Teatime at the wishing well

Things that might trigger wishful thinking

Text, thoughts and watercolors by Frits Ahlefeldt

To get closer to what wishful thinking is I have looked at a number of classic places and ways to engage in wishful thinking. From sending things out in the universe, to watch shooting stars, throw coins in wishing wells, hang out with unicorns, good fairies, wizards and eating fortune cookies

Sending wishes out in the universe – how grown ups do wishful thinking 

Asking The universe for help can be seen as the all containing wishful thinking solution, if you have asked the universe for help, you have pretty much asked everybody and everything.

Ever wished for something a bit out of reach and a grown up person beside you turn to you with a serious look and say “did you try send it out into the universe? “

NASA and other space agencies do this all the time, sending probes wishfullly into deep space, in hope they will return something valuable.  And if some of the most well-founded, advanced and serious science on the planet can do it, so can the rest of us humans.

Unfortunately the nearest star is just below 5 light years away, so maybe we can estimate that the nearest possible civilization to us, that might seriously answer our wishful call, could be around 5 light years away ( Not including possible intergalactic nomads, drifting around the universe in their spaceships).

So say we are after someone with all three feet standing solid on a planet somewhere, with access to an old fashion planet land-line radio telescope – then I wonder how such a long ultra distance call with the universe might run:

Me: I wish I was in better shape ( sending it out into the universe )

The universe answer ( after around ten years ) : Ever thought about exercising?

Me: Seriously? Did I wait ten years for THAT answer!?

The universe answer (after ten more years ) : Yep… what did you expect?

… and so it goes on.

We have been sending messages, wishes and and bits of information out into the universe for a long time now at an accelerating speed, hoping for someone to pick up.

Apparently the only answer we might have gotten so far, was in 2016, when a Russian Radio Observatory might have received a short message, lasting two seconds, from a planet somewhere near a star called HD 164595  at a distance of 94 light year away from us.

A lot of people all over the world are still trying to figure out what that message was all about….

conversations with the universe can apparently take a long time, too long maybe, unless procrastination is what you’re into… then it is perfect.

The real reason we’d like to send things out in the universe personally, might not be about the universe, but more closely related to making a kind of ritual, encoding to our subconscious a few new compass coordinates to follow. And then going on with our business as usual. Waiting for our ship to get around to make a turn more or less on autopilot.

Shooting stars – wishful thinking on meteoroids

Shooting star wishful thinking can in some ways be seen as opposite to the “sending wishes out into the universe” kind.  Shooting stars are lightning fast and short lived, and you do the wishful thinking just after the star lights up the dark above your head, making everything possible for a second. Shooting stars are the non expected rare options you have to grab and run with before they burn out.

Shooting stars are really meteorites, most of them tiny pieces of dust, burning up with a bright light in the atmospheric shield of Earth before they can hit us. So in this way they represent good luck.

65 billion years ago, we where more lucky than the dinosaurs, in what has been called the K-pg event, when a huge shooting star (asteroid) collided with our planet, and wiped out around 75% of all animal and plant species on Earth, including the dinosaurs, making plenty of room and a bright new start possible for a small, rarely seen nocturnal, star-gazing group of tiny underdog species called mammals,  including our ancestors.

Shooting star wishful thinking often comes out at night, when it is dark, and existing solutions fade in the pale light of the moon, while our imagination runs wild, looking at strange moving shadows between the rocks.

Coincidentally it is also the best time to watch shooting stars, as they suddenly, but rarely strike the path of light across the black background.  Not a huge surprise that we connect shooting stars to a license for wishful thinking.

A shooting star delivered solidly on the one out of a billion odds that gave us a winning chance against the dominant dinosaurs.  And ever since we have seen shooting stars as our cue to run and buy a ticket to the lottery in the nearest store, or wrap up our best wishes real fast, throwing it quick at the fading path of light in the sky.

The unicorn of wishful thinking – the soulmate

Unicorns are rare, unbelievable magical creatures, very white and beautiful, and sometimes maybe even with wings… Too good to be true?

In storytelling unicorns are most attracted to inexperienced managers, virgins and other innocent people, representing a fairytale reality, where everything is good.

Unicorns of wishful thinking are the soul-mates of fantasy, the one and only, the perfect key, the match made in heaven. The idea of the perfect fitting partner-shoe…  the same shoe therapists, family counselors and lawyers shortly after make so much money shooting silver bullets at.

The wishing well – investment logic in wishful thinking

The wishing well might be seen as the wishful thinking logic of investments  – Wishing wells has been in use through history, at least since the Nordic God Odin sacrificed his right eye into the well of wisdom, Mimir’s well, to be able to see across the illusion of time and gain insight and knowledge and become a better leader

Odin was the top Chief and CEO of the overall well being in Nordic mythology, and well-being is an interesting word here… closely related to wellness and welfare… these are actually real words often lingering around the wishing well of modern society

Money and prosperity are also often associated with the well, with water, liquidation, seeding, growth, thrive and other well and water related  metaphors queuing up around them.

Even in a scientific way wells seems to create well-being by attracting money, at least if you throw in silver coins, as silver helps purify water from harmful bacteria and substances in a way that can actually help make you well, when drinking the water… from the well…

Wishing wells build on investment-logic to create a unique kind of wishful thinking: Throw your money ( or in Odin’s case, an eye)  into the water inside a pitch dark hole, leading into the ground, and magically, eventually, something good will come back to you.

Good fairies and Wizards – the experts of wishful thinking

Today there are no shortage of good fairies and wizards available. Just on Linkedin are several millions connected into an ever-growing digital network

If you are troubled and wish you could reach a perfect solution, hire the right candidate for the job, increase the productivity,  make more money, analyse the Chinese market potential,  Search-engine optimize your brand, So-Me optimize your kids, loose weight or make your marriage work…  or in any other way make the lost shoe fit better… for an hourly fee of around 200-500 USD you can hire a good fairy, a wizard, coach, consultant, expert or what you prefer.

Many of the consultants can do it all… either in personal or through their extended network.

Asking closer. Today’s good fairies actually don’t fulfill wishes directly, instead they work more to facilitate agents of change and create innovative, sustainable structures thrive in dynamic and disruptive environments – An answer science one day might find is directly related to the answer we received from HD 164595

Four leaf clovers – finding luck

Finding a four leaves clovers has been associated with great luck in hundreds of years. Some say this has roots back to old Celtic mythological traditions. And the tradition is still going strong.

Both space exploration company SpaceX ( founded by Elon Musk) and the Italian Car maker Alfa Romeo reserves a very special place on their most valued ultra high tech scientific machines – to place a small four leaf clover, for good luck.

Different from meeting the good fairy or stumbling over a true wishing well – Four leaf clovers will be found if you just look for them long enough – the official world record ( yes there is one) belongs to American Griffin McDowell, for finding  51 four leaf clovers in one hour. And the life-time record, belongs to one that managed to find more than 150.000 four leaf clovers.

Statistically there has been around one four leaf clover in 5.000-10.000 three leaf clovers, but of course people have started to boost their luck, using scientific based gen-manipulation on them now, somehow diminishing their luck power – so today even better luck is considered if you find a five-leaf clover…

The best thing about going looking for four leaf clover luck, is that it gets you outside, gives you some fresh air, gives you time to contemplate about the whole thing and reconnects you to Earth.  All good things if being hit by wishful thinking.

Fortune cookies – the art of having a cake and eating it too

Fortune Cookies is said to have an Chinese origin, but they are actually an around 100 years old American invention, based on a Japanese tradition, that can be traced back to the area around Kyoto. Fortune cookies are small folded cookies, where small notes with hints, magical numbers or other wishful thinking helpers, can be found, hidden inside the cookie, they are often eating in combination with tea drinking.

Mayby this version of wishful thinking is the true magical match of several worlds, the option of both having a cake and eating it too.

Say you wish to loose ten pounds… The odds of you actually making it will logically increase with the amount of fortune cookies you eat. What is not to like?

Fortune Cookies is eaten at the tea-ceremonies and afternoon tea time. And if you think about it – combining the soothing milk and biscuit grandmother feel of a small snack, with handling wishful thinking might be a very smarter way of handling it:

First, you get the cake no matter what, second, you hesitate while you eat it, so get a chance to think things through. Third, having divided the craving into two, your chance of overcoming it drastically increase.

… and this could be the reason why the good fairy and the wizard are so often seen drinking tea around the wishing well….

( I’ve added a few extra magical things to the drawing… wishful thinkers might recognize them )

Drawing of a wishing well with fairy, unicorn, tea, shooting stars, four clovers and even frogs and a genie in a bottle. Illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt
Tea time at the wishing well

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