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The Viscosity of Thoughts...

Definition: Thoughts that are defined by their state of being thick, sticky and semifluid in consistency due to internal friction.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about thoughts. Seems redundant...but I have.

Thoughts seem to have this internal stickiness that causes me to think certain thoughts more than others and to think them differently than others. Some thoughts are hard to get rid of while others just slide right through my mind.

Some thoughts pass through with high fluidity and others hang in longer due to their high viscosity.

I am not a huge science person but I love when the natural world helps me understand my internal world better and in more depth.

As I understand viscosity, it is the quality that describes a fluid's resistance to flow. Fluids resist the relative motion of immersed objects through them as well as to the motion of layers with differing velocities within them.

This makes only passing sense to me when thinking about actual liquids, again not particularly sciency.

However, when I apply this principle to thoughts - Whammo! It makes total sense!

Some thoughts have a low viscosity - pleasurable thoughts without huge emotional significance seem to pass right through:

thoughts about:

taking a shower washing your face getting into bed at night seeing a friend lunch

Negative thoughts with out huge emotional ties:

things like doing the laundry going grocery shopping getting out of bed in the morning

Then there are those other highly viscisous thoughts:

old flames thoughts that you are worthless thoughts that you will never ever get out from under the crazy busyness of your life financial issues children’s futures what to wear to your first day of work or on that first date

These thoughts are highly viscous and are really really hard to move through your brain. They get stuck and become fixed in place - crowding out all other thoughts - monopolozing your brain power so that all you can think about is that one thing - the thought that just replays over and over again.

But the truth is that any thought can become stuck...even relatively neutral ones. There has been many a day that I have lain in bed and my brain is stuck on repeat going over all the reasons, I do not want to get out of bed and all the reasons that I must.

But turn up the temperature of your brain and then you have something really interesting: the more brain power you exert on a particular subject matter, the more you get to experience how temperature influences viscosity and your thoughts become less thick and move a little easier. I am absolutely sure this is why all people obsess over a breakup or a new love interest. We are overly burdened with our dense and sticky thoughts so we need to turn up the heat to get them moving so we can do basic things like eat, do actual work and sleep at night.

I am increasingly aware of this nature of my thoughts and recently I seem to have this new found ability to notice the viscosity of my thoughts almost contemporaneously to having the thoughts. For years, I really only experienced my thoughts in retrospect - I could look back on a situation and remember what I was thinking about the situation and I could pretty clearly see just how stuck I was with those particular thoughts and really had no way to move them through my head any faster than I did at the time.

However, recently, it is as if my brain has given me an increase in pressure and temperature - and I can observe how viscous my thoughts are which creates pressure, which increases temperature which lowers the thought’s viscosity and moves it through my brain quicker and with less drama.

It doesn’t even seem to really matter anymore about what the thought is:

not wanting to get out of bed in the morning reliving a fight with an ex being pissed at someone for some slight wishing my friends would find some occasion to celebrate me

Whatever the underlying feeling of the thought - by the application of pressure (me seeing that my thoughts get stuck and feeling propelled to move them forward) and the application of increased temperature (creating a mental environment where the thoughts are rapidly examined - think microwave heating) they just move right along and allow for some new thought to arrive.

It is as if in realizing that thoughts have this tendency that I have been given the solution to the formula and can now better deal with the viscosity of my thoughts and not allow them to take over and slow down the my mental processes.

Dynamic viscosity or absolute viscosity is just regular old viscosity as I described above.

Kinematic viscosity is a measure of the resistive flow of a fluid under the influence of gravity.

F̅ = η Δvx A Δz ⇔ F̅ = m Δv Δt

Ok, whatever that means...

So the more gravity I apply to my thoughts, I get a different kind of viscosity. Kinematics is the branch of mechanics concerned with the motion of objects without reference to the forces which cause the motion. So, not looking at what caused the thoughts to move or not, but simply studying the motion or lack of movement of a particular thought.

From everyday experience, it should be common knowledge that viscosity varies with temperature. Honey and syrups can be made to flow more readily when heated. Engine oil and hydraulic fluids thicken appreciably on cold days and significantly affect the performance of cars and other machinery during the winter months. In general, the viscosity of a simple liquid decreases with increasing temperature. As temperature increases, the average speed of the molecules in a liquid increases and the amount of time they spend "in contact" with their nearest neighbors decreases. Thus, as temperature increases, the average intermolecular forces decrease.

So what the fuck does that mean?

Here is my take away:

Thought viscosity seems to also obey the laws of physics. The more temperature or force I place on particular thoughts, the quicker those thoughts seem to melt away. The more I allow a particular thought to become dense and troublesome, the harder it is to get rid of and the longer it hangs around. Kinematic viscosity seems to suggest that it doesn't matter what the force is that is operating on the thought, just that external forces (such as gravity) will have an impact and change the thoughts viscosity level.

Ok, maybe I am going down a science hole that I will never have the intellect to get us out of...

My point is that thoughts have properties that, like our physical world, operate under laws that apply to all people, all the time. My thoughts have the same range of viscosity as your thoughts: it can't be different. We are all subject to the same physical world. What I have realized is that by examining the physical properties of my thoughts, I can see interesting patterns that I previously could not...

The more dense the thought, the longer it stays. When I heat up a particular thought by applying brain power, allow other forces to act upon the thought, like fresh air from a hike, the thought changes and becomes less lodged and sticky...the thought gets to become more viscous and leaves my consciousness with relative ease. The thought that I could not get rid of has now almost magically been dislodged and has slipped into the past.

So who cares? Well, as it turns out, I do. This poorly drafted science examination of my thoughts has led me to some pretty fucking huge discoveries! They are these:

Thoughts come and go all the time.

Some thoughts are sticky and hard to get rid of.

The more heat I apply to those sticky thoughts, the quicker the thoughts change and leave me.

The more forces I allow to act upon those thoughts, the more the thoughts change into some other thought.

Regardless of the thought's texture or viscosity, I cannot stop the flow of the thoughts - I can only alter direction and course.

The more creedence I give to any one thought, affects the thoughts permanence.

The more I allow the thought to just slip right by, the more peace I get.

So noticing a thought's viscosity helps me to remember that all thoughts will eventually go and be replaced by some other thought. This helps me to not get hooked or sold on any one particular thought...which allows my mind to be a place freer of stress and worry. No thought is more interesting, real or true than the next thought. Thoughts are just more or less viscous...which helps me to see that regardless of how long a thought stays...I can find peace in the fact that all my thoughts will eventually end up in the same place...the past. This helps me to not buy everything my head tells me, which in turn allows me to see that all is well in this moment...no matter what my thoughts tell me to the contrary.

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