Surlinearism

Recently, I tried to look up an antonym for “linear”.

It doesn’t exist.

I found a ton of questions on the web from people looking for the same thing as me – and no answers.

How is this possible?

In this day and age, in this world of holistic health and networked thinking and distributed computing and all-at-once learning, how is this possible?

There were some suggestions along with the innumerable hits on the question of what the opposite of linear is. For example: “hyper”, “evolutionary design”, “lateral”, “circular”, “fragmented”, “workflow”, “parallel thinking”, “illogical”, “brainstorming” and of course, “nonlinear”.

Apparently, there is a great tension I never knew existed between “all-at-once” (simultaneous) and “one-at-a-time” (sequential). And my innocent little search for precise vocabulary exposed it. I didn’t mean to challenge physics and the space-time continuum and the fundamental laws of nature. To upset the human understanding of causation and logic and exactitude.

I was just trying to organize a meeting. But, being both creative as well as crunched for time, I wanted to get everyone needed together in a room at one time to work through a problem as opposed to working through a series of stages separately – and I needed to explain that to them precisely and concisely (so they’d accept my meeting invite).

Turns out that attempting to do so is illogical – literally.

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1 comment so far

  1. Moosilaneous on

    Interesting verbal conundrum.
    A meeting like that I just call workshopping – as in “We’re assembling to workshop solutions to XYZ Policy”
    Nobody here seems to like brainstorming, which is what it really is…
    Or, in more casual vernacular, I ask for help for a group grapple. As in: As a group, we’re intending to grapple with the xyz issue, develop some solutions and [here we go – it all comes back to linear] come up with a timeline/workplan!
    Damn Linearist world!


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