster’s belief in their power rooted in a need to feel powerful.

That said, it’s probably quite cathartic for a short time to go through the rituals required for the hex which is an outlet for the powerful emotions that victims have to work through.  Catharsis can open up space in our hearts for the healing process to begin by finding a release for our desire to harm others out of our hurt, at least.  Of course, hexing can also be the beginning of a habit of seeking harm for others as a paltry substitute for true healing, which is quite unhealthy.

Those who lit candles for the victim and the men who stopped her rapist are probably closer to genuine healing, which is characterized by the growth of compassion and joy after  taking the time and the difficulty of processing traumatic experiences.  Those who practiced the magic of confirmation bias probably managed to magically feel better temporarily regardless of whether Brock Turner was impacted at all, but I hope that they too can move beyond hexes and find a deeper healing of the heart.

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One Response to The Magic of Confirmation Bias

  1. Pingback: Fair Questions: Why so much sympathy for Trump voters? | Isorropia

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