the Liquid Water Perspective Metaphor … understanding silver-spoon conservatives

There are many different subgroups within the conservative population. Primary among them are the capitalists, and within the capitalists subgroup there are further sub-sub-groups, chief among them are the silver-spoon capitalists.

Understanding their viewpoint of the big picture is important. Here is a metaphor that attempts to describe how they view their life experience in relation to the life experience of an impoverished culture.

Understanding the silver-spoon capitalists' viewpoint of the impoverished community is important.

Imagine a drop of H2O, Water, living its whole life in a temperate room. It and other drops of H2O mingle with each other and live a pleasant life. He can easily adapt to new places since he has shape-shifting capabilities, and can easily recover from adversity (such as being splatted by a light hammer) because of its capability to regroup with other liquid droplets.

Water has heard rumors of a drop of H2O that lives differently from himself, Ice, who lives in the freezer of course.

Ice experiences the world differently: he is unable to mingle seamlessly with others, he is unable to adapt to most situations because of his inability to change shape, and when struck by a light hammer his shards are never able to regroup.

This is all good and well, but it does not really matter! … until a compassionate person begins to realize the very different lives that Water and Ice live, and most importantly realizes the very different quality of their lives: Ice is highly stressed; Water is happy.

The compassionate person brings the issue to everyone’s attention. Water says, ‘if they are so unhappy, why don’t they just behave the way we do: learn to recover better from adversities when they occur, adapt to changing situations better?’

Because Water has only experienced reality from his temperate perspective, he was unable to genuinely comprehend the limitations of Ice’s reality, though these limitations have been recited to him several times. Water could just not realize that Ice does not have these capabilities due to the laws of nature, though Ice does wish dearly that he did have these capabilities. The only way for Ice to get these capabilities is if Ice’s environment changes to a more temperate one.


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6 responses

  1. This is a common argument. But it does little to improve the lives of ice cubes.

    They live in a less temperate environment. That’s true. But they’re not really ice cubes. They’re human beings. They can move.

    And what we need to understand is that they DO move. Most of the richest Americans used to be poor. They moved.

    So, they have real-world advice for ice cubes. They’re not saying “Just do what we do”. They’re saying, “Do what I DID when I was an ice cube. It may not be easy, but it’s possible”.

    Your argument places ice cubism in the category of identy. Really, we’re all H2O. We need to realize that only we can change our states.

  2. ice cubism is a complicated thing 🙂 … in this metaphor it refers to a psychological state as much as it does to physical environment.

    more than likely, when you consider all of those rags-to-riches stories, you probably fail to consider the whole condition of their ‘rag’ phase.

    very often these rags-to-riches people had many assets, though not money surplus, available to them, such as strong psychological state: sense of hope, ability to develop goal-oriented strategies, etc.

    Because those people had these assets of personal strength, they were never ice cubes in the first place, though they were financially poor. Ice cubes are, by definition, entities that are frozen physically, emotionally, psychologically due to their environment.

    If it was so viable to overcome ice cubism, we would see 15-20% escape rates per generation … but reality is probably less than .5% (I’m guessing based on my personal observations).

  3. I’d just prefer that we not keep telling people they’re stuck.

    If there’s a .5% chance, then it’s possible. And if 100% of the icecubes believed that, the incidents of rags-to-riches successes would increase dramatically.

    It’s like the four minute mile. Before it was achieved, no one thought it was possible. Once it was achieved, tons of folks did it, because they knew it was possible.

  4. you are incorrect about ‘tons of people did it’ … millions and millions have tried to break the 4-minute mark, but only a very small percentage were capable of doing it. This was due to available training-time, lung capacity, and whatever else.

    and it has nothing to do with ‘telling people they’re stuck’ … it has to do with correctly analyzing the situation. Once that is accomplished, then legitimate solutions can be looked for.

    Imagine you embracing me with this positive message of hope: ‘take your paycheck … you might win at the roulette table.’ … that would be irresponsible. The odds of winning at the table are probably about the same as an ice cube getting out of the freezer.

  5. You and I may never agree. And that’s ok. I promise I am only interested in talking. And if one of us is convinced that we were wrong, great!

    Please consider this. Immigrants to the U.S. are four times as likely to become millionaires than are natural born citizens. I think that’s because they grow up hearing about a land of opportunity. Americans have grown up hearing about obstacles and uneven playing fields.

    Certainly, an immigrant with absolutely nothing (not even the ability to speak English) is helped by his belief in the ability to succeed in America. Whether or not you happen to agree. Is a man with almost no money and zero grasp on the English language not an icecube?

    I tell you that most of the obstacles are imagined. And I honestly think that your way of thinking helps promote a lack of trying.

    I don’t think you’re bad. Just wrong.

  6. the immigrant is not an ice cube …

    he has, as you mentioned, belief … which does go with your argument that it is a good idea to encourage people to believe (I don’t deny that … pep talks and hope-filled philosophies do play a role).

    but the immigrant has something else … there have been studies (that I cannot cite) that indicate that immigrants are usually the most strong-willed of their respective populations, unusually courageous. All of the other 95% (I made that up, just a gut feeling) of their respective population that did NOT immigrate are the common average-willed or weak-willed type of people.

    also, immigrants tend to move into communities of their nationality which is made up of thousands of other strong-willed, cream-of-the-crop gun-ho individuals, all working constructively to build. upon arrival the new immigrant almost immediately ties into a network of common-focus, strong-willed individuals that speak his language. He is not an ice cube living in a freezer, physically or psychologically.

    you are right when you say ‘obstacles are imagined’ implying that they are psychological (which is what this metaphor symbolizes). What most conservatives do not believe is the depth to which psychology permeates a person.

    If you have 100 people that come from a broken community, maybe 5% will be equipped to interact with a positive, hope-filled pep talk. But the other 95% will not.

    You will never solve the problem of an immobile car until you first identify that the tire is flat … Admitting that 95% of people from a broken community are, well, broken is not PESSIMISTIC … it is, instead, the first step necessary to solve the problem … which is deeply optimistic.

    Remember the Bad News Bears? It did no good to give them a pep talk. What helped was having uniforms (that affected their dignity). What helped was training and coaching (that gave them content-based confidence, validity). What affected them was gas money to travel to the games (that gave them power). Now, with all of this in place, it is a great time for a pep talk. They will be able to absorb it, and use it for inspiration. Otherwise it would have just fallen on deaf hopeless ears.

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