I didn't want this to become a node about noding. But it seems to me that what you're looking at as you read this is evidence that the distant future hasn't got anything to do with the initial departure from linear thought.

It's already happening. The future is now.

Sure, the printed word is a highly linear medium. And sure, if you were to print this out and read the hard copy, that's exactly the medium that's creating the message. However, you probably haven't printed this out. Your mouse finger is probably getting itchy just looking at all these luscious hard links. Or soft links, if that's your thing.

So what?

Well, when everything2 is read as a text, it quickly becomes clear that (as a whole) it's highly nonlinear. The progression of thought may or may not be logical (in a traditional linear sense) as one proceeds through the database. You don't have to read an entire writeup to find yourself on some strange and distant node. Subtitute the appropriate terminology, and you'll see the same is true of the internet.

Marshall Mcluhan and R. Buckminster Fuller had a lot say about this. Unfortunately, I'm not familiar enough with Fuller to put in my two cents. As for Mcluhan, he began observing the shift from linear to what he termed mosaic thought as early as the mid-fifties. Mcluhan attributed this movement to the emergence of electronic media. As soon as there was more than one radio station, the medium gained a nonlinear aspect; one could change the station mid-sentence (or mid-song) and, if one so desired, connect the sentence (or song) from the preceding station to the sentence one would find on the new station and derive an entirely new and unintended meaning.

Perhaps we should be looking to the past for the dislocation from linear thought. Not that said dislocation is a bad thing, mind you.