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Published:September 9th, 2009 09:32 EST
The Paradgm Shift

The Paradgm Shift

By Lalit Goel

The word paradigm comes from the Greek. It was originally a scientific term, and is more commonly used today to mean a model, theory, perception, assumption, or frame of reference. In the more general sense, it`s the way we see " the world " not in terms of our visual sense of sight, but in terms of perceiving, understanding, and interpreting. Isn`t perception always more real than the actual?


We might work on our behavior - we could try harder, being more diligent, doubling our speed. But our efforts would only succeed in getting us to the wrong place faster.



We might work on our attitude - we could think more positively. We still wouldn`t get to the right place, but perhaps we wouldn`t care. Our attitude would be so positive, we`d be happy wherever we were.


The point is, we would still be lost. The fundamental problem has nothing to do with our behavior or attitude. It has everything to do with having a wrong map in our mind " the paradigm.


Each of us has many maps in our head, broadly: maps of the way the things are, or realities; and maps of the way things should be, or values. We interpret everything we experience based on these mental maps. We seldom question their accuracy; we`re usually even unaware that we have them. We simply assume that the way we see things is the way they really are or they way should be.


Our attitude and behavior grow out of those assumptions. The way we see things is the source of the way we think and the way we act. We may believe otherwise, but the truth is that the way we think or act is not necessarily logical " but more psychological. As such, its conditioning we are talking about. How powerfully the conditioning affects our perceptions, our paradigms? How powerfully our paradigms affect the way we interact with other people?


Each one of us tends to think we see things as they are, and that we are objective. It may not be true. We see the world, not as it is, but as we are " or as we are conditioned to see it. Each person`s interpretation of these facts represents prior experiences, and the facts have no meaning whatsoever apart from the interpretation. Our paradigms, correct or incorrect, are the source of our attitudes and behaviors, and ultimately our relationship with others.


If we want to make significant, quantum change, we need to work on our basic paradigms with an open mind; create a paradigm shift, whether that shift is instantaneous or a slow and deliberate process. For evolving as a person, it is simply impossible to violate, ignore or shortcut this development process. Admission of ignorance is often the first step in our education. All of us are individually convinced the problem is out there and if they (meaning others) would shape up or suddenly ship out of existence, the problem would be solved. Is such a simplistic solution really possible?


We must not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time.

------ T. S. Eliot