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What makes us want to believe in miracles and fairy tale endings?

Most of us are able to suspend our disbelief temporarily to immerse ourselves in the different world created in a movie or a good book.

But why do so many people do this in real life, buying tickets to heaven from bogus pastors or losing all their money in too-good-to-be-true investment schemes?

RELATED: Advisor scams pensioners out of R100 million with promises of 14% returns

Clinical psychologist Khosi Jiyane says the essence of the answer lies in humans' ability to believe, because belief is something that defies logic.

It borders to an extent on delusion - a fixed, false belief that people live on and use as a construct with which they make sense of the here and now, through which they are able to project themselves into all sorts of possible futures.

Khosi Jiyane, Clinical psychologist

It prevails in the face of proof that it doesn't make sense.

Khosi Jiyane, Clinical psychologist

Jiyane says it is often tied to hope of a better future when we are facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles, although hope, in itself, is a valuable tool.

Hope is that sense in us that galvanises us to take action, to stay inspired, to stay comforted.

Khosi Jiyane, Clinical psychologist

In the moment, hope tells us that tomorrow will be better so that we are not consumed by an overwhelming current reality. It tells us that, this too shall pass, therefore hang in there.

Khosi Jiyane, Clinical psychologist

So does the answer lie, as it so often does, in balance?

We have to understand our limitations, but also understand that within that, possibilities also rest within us. It is that locus of control, that sense of agency that we've got to tap into within ourselves.

Khosi Jiyane, Clinical psychologist

To listen to this thought-provoking conversation, click on the link below:


This article first appeared on 702 : What makes us want to believe in miracles and fairy tale endings?


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