In school you were trained in Defensive Learning, that is, you were taught to learn only about things you already knew about.
Before school, you naturally used Expansive Learning where you could learn about anything, even if it matched nothing in your already existing knowledge base.
Defensive learning also cuts off your imagination and forces you to conclude that as soon as you have found the one right answer you should stop thinking. This is called Linear Thinking.
There is another part of your mind capable of Nonlinear Thinking.
Your Nonlinear brain is not dead, only unused, probably for a long time...
In Linear Thinking there is one right answer. In Nonlinear Thinking there are an infinite number of possible answers.
It is not about one kind of thinking being right or wrong, better or worse. However trying to apply Linear Thinking to complex situations is like trying to measure the Universe with a ruler... rather insufficient.
Why not reclaim your ability to Go Nonlinear?
Extraordinary Human Relationship is alive because of its continuous ongoing re-creation. Interactions are dynamic, surprising, unexpected and nonlinear. In general we do not have access to nonlinear creating because we have been cut off from our imaginations and nailed into modern linear viewpoints. In our civilization, mind is at war with imagination, and mind has decidedly won. Regaining access to our powers of nonlinear creating requires locating and reconnecting to our imagination.
Linear relationship goes like this.
On the first evening after their honeymoon the man returns from work and announces, “Honey, I’m home! I love you!” His starry-eyed woman arrives breathless and wraps herself into his arms saying, “Oh Darling! I love you too! I missed you so much! Dinner is waiting for you on the table.” The next evening the man opens the front door and announces, “Honey, I’m home! I love you!” The wife comes wearing a smile, and says, “Oh good. Right on time. Did you have a nice day?” The next evening the man opens the front door and announces, “Honey, I’m home! I love you!” The wife says, “I’ll be right there. I love you too.” The next evening the man opens the front door and announces, “Honey, I’m home! I love you!” The wife says, “I’m in the kitchen! What did you say?” “Honey, I’m home! I love you!” he repeats. “Yes, great,” she says. “You love me. I love you. Great! And, what else have you got?”
That Extraordinary Human Love is alive and requires similar attentive care to a pet or a vegetable garden keeps us on our toes. Without feeding our relationship with a steady diet of authentic actions moved by unpredictable originality the aliveness of our relating fades into a habitual rut. And, as the saying goes, the only difference between a rut and a grave is their length. The challenge of Extraordinary Human Relationship is learning to create something that you have never created before, differently each time, and over and over again. Nonlinear imagination easily fulfills that challenge. But connecting to nonlinear imagination can feel like filling your belly with hot coals and endlessly burning inside. Only one person can make the efforts to authentically reconnect you to nonlinear imagination. Guess who? Even the Kama Sutra runs out of positions sooner or later. Then you are back on your own.
Learning to be okay even if you cannot predict what you are going to do next plugs you into a new form of electricity. Suddenly you can start the “same” conversation differently, and each time feel its uniquely radiant possibilities. What comes after that is a mystery. Back in Shakespeare’s day it was a common pastime to converse only in rhyming pentameter, or to sing rhyming pentameter, or to sing and dance rhyming pentameter. The human being has a far greater capacity to be endlessly nonlinear than we are ever led to believe. It is up to you to explore that potential and to make use of it.
Your actions should not be intended to frighten or offend people. Your actions do not have to be drastic, even subtle creations can open new worlds of relationship. Maybe you never thought of possibilities such as these: You come home dragging a new fruit tree in the front door and explain that since you do not live out on a farm you are going to bring the farm home. You stand outside the door beating your chest and doing the Tarzan jungle call until your woman comes to get you. You take off your shirt in the snow outside and come in freezing cold needing desperately to be warmed up. You bring three friends for dinner, unannounced. You come in saying nothing and speak only in a whisper. You lay on the floor and cry for being so glad to come home again. You enter through the side door and go straight to the kids and listen to them about their day. You climb up the gutter and come in over the bedroom balcony like Romeo. You say nothing until after you flawlessly recite from memory Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven in its entirety. You bring home Chinese take-out food, consisting of the chef’s favorite delicacies. You enter singing Broadway show tunes and refuse to be interrupted until the grand finale. You cut out paper dolls and wear them around like a lace shawl. You speak in the accent of Count Dracula and are only attracted to your woman’s neck. You come in with your eyes closed saying that you are doing a science experiment and could your woman please lead you through the rest of your evening together. You have an unlit cigar in your mouth and keep it there all through dinner. You walk in backwards telling jokes to an invisible friend. You only look straight into the eyes of your woman with an intense unwavering gaze not being attracted to look anywhere else. You take her hand and proceed to give her a detailed hour-long palm reading about her exotic past and her wild possible futures. You hand your woman the cell phone – an old best friend (whom you have called on your woman’s behalf) is on the line; someone your woman loves but hasn’t spoken to in a long while.
I could keep going, but it’s your turn. You have a feeling for it now. The source that these come from is truly endless. Compare these examples to walking in with flowers or chocolates. At the same time, realize that avoiding linearity is not a rule. Flowers or chocolates now and then add spice to nonlinearity.
Reconnecting to your imagination will take intentional efforts. It does not happen all by itself or just by thinking about it. Participating in improvisational theater workshops could get you started. Not improvisational dance, but improvisational theater where you feel and express emotions not by acting but rather by re-experiencing them and sharing the experience out loud. Look for a workshop leader who uses warm-up exercises from Keith Johnstone and his book Impro – exercises which require you to go up on stage with a partner and use face, voice and posture to start something out of nothing and for no reason; exercises that require you to tell nonlinear imagination stories that you never heard before, one after the other in rapid succession, being interrupted at short random intervals and required to change stories mid-sentence. These are steps along the path of rediscovering the whereabouts of your nonlinear imagination. Once you find your imagination and see that it still functions after all these years, you can plug your heart back into its richly abundant resources.
Going nonlinear is an advanced skill.
Here's how you can prepare yourself from it.
Exiting Verbal Reality and Entering Experiential Reality
Modern schooling system teaches us to be linear. For example, it teaches us to stop thinking after someone has find the first 'right' answer. Remember this sense of relief when the teacher asks a question and someone would answer it correctly, then you were not in the danger zone any longer.
If you have been to school, you need a number of Emotional Healing Processes to allow yourself to go nonlinear.
Go Nonlinear while staying connected to the Guardians of Modern Culture
Who said you have to fight them?
Yep, you need practice is Going Nonlinear! Going sideways! Going perpendicular to the current thinking in the space! Creating Comfort-zone Traps! Declaring Water-Slide into the next Universe! Painting the Insane with your Laughing Source of Clarity! Healing the Ordinary with the Absurd! Leaning on the Normal until it gives way! Clowns have access to the absurd, contorsionists have access to the bend, poets have access to the liminal, Sourceress have access to the earth, Wizardress have access to the unknow- shift-identity! Take off your glasses and write an experiment. Invent an experiment while you are doing a hand stand. Ask a tree which experiment would serve your purpose Connect to a different context and write an experiment from there. Become someone else (for example someone from this Team) and write the experiment that they would create. HAVE FUN!
"What is this?"
This experiment is great to do during your Possibility Team. Spread out in the room in pairs. One person chooses an object and keep saying what this object is, without lying.
For example, the person chooses their chair, and pointing at it say: "This is unique object because I am the only person in the world sitting on it." "This is a assemblage of wood, metal screws, and paint." "This is a dead tree." etc... for about 10min / person.
"What is this for?"
This experiment is great to do during your Possibility Team. It can be a part 2 to Experiment GONONLIN.01. Spread out in the room in pairs. One person chooses an object and keep saying what this object can be used for, without lying.
For example, the person chooses their chair, and pointing at it say: "This is a weapon to kill robber" "This is a ruler to make straight line on a paper." "This is an object to make the hole in the middle of the kouglof cake. You have to make sure that it is clean." etc... for about 10min / person.
For one week, 3 times a day for, give 3 different answers to someone who asks you a question without lying and without making fun of them.
Bonus: make the first answer Ordinary, the second Extraordinary, the third Archetypal.
Use Your Emergency Carrot
Carry a carrot all day and use it for 8 different uses that a carrot is not usually used for. For example: use it as a doorstop or try it as a pen or chew it into the shape of a spoon, etc...
After your 8th new use, register your matrix point.
Inhabit A Makeshift House
This is a great experiment to do with your children.
Choose one room and do not go into the other rooms for the entire experiment. In this room build a house in which you and your co-experimenters (maybe your children) can fit in with any object from the room that you are in. Spend 3 hours in this house.
Redefine The Problem
For the next week, once a day, when someone comes to you with a problem, choose one word/concept in their problem and redefine it in a way that the problem gets solved.
For example, if someone comes to you ans says that they have been hurt by their partner, you can offer the redefinition of 'hurt' as 'feeling something, either Anger, Sadness, Fear or Joy'.
Relate To An Object Namelessly
For one entire day, abstain yourself from naming - even in your head - the object that you use. Notice how
Do Nonlinear Cooking
Invite friends over for lunch or dinner. The experiment is to make an entire meal for them without using utensils from the kitchen. Make sure the utensils are clean before you use them!
Accidentally Reveal Your Secrets
For one week, one time every day accidentally reveal one of your secrets in the middle of a conversation that has nothing to do with the conversation itself.
Create A Nonlinearity Practice Team And Start By Watching And Discussing 5 Films About Creating Nonlinearity Possibility
Watch the follwoing movies with your Possibility Team or Practice Team and notice their use of NonLinear skills to solve problems, Heal, create Possibility or Love.
Pirates of the Caribbeans I: Jack Sparrow getting out of seemingly unsolvable situation
What about Bob?: Bob's incapacity to be in modern culture gives him access to the present
Groundhog Day: it is the same for us, without access to the nonlinear, we just relive the same moment (argument, discussion, experience) over and over again
Accepted: manifesting your commitment takes nonlinear skills
Freedom Writers: truly holding space for others demands giving up what you know and going nonlinear
Patch Adams:health with clown, care and compassion
Bettlejuice: the epitom of nonlinear
In addition to the matrix point you earn by watching each movie (see Possibility Films), you earn an extra matrix point by watching all these movies with the purpose of building your nonlinear territory.
Invent A Possibility Policy For A World-Wide Problem
You can do this alone or in a Possibility Team. Choose a worldwide problem such as plastic in the ocean, wars, refugees, kids on drugs, ... Draft a complete policy that would stop the problem entirely. Make sure it does not have any loophole.