I just finished a conversation with a good friend of mine about what he called “fluid thinking”.
One way to describe “fluid thinking” is to seek out nuance (subtle differences) in ideas.
For example, rainbows have many different colours.
Someone who has nuanced thinking can see the variety of different colours that makes up the rainbow, not just the colours that make up the opposing ends.
Moreover, ‘fluid thinkers’ may also ask questions which show nuanced thinking.
Such as, “what is a rainbow made of?”, “is every rainbow different?”, “do people see rainbows differently from one another?”.
Any of those questions could be answered in purely scientific ways with many references to physics.
Though the point here is that fluid thinkers have the ability to expand the way they understand something, rather than boiling it down to some limited definition.
Right or wrong, I believe that the human experience is even more complicated than something like the fundamentals of physics.
Perhaps social issues call for even greater forms of nuanced thinking.
Consider concepts of identity, mental wellness, violence, religion, love, forgiveness…the things that make up the human condition. Although there are “laws of physics”, I do not think there are “laws of love”.
When it comes to matters of the human condition, and perhaps beyond, I believe that nuanced thinking is a requirement for learning.
I firmly believe that a lack of fluid thinking leads to destruction, whether materially or immaterially.
If a parent cannot understand that their child wants to blaze a different trail than the parent expects, then the parent may ultimately force their child to be something they don’t want to be, or entirely lose connection with their child.
If we want to learn in order to improve ourselves, and our world, we owe it to ourselves, and we owe it to our world.