June 10, 2012 A Paradigm Shift
When I went to college, I didn’t know what I wanted to study. My belief was that since I wasn’t planning to become a doctor or an engineer, I could simply choose to study what intrigued me. I was clueless about my future career, but I was raised knowing that I would attend college.
Both of my parents are teachers, so of course education was always valued in my household. That being said, my parents never made it seem like everyone needed to go to college, just that everyone should have access to education if they choose. It was very obvious from an early age that I loved learning and that I would continue my education after my required schooling.
Anyway, I decided that my college experience would be centered around my interests. I took an AP/IB psychology class during high school and did quite well, so I considered continuing psychology in college. I was turned off because of how impacted the major was- I couldn’t even enroll in a psychology class my first semester (first year students have the last slot for enrollment) so I signed up for “introduction to sociology” instead. I was immediately hooked.
Sociology is wonderful because it is so broad. I took courses on social psychology, race and ethnicity, political sociology, sociology of the 1960s, sociology of sexuality, and even a class on riots and protests movements. I actually ended up with a minor in African American studies because I was fascinated with a perspective that was almost completely absent in my earlier education (save a week or two in February each year).
Looking at the world from a macro perspective allows us to understand what is occurring in the micro.
“As Above, So Below.”
Through my studies I integrated an understanding of a social paradigm, as stated here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradigm
Another use of the word paradigm is in the sense of “worldview”. For example, in social science, the term is used to describe the set of experiences, beliefs and values that affect the way an individual perceives reality and responds to that perception. Social scientists have adopted the Kuhnian phrase “paradigm shift” to denote a change in how a given society goes about organizing and understanding reality. A “dominant paradigm” refers to the values, or system of thought, in a society that are most standard and widely held at a given time. Dominant paradigms are shaped both by the community’s cultural background and by the context of the historical moment. The following are conditions that facilitate a system of thought to become an accepted dominant paradigm:
- Professional organizations that give legitimacy to the paradigm
- Dynamic leaders who introduce and purport the paradigm
- Journals and editors who write about the system of thought. They both disseminate the information essential to the paradigm and give the paradigm legitimacy
- Government agencies who give credence to the paradigm
- Educators who propagate the paradigm’s ideas by teaching it to students
- Conferences conducted that are devoted to discussing ideas central to the paradigm
- Media coverage
- Lay groups, or groups based around the concerns of lay persons, that embrace the beliefs central to the paradigm
- Sources of funding to further research on the paradigm
I was reading my cousin Jeremy’s blog and he had some beautiful words to share about the concept of freedom. https://thesandcounty.wordpress.com/
It got me thinking about how we often trap ourselves and restrict our own freedom because we are used to things being that way. Our society teaches us to be independent, driven, and to value the accumulation of money. We celebrate ruthlessness and even inhumane qualities in our quest for “success”.
We are not free to be ourselves if we accept the paradigm blindly. When discussing world views and philosophies, most people have a point where they default to “that’s just the way it is”, and “you have to be realistic”. I would argue that “the way it is” is a problem. Realistically, there is enough on this planet to take care of every entity inhabiting it, if we are thoughtful and united in our efforts. The hoarding of resources and wealth by the few is an accepted construct that must be shattered.
Taking time to meditate, reflect, practice yoga, or simply be in nature will allow you to become more attuned to the truth. I think about how fortunate I am to have time for myself. To have leisure time and to develop intellectual and spiritual pursuits is not a reality for many people on this planet. I see our technological progress as a means for our development as a species. We are able to feel the connection existing between all beings on this planet. There are people Cyprus, Croatia, Hungary, Canada, Brazil and Lithuania that are reading my words here. It is beautiful to know that arbitrary boundaries are not stopping the flow of communication.