The Myth of the Linear Path

Backwards, inwards, and sideways are equally valid life paths

Keri Mangis
The Dissident

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Photo by Sudan Ouyang on Unsplash

I’m writing this fresh off a trip to Boston, where I visited my youngest daughter.

She is a senior year at Boston University, pursuing astrophysics and mechanical engineering (tell me about it).

She is currently in the process of applying to grad schools, and has sadly so far amassed three rejections. The mother in me, of course, wants to decry that these schools don’t know what they’re talking about, storm in someone’s office and say that they don’t know what they’re missing! The philosopher in me, however, sees it all differently.

We have been sold and indoctrinated into the idea of the Linear Path.

The Myth of the Linear Path states that every next step we take in life is supposed to be above the previous step. Like a ladder, we’re supposed to just go up, up, and up. This was mirrored in our early education, where each year we automatically went up grade. The idea was: graduate from high school, then, either go to college or get a job. Either at college or in your job, continue to upward mobilize. Start as an employee, become the boss. Start as an undergraduate, become a graduate. Start as an underling, become the, uh, overling? Anyway.

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Keri Mangis
The Dissident

I am author and speaker, dedicated to getting out (and staying out) of Plato’s Cave of shadows and deception. Hope to bring a few people with me.