Differences in linear and holistic thinking and operating

Zaia Kendall

Zaia grew up in a family of musicians in Holland, and has a background in top sport (snow skiing) and web development and design. She co-founded the PRI Luganville and PRI Sunshine Coast Inc (now PermEco Inc.) with Tom, and runs the “invisible structures”, like finances, business administration, website design and maintenance, writes articles and records and edits videos. She assists Tom in running the Kendall Permaculture Farm and supervising other volunteers. She is an active member of several musical projects and bands, involved in community music and runs percussion and marimba workshops, is the percussion leader for the Woodford Folk Festival People’s Orchestra and composes as well as plays music. She is passionate about community music and loves seeing people discover that they can play!

You may also like...

4 Responses

  1. I enjoyed your writing and the subject matter intrigues me. I am so pleased to have stumbled onto this site.
    In 1954, Stuart Chase wrote an essay, “How Language Shapes Our Thoughts”. If you have not read it, you should. He writes that, in all the talk about talk and about a talker’s power over his language, little is mentioned of the reverse of that process, i.e. the power language exerts over the talker.
    Years ago, when I was searching to understand why I didn’t fit in this society into which I had been born, why I felt like a round peg trying to fit into a square hole, I discovered two things: 1. that I am of Native American ancestry and 2. the aforementioned essay.
    Chase references the research of Benjamin Lee Whorf, a linguist. Whorf put forth the question: Do our thoughts shape our language or does our language shape our thoughts? What follows is some incredible thought into this question.
    He speculates that “all observers are not led by the same physical evidence to the same picture of the universe, unless their linguistic backgrounds are similar, or in some way can be calibrated.”
    Whorf wrote of two distinct language groups. One of these is linear, involving time and space, with subject-predicate form of language. These are generally Indo-European language groups. The other language group is holistic and cannot be gauged by the same measures as Indo-European. These language groups include Native American, African, Chinese and many others. People born with genetic make up from these language groups are predetermined to see the world through that language make up.
    Take for instance, physics. A person of Native American genetics, who thinks holistically, has an intuitive understanding of physics. However, a person of Indo-European genetics, who thinks linearly, must have the language of mathematics to understand physics.

    • Zaia says:

      Thank you so much for your comment Zande, I was unaware of the essay but will definitely look it up to read. I myself speak multiple languages fluently, although they are all European languages. However, I am also a musician. Music I believe is another language and is universal. It can be practised linearly, but it can also be practised holistically. Food or future thought! Thanks again for contributing your information!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: