If All Thoughts are Intrusive then what are “Intrusive Thoughts”: More Rethinking about Thinking

In my new book, what we call thinking is rethought, such that: there are multiple, concurrent ‘thoughts’ happening all the time (as our language training responding to our contexts); they can be conflicting and contradictory without a problem normally; you can rethink them as arising from our life contexts (even if not present at the time) like waves rather than particles; they have many wave properties; we ‘think’ them in the way that sympathetic resonance occurs but only if we are attuned to them from our history; they are ‘language responding in context’ so the contexts must be social ones—our relationships, audiences, people.

So our multiple thinklings are in our contexts, not in our heads.  We do not think in our heads, our contexts think us through like resonance.

Some further thoughts are below on this rethinking that will end up in some form in the “Rethinking mental health” book to appear later. This gives the flavour, though, for how the rethinking can give us new directions for understanding the role of thoughts in mental health and so we can do something new about the unwanted thoughts for interventions (next Blog Post).

“Intrusive thoughts”. The rethinking implied that “all thoughts are intrusive thoughts” since they resonate (as it were) from our contexts—we do not decide or choose our thoughts–they have us, as it were. However, some thoughts we call “intrusive” because they are different somehow. I suggest this perhaps means “unwanted’ thoughts or ones that intrude and disrupt in some way.

So here is some brainstorming (pretty feral) about how ‘thoughts’ might end up being unwanted or disruptive…

  • The thought might be the one and only thought resonating with social contexts and so be unwanted since it is all you can think (tells me something about your limited social contexts…)
  • The thought might be a ‘demanding’ thought, as if you are saying something emphatic or someone in your social contexts is being demanding of you
  • The thought might be a strong statement or demanding thought and there are no others currently from your social contexts to counter it or cool it down
  • There might be no other thoughts currently resonating with audiences to put it into perspective so you begin to ‘believe’ this thought you have
  • You might have a life strategy of telling people thoughts as a social relationship builder and therefore some one thought can become overpowering because audiences reinforce it
  • You might get two strongly contradictory thoughts which can be a problem if coming from two strong audiences you want to keep (although only a problem if those audiences come together)
  • You might have two strong thoughts that feed each other, meaning that if you get a ‘counter thought’ against the first one from an audience you have in one context, the second strong one counters that and leads you back to the first, and thence in a loop, over and over
  • The ‘intrusive’ thought comes from a generalized (see other Blog Posts) audience so it does not get a reality check very often or at all, and it just keeps resonating
  • A problem in modernity is that we get resonance from ‘generalized other’ or ‘stranger-society’ audiences; these are often critical of us but we do not get the multiple, supportive extra resonant thoughts we would get when a friend or family audience is critical (we do not even know who it is coming from in our society); so the ‘societal critical’ thoughts can be overly intrusive and take on huge unwanted significance when they should not (e.g., “People think of me as fat”–who are these ‘people’?)
  • There will be many, many more…
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