I first heard the phrase “two-dimensional thinking” when I was a teenager watching the movie “Star Trek- The Wrath of Kahn.” Yes, I am a fan. I can hear the muttering “Oh god, not another one.” The line was said by Mr. Spock in the final battle with the villain Kahn “He’s intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two-dimensional thinking.” In the movie it is clear the phrase ” two-dimensional thinking” is a reference to the dimensions involved in space combat. Over the years, to me the phrase has come to have more substantial meaning.
An official definition does not exist and even for myself the definition can vary. Essentially, it means to not look beyond the moment, to understand only the moment but not the cause and effect. Here is an old riddle, if I offered you 3 million dollars or a penny a day doubled for thirty days which would you take? If you took the latter you would collect over 5 million dollars on the thirtieth day. When you look at a painting or a photograph, do you look at the subject and wonder what they are feeling or thinking? Do you contemplate only what is in front of you? Do ever wonder what the set of events were leading to the moment in the photograph/painting or what events transpired afterwards?
When you receive a tax refund or a tax rebate are you happy? Do you get a warm fuzzy feeling when you open the mail and see the check. Do you race to the bank to deposit the check with thoughts of purchasing the item you have been longing to get. Does it ever occur to you, the money you received was due to the fact the government took too much from you in the first place? There are those in New Jersey who would rather receive a property tax rebate check than have their property tax lowered. They say they rely on the check but have lost sight of the fact the check is being sent to them because the government took the money away from them in the first place.
Don King, the boxing promoter, use to buy his fighters off with suitcases of cash. He said the boxers would be so impressed with the cash they would lose all focus on any other elements of the deal they were making. After the fact, some boxers would sue him but always come up short. All because they loved that suitcase of cash. It seems to me the American people are selling themselves cheap.
Two-dimensional thinking will get you by, thinking beyond will get you ahead.