On The Indispensable Nature Of "Straight Line Thinking"
"The truth at any cost lowers all other costs." - Robert Steele, former CIA Officer and intelligence reform activist
Adbusters uses the term "straight line thinking" to describe "logic freaks" focused only on "more technology, more rationality, more surveillance, more consumption, more control."
But that isn't what I mean. From my perspective, "straight line thinking" is:
The ability to clearly articulate what your desired outcome (goal) is.
A commitment to getting there as efficiently (shortest number of steps, cheapest cost) and effectively (highest quality result) as possible.
Encouraging debate regarding the best method of achieving the goal.
Great communication facilitates all three aspects of "straight line thinking." Not only does it enable different kinds of people to understand what you're saying, but it also makes it possible for them to participate in achieving the goal.
In order to enjoy the benefits of "straight line thinking," though, one's organization must be healthy enough to handle painful feedback. It's like going on a diet: At some point you have to get on the scale. This point is exemplified by Jack Nicholson's classic line in A Few Good Men.
The inability to tolerate reality is symptomatic of a society on the decline.
Accordingly, when propaganda becomes a substitute for real news, it becomes impossible for people to know what's going on, and to make decisions based on that information -- a point made by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange made in his interview with Fox News journalist Sean Hannity.
To put it bluntly, if the public does not have real information, there is no democracy. There cannot be.
We need to have the truth in order to make society better.