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The Paradigm - a broader perspective

As with James' Lovelock's "Gaia", the term "Paradigm" was adopted by the alternative culture and very soon came to have a much broader and also much more mystical meaning that the strict  yellow/ thinking/logician/middle-mental-body meaning it originally had.  Intuitive/indigo/higher-mental-body concepts like "New Paradigm" and "Paradigm Shift" became very popular in Transpersonal Psychology, the New Age movement, the Hippy/Alternative movement, and the Millennial mythos in general.  From there it filtered back into the general consciousness.

Another way of looking at it is to say that a paradigm is a kind of meme, an idea that perpetuates itself through successive generations.  Paradigms, like memes, are often extraordinarily resistent to change.

I use the term Paradigm in this sense to indicate a way of thinking about the world that is perpetuated by particular authority groups (academia, church, government, etc) in society.  In other words, any explanation of reality that is based on correct or incorrect intellectual arguments and interpretation of evidence, believed as a doctrine or dogma, and accepted and defended as truth by a cross-section of society.  So for example the arguments of external link The Flat Earth Society, Creation Science, the Anthroposophy of Rudolph Steiner, and the canon of contemporary Science, are all paradigms in which they each describe the universe and the way it came about, by interpreting the facts intellectually and developing an explanation from that.  Whether that explanation is correct or incorrect is irrelevant.

The problem is, so many people think their paradigm is right and everyone else's is wrong.  This is a; terribly blinkered attitude.  It is naive to say that "this is absolutely true" and "this is absolutely false".  Reality Itself is beyond conception.  Every explanation is partial and incomplete.  Some explanations are more encompassing than others.  But all are different ways of answering the so-called ultimate questions about the meaning of existence.

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page by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 11 May 1999, last modified 18 June 2004, links 29 Aug 2009