The people of Jonestown died of an epidemic of beliefs

The case was startling, because of the obvious suicidal acts. The poison was after all, left as evidence. Had the same number of people been found dead of a vicious disease — aids or whatever– the virus involved would have been the villain.


We think of viruses as physical, and of thoughts as mental. We should know that thoughts also have their physical aspects in the body, and that viruses have their mental aspects in the body. At times we ask why an ailing body does not simply assert itself and use its healing abilities, throwing off the negative influence of a given set of beliefs and thoughts.

When we think of thoughts as mental and viruses as physical, the question is understandable. It is not just that thoughts influence the body, as of course they do; but each one of them represents a triggering stimulus, bringing about hormonal changes and altering the entire physical situation at any given time.


Our physical body is, as an entity, the fleshed-out version –the physically alive version — of the body of our thoughts. It is not that our thoughts have a chemical reality besides their recognizable mental aspects. I will use an analogy. It is not the best, but I hope it will get the point across: It is as if our thoughts turned into the various appendages of our body. They have an invisible existence within our body as surely as viruses do. Our body is composed not only of the stuff within it that, say, X-rays or autopsies can reveal, but it also involves profound relationships, alliances and affiliations that nowhere physically show. Our thoughts are as physically pertinent to our body as viruses are, as alive and self-propagating, and they themselves form inner affiliations. Their vitality automatically triggers all of the body’s inner responses. When we think thoughts they are conscious. We think in sentences, or paragraphs, or perhaps in images. Those thoughts, as clearly as I can explain this, rise from inner components of which we are unaware.

When the thought, is thought, it is, say, broken down again to those components. Our thoughts have an emotional basis, also. The smallest cell within our body contributes to that emotional reality, and reacts instantly to our thoughts.


In those terms, thoughts move far quicker of course than viruses. The action of the virus follows the thought. Each thought is registered biologically. Basically, when we have an immunity to a disease we have a mental immunity.

We think of viruses as evil, spreading perhaps from country to country, to “invade” scores of physical mechanisms. Now thoughts are “contagious.” We have natural immunity against all thoughts that do not fit in with our own purposes and beliefs, and naturally, we are “inoculated” with a wholesome trust and belief in our own thoughts above others. The old ideas of Voodooism recognized some of these concepts, but complicated and distorted them with fears of evil, psychic invasion, psychic killing, and so forth. We cannot divide, say, mental and physical health, nor can we divide a person’s philosophy from his bodily condition.


While I say all of this about thoughts and viruses, remember the context of the discussion, for new information and insights are always available to an individual from sub-conscious and the body does indeed send its own signals.


The people who died at Jonestown believed that they must die. They wanted to die. How could their thoughts allow them to bring about their [bodily deaths]? The question makes sense only if we do not realize that our thoughts are as physically a part of our body as viruses are.

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