Leviathan 12: Wishful Thinking is Masturbation.

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Sitters seek the deception of fortune-telling for many reasons, but in the end there’s always one final answer: they're serial masturbators. And what's wrong with masturbation? Absolutely nothing. Don't believe me? Here are a few reasons why.

First, fortune-telling is an unbiased perspective through which different realities may be considered. Pattern recognition is a defining human characteristic, and even the least observant sitter has the ability to force a paradigm shift if given the proper template. Don't believe me? Then take a little test: look for blue cars. I promise that if you're looking for blue cars, you'll see more of them in a day than you remember seeing in the last year. 

Likewise, if your performance reveals an impossible fortune, the uncanny human ability to find patterns even where none exist will create a path forward. Whether this path is capable of succeeding doesn't matter, because what’s important is that it provides a constructive direction where before none was visible. This counts for a lot. 

Second, it keeps your imagination alive. So they say, you're only young once, but so I say, you can be immature forever. Imagination is an essential ingredient for creating novel solutions to stubborn problems. For the majority of the humans living on the planet today life is a hungry, painful existence. According to UNICEF, about half the world's population lives on less than $2.50 per day, and about 22,000 children die every day from starvation. I don't have enough arrogance to say that those people can merely imagine themselves out of their problems, because thoughts are not things. But for the comparatively global elite like you who read this, imagination is an important skill for avoiding the withering effects of grimness. 

For those of us with the means to do so, life is full of pleasures, and we should remember to indulge in those pleasures not only because absolute safety is an illusion, but also because this life we’re living is probably the only opportunity we'll ever have to do so. If you are privileged as a result of your mere birth or your personal development, indulge in the magic of imagination—life is too short to let the walls close in around you.

Third, you are responsible for your own happiness. Embrace your imagination, and indulge in whatever pleasures it may provide. If the use of fortune-telling brings you any degree of happiness, or gives you a constructive outlet toward happiness, why deny it? Nobody else in this world will ever truly care about you in a completely selfless way, and only you can truly look out for yourself. If imagination and fantasy are the tools you need, you should use them.

Fourth, masturbatory imagination eliminates stress. The performance of a deception alleviates the sitter (or the one who performs for him or herself) of anxiety, stress, frustration, and other mental or emotional impediments to success. If you go no further than temporary alleviation of mental stress, then you're wasting your time, but if you use the precise application of fantasy to create and then take advantage of a window of opportunity, you can accomplish great things.

Fifth, indulgent fantasies help you identify exactly what you want in life. Other than a lack of will-power, I often think that the greatest obstacle to success is that people just don't know what they want. So be honest with yourself: what do you want in life? There are so many fears, concerns, and anxieties that weigh upon any of us, and even I who wrote this book am not immune to them. There's no shame in having these feelings, but there is surely shame in doing nothing about them.

Fantasy and the ritual of fortune-telling serve as a means to purge inhibitions and self-imposed limitations. During a performance, fortune-tellers create a kind of sand-boxed mental operating environment where anything may be possible and imagination is allowed to reign supreme. In this imaginative state, an honest evaluation of fantasies allows the sitter to acquire an ever more accurate picture of what he or she really wants in life.

So go ahead: indulge in fantasy, fire up your imagination, and feel no shame in mental masturbation. So long as it increases your happiness and decreases your pain, there’s no reason you shouldn’t!