i was dragged to a talk this afternoon on the subject of paradigm shifts, a topic which i am personally concerned with, sensing that there are forces unknown to me preparing a springboard for my own shift in social trends.
which, i’m frightened and excited to note, is potentially more powerful than i imagine, and closer than you think.
but i think people in general have a distorted idea on what paradigm shifts are. a lot of people associate just about all any any sort of change in their lives, be it personal or societal, as a paradigm shift. further in the discussion which i attended in today, a glarring question mark remained with me as to the true definition and measurement of a paradigm shift.
so here’s my take on it.
there is a reason why the term ‘paradigm shift’ is used so scarcely in any political or media context. a brainchild of thomas kuhn in his initial reference to scientific discoveries, it has expanded to refer to a range revolutions, not evolutions. a change which happens almost completely against the norm of any sort of trend. a change which happens immediately. overnight. it not just changes thought, but also underlying assumptions and flip perspectives of ideas.
wikipedia provides the following examples of scientific paradigm shifts:
# The transition from a Ptolemaic cosmology to a Copernican one.
# The unification of classical physics by Newton into a coherent mechanical worldview.
# The transition between the Maxwellian Electromagnetic worldview and the Einsteinian Relativistic worldview.
# The transition between the worldview of Newtonian physics and the Einsteinian Relativistic worldview.
# The development of Quantum mechanics, which redefined classical mechanics.
# The development of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, which overturned Lamarckian theories of evolution by inheritance of acquired characteristics.
# The acceptance of Plate tectonics as the explanation for large-scale geologic changes.
such is the magnitide of change which is required to justify a paradigm shift. in a word, it has to be big. it has to be colassal. in an ideological sense, it has to move the world.
in fact, in this sense, i am almost quite sure that there is no such thing as a paradigm shift at a personal or individual level. although i do believe that it takes people, and maybe even an individual to ignitiate the shift, but the magnitude of its influence needs to be felt by a majority of the population. not only that, it has to have the force to convert the majority’s way of thought into this new paradigm’s. new outlooks are to be formed on the basis on new assumptions. a new reality is formed. changed.
in this sense, i would even brave to say a new era is formed with the acceptance of a new paradigm shift.
hence, to each era, its own paradigm shift. closer to home, i have been hearing of a paradigm shift brewing in the couldrans of deeper malaysia. many would argue that it is about time. time to set things straight. time to set things right.
half my family have more rights than the other half. this is the sort of change i am talking about.
do i see a springboard? yes, i do. but it is a difficult one. one which will rocket the society to a dimension which we can barely dare to vision. vision is a quality of a paradigm shift. great visions are. visions of the new. not the improved. but the completely new.
do i see followers? far more than you think. far, far more than what most people imagine. but i also see fear. but i also see bravery.
do i hear a call? in the distance, i’m quite sure i do.
maybe the time is not now. but it is coming.
am i ready?