We humans were designed to think spherically and act linearly. Prior to the Industrial Age, this was the societal norm. Thinking spherically and acting linearly was at the core of the teachings of all of the great spiritual teachers, original thinkers and philosophers.
The Industrial Age flipped the polarity of this ancient design. And now, most of us in the Western world (especially Americans) have it backwards …
We think linearly and act spherically.
Linear thinking is largely due to the social conditioning and influence of government, religion and education — then later, corporations. It produced great progress in the Industrial Age and in the expansion of America’s influence and power. But it also produced the great cost of our more shameful behaviors as a nation. This single-minded obsession from getting from point A to point B is necessary and useful skill if in survival or expansion mode. It is a must-have for the lower ends of Maslow’s Hierarchy.
Acting spherically still permeates much of our behavior in society, business and politics. We want all the options. We want a plan A — Z to support our point A to point B strategy. We want insurance, assurance and reassurance. We want security and certitude. We want money back guarantees. And now we have more information than we will ever need to make sure we have all the bases covered.
What if we returned to the original design of thinking spherically and acting linearly? For most of us, it would radically change our lives.
If we thought spherically, we would be more motivated by curiosity than by coping. We’d seek wisdom not information. We’d go inward for happiness instead of trying to purchase it through stuff. In our interactions with our fellow humans, we wouldn’t see labels or groups. We would see souls, not roles. We would certainly need much less of religion, government, education and corporate influence in our lives.
If we began to act linearly, we would get shit done at all new levels. We would become elite executors. We’d be agile. We’d stack rank priorities and then go. We would be more present with less plans and goals and more imagination and intention.
The combo of thinking spherically and acting linearly would certainly produce more warriors, more poets, more pirates, more creatives. Because to think spherically and act linearly is what artists do. And artists advance civilization to its next phase. Which is why I think we were designed to think spherically and act linearly. So without becoming artists each in our own way, we don’t just not advance our lives. We take something away from the world that prevents all of humanity from advancing.
If you switch back to the original design, be prepared to be shamed, admonished, corrected. Some of those closest you will question your character … and your sanity. You will hear “what’s wrong with you?” and “Have you gone insane?” and “You’ve lost your way.”
But you will also attract a new tribe of those embracing their original design. And that is the best part of any transformation: the people you meet and connect with along the way.