Nonlinear Thinking


electrical field from human brainNonlinear thinking can save your life. Two men were on a jungle safari. Suddenly they came face-to-face with a tiger making a threatening low guttural growl; it moves slowly toward them. Both terrified, one of them starts putting on his shoes. The other man said, “How is that going to help? We can’t outrun the tiger.” To which his friend replied, “I don’t have to outrun the tiger, I only have to outrun you.”

Nonlinear thinking can also make you rich. A mob boss was missing $2 million and seething with anger. He suspected his accountant who was mute and could only communicate by sign language. Luckily the boss’s lawyer also knew sign language, and both go to pay the accountant a “visit.” They walk in the accountant’s office and the boss orders the lawyer, “Ask him where my money is.” The lawyer raises his hands and signs the question to the accountant.

The accountant signs back,
“I don’t know.”

The lawyer relays the boss,
“He said he doesn’t know.

The boss says,
“Tell him he better come clean now.”

The lawyer signs him the message, and the accountant signs back,
“There’s nothing to come clean about, I have no idea where it is.”

“He said he has no idea where it is.”

His face red with rage, the boss pulls out a .45 and holds it at the accountant’s head, “Tell him he has five seconds to tell me where my 2 million is or I’ll splatter the wall with his brains.”

The lawyer signs, and the accountant signs back,
“Ok, ok, it’s in a locker at the Burlington train station, the key is in my top desk drawer.”

The boss shouts, “What did he say?”

“He said you don’t have the balls.”

Here are a few situations that require linear thinking; give them a try. The answers are at the end of the pictures.

Eggs: The last person took the basket with the egg in it.

Murderer: All the other card players were women.

Orange Juice: Pour the juice from the second glass to the fifth.

Recluse: The recluse lived in a lighthouse.

Here Are Definitions of Both Linear and Nonlinear Thinking

Linear: A process of thought following known cycles or step-by-step progression where a response to a step must be elicited before another step is taken.  

Nonlinear: Thinking characterized by expansion in multiple directions rather than one direction; based on the premise that there are many points from which one can apply logic to a problem.  Nonlinear thinkers make connections between seemingly unrelated things, jump from here to there, and are more at home with things like art, music, and theoretical physics. It seems Einstein had trouble with math—elementary school math—the linear kind, where 3 x 3 = 9. From what I’ve read, he wouldn’t have passed math without the help of his mother and sister. Where he excelled was in higher math, the kind that enters the realm of theory, of imagination.

Developing our nonlinear (also re­ferred to as lateral thinking) would no doubt improve our lives by in­creasing our options in solving many of life’s prob­lems. When at­temp­ting to solve nonlin­ear puz­zles, what thwarts us is the deep seated pro­grammed as­sump­tions about the situa­tion at hand. Those as­sumptions im­medi­ately limit our op­tions to find an al­terna­tive solution.

For instance, my underlying auto­matic as­sumption with the six glasses of or­ange juice, is that the glass I move must hold the juice. That wasn’t a re­strictive rule as defined by the puzzle, but my own. And, in the mur­der case, my unwary as­sumption was that all the players were men; assuming it without even being aware of it. Why? Not sure; maybe part of it was the culture in which I was raised; in these occupa­tions I visu­alize men, and clinging to those assump­tions, limited my op­tions. Quite simply, nonlinear think­ing offers us many more creative alterna­tives.

Also, hard and fast belief sys­tems would be anathema to nonlinear think­ing. Why would you ask yourself a ques­tion in that particular arena, and engage the crea­tive process, when you already “know” the iron-clad and only an­swer? This self-im­posed limita­tion shuts down half the brain—the right hemi­sphere—that area where creativity is generated.

The first two things to do before em­barking upon on a solution might be is to:

1. Difficult as it may be, release oneself from precon­ceived no­tions be­forehand,

2. Ask yourself, “What assump­tions by default am I mak­ing here that may be operat­ing just be­low my con­scious­ness?”  The less we as­sume, the more our mind is expanded.

Here’s another problem: A man drives down the motorway at 70 miles per hour. He passes three cars going 80 miles per hour, then gets pulled over by a police of­ficer and is given a ticket. The answer: He was driving the wrong way down the motorway. I assumed and visualized him driving the same direction as the traffic, because my mind is conditioned to de­fault to that assumption from my every­day experiences, making the premise of the problem senseless, thereby obfus­cating any other possibility.

And lastly, here’s one of my favorites: You are driving down the street on a nasty, stormy night, when you pass by a bus stop where three people are waiting for the bus…an old lady who looks as if she is about to die, an old friend who once saved your life, and the perfect partner you have been dreaming about. Which one would you choose to offer a ride to, knowing that there could only be one passenger in your car, or is there a solution where you could get the old lady to the hospital, get your friend out of the storm, and finally meet your romantic soul mate? There is. Here’s the answer:

Give the car keys to your old friend and let him take the lady to the hospital,
and wait for the bus with the person of your dreams.
The reason most of us didn’t arrive at this solution is because of our default assumption that we had to be the driver—the only visualization we saw in our mind’s eye. So, pausing first and asking ourselves what it is we’re automatically assuming will go far in helping us think in nonlinear terms.
Thinking outside the box isn’t easy. The only way to strengthen this kind of thinking is to exercise the examination of our assumptions.
tic tac toe

Legions of Valiant Hearts Made
the Ultimate Sacrifice So You May
Have This Right

the word "VOTE"

Raising flag at Iwo JimaNovember’s mid-term election will have an enormous impact in determining our country’s path; whether or not it will work on behalf of all the people. The operative word being “all.” It is your right and it is your obligation to make your voice heard by exercising your power and casting your vote.
WWWMany people today are cynical, angry or indifferent, feeling that they’re not going to bother; burying their head in the sand. That, is a para­mount mistake for four reasons.

  1. Pvt. Anthony DeVitoFirst and foremost, legions of valiant people have died to bestow upon us that right, power and privilege. Among them was my uncle, Anthony DeVito, who made the ultimate sacrifice in WWII. I vividly remember the wails of his wife Minnie, and the sight of my mother fainting as she read the telegram. Her brother was forever gone.
  2. Leg­islation impacts our life more than we can imagine. We can opt out of par­ticipating, but not from the leg­isla­tion govern­ment and the Supreme Court hand down to us, profoundly affecting our lives and the lives of those people we love.
  3. By re­fusing to participate because of the belief that the system is hope­lessly rigged, becomes a self-ful­filling prophecy, leading to more control by pow­erful special interests.
  4. We often take for granted the liberties, op­portunities and won­derful ser­vices that we’re all the ben­efi­ciar­ies of here in our beloved America; lulled into a sort of apathetic stupor, desen­sitizing us to the gratitude we should feel. We are blessed to be here.

statue of libertyThankfully, the Supreme Court has just struck down severe voter suppression laws in Texas, and a federal judge has likewise stopped Wisconsin from instituting the same type of laws. But there are 25 other states like Florida, Indiana and Ohio that have enacted these unpatriotic and malevolent laws to blatantly prevent citizens from exercising their right to vote who have been voting legally for decades, and obstructing new would-be voters to register; perpetrated under the ludicrous guise of abating nonexistent rampant voter fraud. Between 2000 and 2014 there have been 31 cases of fraud out of more than one billion ballots casted, that’s .000000031%. The study was conducted by Yale University Law School and the Brennan Center for Justice.
If there are nefarious and treasonous forces at work in your state that dishonor and mock our fallen, trying to, or have disenfranchised your right to vote in their insatiable, profane, and mindless quest for power at any cost, you must do whatever it takes to empower and reinstate yourself. This is your duty, to say nothing of being in your and your family’s best interest. The United States ranks last among industrialized nations in voter participation. For mid-term elections it’s less than 38%, and for presidential elections it’s about 55%. That is much too complacent.
Yes, democracy is messy, not like the neat, simple, oppressive subjugation of a dictatorship. As Winston Churchill said,

Democracy is the worst form of government, except
for all the other forms that been tried from time to time.

We are fast becoming an oligarchy, where in con­cert with a mostly corrupt congress (super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff had major influence with 150 Congressional offices), the most powerful among us will take control of the coun­try, especially now with a Citizens United tilted playing field where a handful of mega-wealthy self-serving moguls are attempting to buy the election. WWWIt’s far from idealis­tic to know, we the people, can change that, because make no mistake, the vote is the great equalizer. There is a correlation between politi­cal apathy and rising dysfunctional govern­ment which works against the best interests of the peo­ple. With freedom comes responsibility.
the word "VOTE"

 Those who are too smart to engage in politics are
punished by being governed by those who are dumber.