Thought viruses are statements, ideas or comments, beliefs or beliefs about beliefs (also called values). There are two parts that you need to know about “thought viruses” the first of which is, that these beliefs come in many forms but mostly from people in positions of “authority”. The other part that you need to know is that these “thought viruses” can be on any logical level that your brain processes information.

The logical levels of the brain for informational and strategy storage is as follows: environment, behavioral, capabilities, beliefs, values, identity or spiritual levels. Each level has its own individual quirks about how the information is delivered and stored.

Let’s start with how the brain stores information on the environmental level. With all of the billions of bits of information that your brain receives every second of every day your brain has to have a method of sorting this information into useable and non-useable categories. Based on this sorting the brain will alert the conscious mind to possible danger, food, shelter and so on.

At the environmental level one possible “thought virus” is “this neighborhood” is safe it’s always been safe and will always be safe. This could be true, but when was the time that you drove around in your neighborhood and noticed whether or not you know your neighbors? Is the quality of the neighborhood overall increasing or decreasing?

At the Behaviors level of thinking a “thought virus” could be “he acts just like his Father, so he going to be just like him”. All people learn from their parents, teacher, clergy and from society at large does this mean that if the Father is a good person the son will also? Perhaps he will, perhaps he will not it’s all about the choice that the son makes. But if the he is told that he will be just like his father (be that good or bad) without additional information the brain may accept the information without question and act on it deleting information that would allow the son to make different choices.

The Capabilities level of thinking refers to “what you think you are able to do or learn. I have a friend of mine who was told that everyone in his family is bad at math. Guess what? He was bad at math too. When he learned about “though viruses” he specifically installed a new “virus” in his children. The new virus was that in his family, everyone knew math and it was unusually easy for them as a whole. All of his kids are exceptional at math and one is continuing to pursue a career as a mathematician.

An example of a “thought virus” Belief level could be; “that since humans have been cultivating grains and domesticating animals most humans live somewhere between 50 and 100 years of age”. Logical right? Does this mean that humans live 50 to 100 years or does this mean that information about how long humans live has been around since humans started cultivating grains and domesticating animals? Who knows?

I do know that science, now, has to re-think how long people live and the government is probably smacking themselves over social security. Think about that. When social security was instituted the average person died at age 68 after retiring at 65. This means the government got their money their whole life and only had to pay them for three years. What a deal! I’d love to have that deal. Please give me 1/3 of your money for your entire life and I’ll pay you back what you paid in, for 3 years after which you die.

Now that people are averaging a lifespan of 78 to 88 years or longer; social security is almost broke. So here’s hint, “don’t plan of the government taking care of you”; start and a savings and investment account, right away. Maybe this is why there are so many commercials about all of these “newly discovered” ailments that didn’t exist 10 years ago. Maybe the government is trying to give you a “thought virus” so you’ll die early and they won’t have to pay you.

The Values level, the beliefs about beliefs portion of your brain has interesting way of activating these “thought viruses”. Prior to this level it’s more about what you think and what you teach your children. At this level of thinking, you are more apt to try to impose these “thought viruses” on others. Morality, society rules, social conduct, laws come into play her at this level. Example; “It’s okay for poor people to steal or sell drugs because they don’t have anything, right?” There are people who believe this true; particularly people who steal and may or may not be poor.

I saw a television show about a guy named Nicky Barnes. This was the Harlem drug lord in the 70’s that almost crippled the entire city of New York with his drug selling organization. He’s out of jail now and when interviewed said “that when he was young they didn’t have anything, not even food and would do what he did again without a second thought”. He still has this “thought virus” even though it cost millions of dollars, years in prison and ruined the live of tens of thousands of people; he still think he has the right to do whatever he wants because he was poor when he was a child.

The identity level of the brain tells you who you are. Just like Nicky Barnes identifies himself as “a poor person”. It is also possible to think that you are something you are not in a positive way. A person who may have been born from a disadvantaged background who has this belief that one day they will be famous or do something to help the world will accomplish this if the “thought virus” is organized. This level of thinking also applies to people who call themselves “a smoker,” or say I’m fat. Think about what that tells your brain. The most primary need we as humans have is remain consistent with our identity even if the identity is inaccurate.

The last level is the spiritual or universal level of the mind. Think of this as the “who else” level of your thinking. It includes people, countries, the world, spirits and God(s).
I have friends of mine who are “Fundamental Christians” and in spite of this, they are still my friends. They consistently, unwittingly, insult everything that I believe about spirituality and for me, it’s generally okay. I know that they fervorently believe what they believe and they want desperately me to belief the same way so they can just relax. They believe that if they convert me to their way of thinking that my soul will be safe. Because of their beliefs, the possibility of a different path or belief cannot exist or they doctrine will fall apart. They also believe that they have to include everyone in this belief on this planet before they can take a day off. Their life truly must be exhausting for them.

Another example of the Spiritual level would be Mahatmas Gandhi. He was a an English lawyer until he encountered such extreme prejudice in South Africa that he changed his identity from being a “member of the British Empire” to being “opponent of the British Empire”. He suddenly saw myself as a slave to a cruel master; this concept was unthinkable to him. His entire being was transformed into someone that would kick “Britain” out of India no matter how long or at what price. We all know that he succeeded at the cost of his own life.

The summation of these examples is clear. Question all information that comes to you from event he most trusted sources. Ask question like “How do you know that” information is true? Or if this information weren’t true was would have to be there, instead? Being a constant student of truth can help you avoid the “thought viruses”.

In my next installment of this topic I can show you how to inoculate yourself from getting “thought viruses” in the first place and rid yourself of pesky “thought viruses” that have gone in and taken hold.

Author's Bio: 

Michael Harris, PhD is Clinical Hypnotherapist, Fitness, Life and Business Coach
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