My article on linear versus cyclical time in religious cosmologies will be coming out in a week or so.
I'm not so sure we can say that people are linear in their thinking. We actually have two main cognitive modes, the algorithmic (linear) and the heuristic, holistic ones. In any case, most human cultures have affirmed the cyclical aspect of nature. The Middle Eastern and recent Western linear or teleological view of time, together with the individualism, have been the exceptions.