Conscious Connections: Rigid, Flexible and Disconnected


A connection joins two parts or two pieces or two ideas.

In a mechanical or physical system a connection can be rigid so that the connected parts act as one integrated unit. Or the connection can be soft and allow the parts to more relative to each other while still maintaining a “connection.”

In electrical circuits, switches can be used to “control” connections, either allowing electricity to flow or preventing it.

Creating a Center

When we look at something like a billiard ball, we can say that it has a well defined center because all the component parts of the billiard ball are connected and those connections are strong and firm. Thus when we hit the cue ball with our cue stick, the ball moves. All the parts of it move together as one unit.
It rolls along the table and depending on how we hit it, it may spin in one direction or the other as well as roll. And then when it impacts the target ball, that ball also moves.

A water bed mattress full of water does not have a well defined center. Imagine trying to move a water bed or even trying to push it. It deforms and nothing else happens unless we push to the limits of the mattresses elasticity. Ideally at this time the mattress doesn’t break, it simply shifts as we push it. Now, because it is deformed, we can say it has a center. We’ve tightened some of the connections between the parts of the water bed mattress and now we give it a center of sorts. We can push it on it and it moves.

Rigid (or Strong) vs Flexible (Relaxed)

Simple terms that can be used to denote the differences in state between say a billiard ball and a water bed are rigid and flexible.

A rigid connection allows parts that are connected to move together. So when the billiard ball is hit, the energy of the collision is transmitted to all the parts of the ball via the connections between them. As a result the ball moves.

It allows the parts that are connected to handle change together and stay connected.

A flexible connection is like the water filled water mattress. The water particles inside the mattress can move relative to each other. Freezing the water turns the water mattress from flexible to rigid. With the water unfrozen the water particles can more relative to each other and the water mattress as a whole can deflect and deform, in effect absorbing change.

Within our body, we can make the connections between the parts of ourself rigid or flexible (or relaxed). Our joints can be like a billiard ball, hard, firm, able to be pushed or moved, or soft and pliable like a waterbed, each part of ourselves absorbing and dissipating change. Our joints can also vary between these two extremes.


The main mechanism for varying our joints between being strong/rigid and flexible/relaxed is tension.

By controlling tension we can vary the state of our joints between being rigid and flexible. Our joints can then can resist change or dissipate it.

Mental Connections

This model can also be applied to our mental state.

Mental “flexibility” could be imagined as the ability to let ideas move freely relative to each other. Mental “stability” or “rigidness” could be the ability to firmly lock ideas relative to each other.

I’d suggest that one isn’t better than the other. What is more important is the ability to freely choose whether ideas are flexibly connected or rigidly connected.


One final concept is the idea of disconnection. This is similar to the idea of a flexible connection however it is more complete. A flexible connection implies that there is still some connection between the two related parts. As an example we could relax the elbow so that the forearm can flop around relative to the upper arm.

A disconnect is like unplugging a plug. Doesn’t matter if the switch is on or off, electricity isn’t going to flow.