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Abstract Thinking vs. Concrete Thinking

Men have always been interested in mental. So let’s talk about the relation between abstract thinking vs. Concrete thinking. Studies on the mind have been initiated and continue to this day. The mind designates all that relates to the intellectual functions, to the psyche…

Concerning the definition of the mind, the opinions are divided according to whether it is a philosophical dialectic or a commonly accepted popular language.

So here we need to clarify what we mean by mental.

*** Definition of the Mind According to the Dictionary (Petit Larousse).Abstract Thinking vs. Concrete Thinking

But first, let’s follow, as a sort of breadcrumb trail, the definitions given to us by the “Petit Larousse illustrated “:

– Mental: “Set of mental dispositions, psychic of someone, spirit”

– Psychic: “concerning the mental life, the psyche, the states of consciousness”

– Spirit: “Principle of thought: intellectual activity, intelligence …”

*** Scientology Mental Definition Approach

According to Scientology, the mind is basically a system of communication and control between the thetan – the spiritual being that is the person itself – and his environment. It consists of mental images that represent the record of his past experiences.

The individual uses his mind to pose and solve problems related to survival and to direct his efforts according to these solutions.

– Composition of the Mind According to Scientology

The mind is composed of two parts: the analytical mind and the reactive mind.

The analytical mind (analytic mental) is the conscious, logical rational mind that thinks, observes the data, remembers, and solves problems.

The reactive mind (reactive mental) is part of the mind of a person who works on a reflex-excitation basis. He is not under his control, but he exerts a force and a power of command over his conscience, his goals, his thoughts, his body, and his actions.

To make clear our understanding of the notion of mind, we will analyze some key terms relating to the notion of mind.

*** Definition of Terms Close to the Notion of Mental


Memory, a psychic entity of the ego-I (ego), is created from the living from the birth of which part is unconscious, like the memory, and a conscious one, the thought. The latter always arises from the unconscious, from memory. This is the reason why all thought distances the subject from the here and now, from conscious action. The mind is the seat of the intellect and knowledge but not of the knowledge that requires work to go beyond the ego.


The consciousness of separation, of individuation. The consciousness of being a person, a socially separated individual. The consciousness of the self

Me: The self is the center of the field of consciousness. It is complex like the others, whose central core is the experience of a sense of identity to oneself and of continuity in time; in other words, it is what makes an individual recognize himself in the mirror from day to day, and that he can establish a link between the child he was and the adult he has become.


A computer is made up of a “Space” comprising both the unconscious functions of the management of any organic function (management of breathing for example), as well as conscious functions (thought for example). It is, therefore, the psyche that is the seat of the mind (which could be compared to artificial intelligence software).


The image that we want to present ourselves to others. It is very expensive psycho nervous energy and away from the truth about ourselves. The persona is, therefore, the social mask that we wear and whose function is to put us in touch with the outside world.


Consciousness can be a feeling, good conscience for example, but, for me, consciousness is the field of mental perceptions of sensations.

The on mental or “supra conscience”:

Psychic space is located beyond the thought, it is the state of absolute attention, the hyper lucidity. This is the noetic space. To reach it brings to the practitioner happiness from any object. The perpetual feeling is very different from joy or pleasure which they need a reason. It is the search for this reason, the search for pleasure that hinders man to the duality of pleasure/suffering. Bliss as for her is equanimity, even humor …

Abstract Thinking vs. Concrete Thinking

Between all these definitions, we will focus mainly on two types of mind that we call: abstract thinking (abstract mental) and concrete thinking (concrete mental).

1. The Concrete Mental or the Concrete Thinking

We will look throughout life to increase the number of successes and reduce the number of failures as much as possible. This process will lead us to determine the effects of our actions, to look for the causes of a positive or negative result; that is to say, having succeeded or not to the satisfaction of desire.

*** The Principle of Cause and Effect and the Concrete Mind.

I need to feed myself and I noticed that by cooking my food, they were easier to eat and digest.

There is a causal relationship here “cooking” to a positive effect “easier to eat and digest”

When I succeed in establishing cause-and-effect relationships, I can more easily control my environment: I hit the fire and I burned myself and so next time I’ll take a number of precautions to avoid duplicating the same pain; I will not touch the fire directly but through a stick.

In this case, I will use my memory and compare the new situation to a known situation. Do I need to use fire? If the answer is yes, I know that I must avoid direct contact with the fire.

Note: The process of comparing, building relationships, understanding a situation, is a cold step, not involving our emotions, but another part of ourselves which is the mind.

The mind will create a universe of its own and its purpose is to help the individual satisfy his desires with more efficiency, speed.

– The Example of Food

My mind, with the observation, will help me, for example, to understand that the plants that I used to eat grow with seeds and that if I plant these seeds in my turn, in the prepared ground, I will be able to harvest the same plants after a few months. They will be able to help me to subsist with less effort.

Thus was born gardening and then agriculture. The search for efficiency has progressively led to the mechanization of agricultural tasks with the horse and the plow, then the tractor, so that one and the same person can feed more and more his peers.

Note: The mind will allow me by using observation, and analysis, to understand whether my actions are effective or not and what corrective actions to take.

– The Example in Carpentry

I want to nail a nail in a board with a hammer and I’ve noticed that the nail is wringing too easily if I try to push it in one maneuver.

I will, therefore, find what is the most effective method, not to twist the nail and drive it quickly enough.

Here is the approach adopted:

(1). First, I will position the nail with the thumb and forefinger of a hand on the nail-stud location.

(2). I will then take the hammer by the handle with the other hand and place the metal head above the nail.

(3). I will lift the hammer vertically and accelerate the movement downwards to strike the nail with the metal head, with a force just enough for the nail to sink slightly.

(4). I will reproduce the movement to raise the hammer a second time and, with a little more force, I will hit the nail while being careful that the strike force is as much as possible directed in the alignment of the nail and that the metal head is touched by the nail approximately in the middle of its possible contact area.

(5). I’ll let go of the nail as soon as it can stand alone, so as not to risk banging on my fingers.

(6). I will finish with the number of strikes required in accordance with the rules set out above.

All this may seem complicated, but once the learning is done, I will quickly acquire habits, reflexes that will allow me to reduce my attention and my thinking when I’m doing the same work.

My mind, in this operation, is serving the purpose and will allow me to establish a method, rules to reduce difficulties.

*** The Concrete Mind or the Concrete Mental

This faculty is called the concrete mind because it is practiced in many situations of everyday life that can be “touched” closely.

The concrete mind establishes logical properties: if I want to have two planks of the same size, I will superimpose the two planks and cut the larger part of the larger planks. Logic tells me that I have to cut the biggest boards and not the other way around.

To be able to perform a complex task, I will divide it into a sum of simple tasks and establish an order of execution of the tasks in the most logical way possible; that is, allowing me to accomplish these tasks with maximum efficiency.

– Example by Observing the Spider

When I look at a spider weaving its web on a tree, I can recognize that the objective of the spider is to eat insects that will come to be caught in his web. It is the desire to eat and survive that motivates its action.

I can also observe that the spider will use a specific method, which will allow him with a minimum of effort to make his web.

I also know that the spider is able to adapt to different situations like the varying distances to cover between the branches of the tree.

Science argues that the spider obeys an instinct related to its species, but despite everything, we can perceive through its action the glimmers of a concrete mind, by its search for efficiency and its ability to adapt to its environment.

2. The Abstract Thinking

In his everyday life, man is faced with a series of problems to solve and for millennia we have learned and trained to solve these problems to the extent of our abilities. We developed the possibilities of our mind and acquired an experience that was transmitted first orally and then in writing.

This possibility of communicating to others, thanks to the word, requires a faculty more important than that of the concrete mind because the words that one utters are very different from what one wants to express.

– Example to Say I Want to Eat

If I want to say to someone, “I want to eat a banana”, I can do it with gestures by imitating a person who eats a fruit; that is, by pretending to peel the banana, then bringing the virtual banana to my mouth, chewing it piece after piece and finally throwing the banana peel.

I hope that the person who looks at me will understand my desire to eat a banana although the fruit is not yet in my possession.

When I use language, I am going to articulate words, each of which has a meaning for my interlocutor but which is very far from the object I am dealing with.

Each word pronounced has in itself a meaning “to eat”, “banana”, “I”, “want”

It is also necessary for me to assemble them logically in one sentence to describe as perfectly as possible the object of my thought.

Whether through language or writing each word is an abstract “being” that acquires meaning for the recipient only if there has been language learning and also depending on the context of the situation.

Man, by his social life with his fellow-men, has developed language, then writing, and possesses to a higher degree than animals an abstract mind.

This mind allows him to make reasoning not on concrete things but on abstract elements like words, symbols, numbers.

The universe of language and the expression of man becomes more and more complex because to be able to gain in efficiency, the man specialized and created a vocabulary peculiar to this specialty and the concrete “objects” or abstract things he is confronted with.

– The Example of Medical Language

For a doctor, for example, it was necessary to name all the organs and functions of the body, to give a name to diseases, to medicines.

This is why, if we want to understand the world of medicine, we are forced to immerse ourselves in its vocabulary thanks to its specialized works and dictionaries.

– The Example of the Mathematical Language

Similarly, if we take mathematics, the more we advance in the study of this specialty, the more this universe becomes abstract with a language of numbers, symbols, relationships, axioms, theorems, demonstrations …

Note: Thus, in each specialty, there is a field that is abstract and that we can understand only if we have been somewhat initiated by our education, our studies, our profession or through the spur of our curiosity.

*** The Mental Body and the Abstract Mind

The faculties of the concrete and abstract mind can be exercised independently of the external world. It suffices that I plunge into my memory, that I visualize events, situations, concepts so that my mind seeks to work and to establish relations, a logical order, to find new rules, new concepts.

The senses, in this case, can be a gene, an obstacle to my thinking.

If I hear the noise, or if lights attack me, I will have more trouble concentrating.

If I am disturbed by feelings, emotions I will also have to struggle and try to pacify my emotional body to advance my mental thinking.

We can intuitively infer that there is a separate element of my physical and emotional body that leads to a proper existence, it is my mental body.

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