Linear thinking is a common human strategy of applying a logical set of time-honoured principles in a certain way so as to get results we expect should meet our criteria for success.
Step A should precede step B before Step C in order to Achieve Goal Z etc. etc.
This strategy works. It has worked more or less effectively for many thousands of years of human endeavour.
I'm not so sure it will work very efficiently in the future though.
You see, the burgeoning amounts of data and information we human beings are being exposed to on a daily basis now far exceeds our evolutionary ability to keep up with it! We just have not adapted sufficiently and quickly enough to maintain the scope and detail of dealing with this information. Our choices are limited to our current evolved capacity to deal with information as we have done for hundreds - perhaps millions - of years!
Human beings are smart! There is no doubt about that! I think even Einstein, if he were alive today, would be blown away by what wee children are able to do with the tools created as a result of his theories :) We adapt very, very quickly to all manner of situations and circumstances! It's the killer app of the Human Being! Adaptability!
But the test is coming now as to how adaptable we can remain to the incredible pace of technology and scientific discovery.
I envisage two things happening which may or may not occur...but nevermind.. conjecture can be fun... so bear with me... :)
1) Human beings will shut down their circle of intimate contacts - both personal and material - to a very private and consolidated few in the real world. We will literally peel away as much of the extraneous contact we must have on a day to day basis, with the world at large, in order to protect ourselves from sheer sensory overload. Privacy will be an even greater issue for many RL activities.
2) Human beings will open up their circle of intimate contacts - both personal and material - to a somewhat private but imaginary and vast virtual landscape in the cyber world. We will literally change many of our habits and behaviours as we make contact on a day to day basis with the cyber world at large, in order to assert our individual identities and also find Tribes of like-minded identities with which we can freely engage.
The issues of Privacy online are quite different from those in RL. The interface of the computer screen affords a natural level of privacy in and of itself. This is why self-disclosure is so high on the internet, as there is no other way for people to get to know each other except through the process of textual (and sometimes voIP/webcam) conversation.
so okay.. what does this have to do with linear thinking!
The way we UNDERSTAND and DEAL with these new types of dichotomies within relationship will require fundamental changes in our thinking.
Moral ethics will need to be handled very very differently from the norms we have accepted for generations. A different kind of thinking is required beyond that of linear and strategic assumptions about events and motives.
The world we live in is both shrinking and growing but in dynamically different ways to how life has always passed us by. Quite simply we live in such a dynamic age of change, what we once held dear will now be sorely challenged in terms of moral code and ethical behaviours.
We CAN adapt and we will but there could well be quite a lot more polarity in opinions about everything! Be prepared for life (and people) to get VERY unpredictable! :)
So... where does this leave us?
We need to forgo our notions of separateness for one thing. Even though I just said there might be more polarity in things...which suggests the notion of separation of opinion and idea...what I am meaing is that we will need to learn to accept those polarised opinions as being no different from our own or anyone elses!
"Excuse me?" I hear you say! :)
We need to adapt to a mindset of singularity even when everything seems to be separate. It is not...not anymore! We've always seen two faces to the coin, I'm saying that now its time to just see the coin and not the faces at all!
Instead of just being adaptable we now need to be also efficiently ACCEPTING of much much more than we ever thought possible. We need to be more inclusive and less beligerant about viewpoints, opinions, linear thinking, beliefs and attitudes. We will need to think in terms of life as a circle rather than a line.
There will still need to be boundaries etc. There are some wrongs that will remain wrongs so far as I can tell... rape, murder, abuse etc. Protecting ourselves from these extreme forms of behaviour is still fundamental to our survival on this planet. Still... we won't be able to be as "picky" about people as we have been in the past.
We'll need to be more global in our approach to problems and less stiffly objective in expectations and procedures.
Basically we need to dream awake like the ancient tribal societies of the past used to do. We need a new type of awareness of our world like never before. Otherwise the old patterns of thinking linearly and precisely will just not help us adapt to the enormous changes we are facing as human beings in the generations to come.