Frozen and Fluid Thinking

Today’s post will be on a concept I’ve been dwelling on for quite some time, primarily in the realm of thought and how one ought to think about things and come to rational, precision-scope reality focused conclusions. It’s not necessarily on epistemology and a focused method ie. Aristotelean thinking etc, but rather a problem that can be seen in people’s way of thinking and approaching the world.

It’s a problem between frozen and fluid state thinking, something that I think needs to be carefully examined because both a frozen and fluid state are necessary in order to come to strong conclusions about the shit you do.

Let’s start with an example, because any good teacher knows that examples are the greatest ways to help someone get something:

Let’s say you meet an old friend that you haven’t seen in 10 years. Your perception of them is necessarily coloured by past interpretations of their actions in the world – so you remember them as charming, grounded, relaxed, passionate and positive. This is the “frozen” state of your idea of them, ie. this is how you know and understand this person.

But let’s say the friend now seems very different. Your sensory apparatus is picking up on different cues – there are signs of callousness, irrationality, stress, discontent and aggression. Perhaps the signaling is not strong as the actions are subtle, but their mannerisms are sending you information that your mind is now processing. After the meeting, you find there is a sense of conflict in your mind: that being the perception of your old friend is quite a bit different to what your present perception is.

So, from here, do you remain within the state of believing them to be the old friend, or do you update your information on this person and take note of their changes?

This example is an example of frozen and fluid state thinking – and specifically, it’s very important within the context of social interactions, as because of the fact of humans being capable of change, it is necessary that one be fluid about their thinking towards people.

To now get a little more technical – frozen state thinking is seeing people, or things, within a particular conceptualization that you acquired at a young age, in the past, etc. So with the friend, your conceptualization of them was originally that of a charming, hot frog. Now after meeting them again, that conceptualization of them is being challenged by the arrival of new facts – the facts being that the mannerisms are more of a neurotic frog than a hot frog. Now the question is: do you update your original conceptualization of the person?

Well, it depends – how much evidence do you have? This moves into the idea that all concepts that we form are open and must necessarily be so, as that allows us to update our knowledge database and learn about things on a deeper level. But simultaneously, we have to be very careful about how quick we are to update our conceptualizations of reality – ie. we need good evidence to support strong conclusions behind what we are now assuming. It is extremely easy to do the psychoanalytical bullshit that many people tend to do, and playing connect four with ideas that are not tethered to reality is a game that we call rationalization – and this leads to…well, neurosis, breakdown, catastrophic economic collapse, complete stupidity..etc. The point being, when updating your information and understanding something, it must always be rooted to reality – and for the people giving me the “YeAh BuT HoW Do YoU KnOw WhAt ReAlItY Is” meme…this is not a blog for you bruh. Get outta here.

So, back to frozen and fluid states. Both are very important – frozen state is necessary because it allows us to hold and register a concept indefinitely. It lets you maintain that a car is a car and a car cannot be a dog. It’s particularly important to things such as the metaphysically given – ie. rocks are rocks. These things aren’t man made, and they are very much always going to be the thing they are sans whatever you want to believe it is.

But fluid state thinking is also extremely important, because it allows us to acquire new facts and update our frozen models. It’s a balancing act between the two – fluidity is required to integrate, but frozen states are required to even begin the process of integration. In order to be elegant with ones fluidity, one must have a frozen state of concepts that are firmly rooted in in, what’s in front of you!

There’s an interesting problem that I’ve observed though, and that is that people are either exceptionally stubborn about their frozen states of thought ie. x was a dickweed when I was 12 therefore x is still a dickweed when he is 42, regardless of his actions..

..or they’re so fluid that they’re basically floating logs in an ocean of complete confusion, where they’ll connect 35,000 different assertions to something and conclude it is true because “it fits mannnn”, even though 99% of those assertions are imagined scenarios, like those imagined arguments that you have while you take a shower and then use as a means to up your ego. They’re not fucking real, dude!

So it’s two extremes here: either breathtaking stubbornness, or a brain that’s completely coked out. The solution is the middle – but first comes the frozen concepts. You need to learn to trust your senses and the information you’re receiving, and identify the facts before you.

Going back to the example of the friend, the original frozen conceptualization of them was valid, and many of their characteristics ie. the physical form, voice, etc. are still there. They have an identity.

But new facts have arrived that challenge many of the characteristics of the original conceptualization of them – and thus a process of omission and re-integration takes place. They are the same person, factually, but many of the characteristics that you originally applied to them have fundamentally changed – thus an update on who they are is necessary.

Once you trust what you see, hear, taste, smell and touch, you are able to apply that to the concepts you have formed. This frozen to fluid movement is extremely important within social dynamics in particular – as because humans are self-aware, self-regulating and beings of free will that are capable of rapid change in several areas, being able to shift your judgement of someone is vital. Stubbornly sticking to one conclusion of someone even if they have changed immensely is an odd, and frankly stupid thing to do. But with that said, this does NOT mean forgiving or allowing someone into your life if they were once bad/abusive/evil, etc but now found God or whatever. This comes down to your values. Your perception of them can be updated, but your action towards them is based on what you care about and whether you care to give them another shot. Generally, I’m a one and done guy. Just ask all the women I’ve dated.

So to conclude: frozen state thinking on its own is dumb. It puts you in a place where you think like you’re in Ancient Greece and are completely unaware that anything after the year 100 BC ever happened, but frozen state thought is important to isolate and hold concepts that are tied to reality (please tie them to reality don’t be an idiot).

Likewise, fluid state thinking on its own turns you into an amorphous blob of stupidity and disintegration. Your thoughts are like the curls of noodles – all tangled up and completely lost. However, fluidity is vital in order to update and integrate frozen state thoughts, as long as they’re tied to reality.

The key here is reality. Look at the world, observe it, then connect it all together from there. That’s your grounding. You start there, and you’re golden. There’s literally nothing else that you can start from, anyway.

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