On Paradigm Shifts 10.05.05 Search

The Coming Radical Change in Worldview

Douglas V. Gnazzo

Paradigms are the basic belief structures of society by which humans give meaning and understanding to their existence. A paradigm shift is a radical change in a major belief structure or worldview.

Introduction

Paradigms are models and examples that represent fundamental views of large groups of people, as in societies, nations, races, and civilization itself. They are the expression of how man perceives himself and the world about him; and his interaction with his fellow man, and the world around him. Obviously, we are not talking minor issues here, but major issues.

Paradigms are the basic belief structures of society by which man gives meaning and understanding to his existence. One example would be the belief that all men die. Another would be the belief that the world is round; although at one time it was believed that, the world was flat.

This last example illustrates that paradigms can and do change. Changes in paradigms are not simple affairs of little consequence. They are major invents that affect how man views himself and the world. Thus, they can and do have a large impact on man's behavior.

A change in paradigms is referred to as a paradigm shift, moving with the slowness and power of a colossal glacier, it changes the landscape across which it travels.

Paradigm Shifts

A paradigm shift is a radical change in a major belief structure or worldview. Examples are: the belief that the world was flat, to the belief, the world was round; the belief that the earth was at the center of the solar system, to the belief that the sun is at the center. As is evident, these are major changes, with far reaching consequences.

The above illustrations are examples of paradigm shifts in one particular field of study or belief systems. Paradigms, however, exist in all major aspects of life - they are the major belief systems of life. Paradigms exist in economics, medicine, physics, music, and even in monetary theory.

An example of a paradigm shift in economics is the belief in direct exchange or barter, to the belief and use of indirect exchange and money - the common medium of indirect exchange.

Life is alive with a steady flux as it constantly changes. It is a fluid process of motion. Time is the measurement of change. Consequently, man's paradigms change as his awareness of himself and the world about him change. This is true in all of the many and varied aspects of life, and man's awareness and understanding of such.

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