Failure of Paradigm

We all have some kind of world view, this enables us to make at least partial sense of the world around us. That world view has some rules, some “guidelines”, as to how the world and its people interact. Nevertheless, that world view has to it many assumptions and suppositions. People in particular are expected to behave largely within the parameters of our expectations. We may on occasion encounter circumstances and occurrences which we cannot “explain” from within that world view and so we stretch our world view to try to encompass these new things. Our paradigm expands just a little. But what happens when our paradigm needs to go too far? Is there a limit beyond which a paradigm snaps and ceases to be tenable? Do we then create a whole new paradigm or do away with any notion of paradigm whatsoever?

Typically, when our paradigm no longer suffices it blows our mind, we may not be able to even countenance anything which explodes our paradigm. The mind shuts down and refuses. We may not have sufficient elasticity, sufficient flexibility of thought for our mind to go that far. We may deny any paradigm challenging event. Our world view is sacrosanct and must not be threatened. So, we try to shoe-horn stuff into that world view. After a while even the biggest shoe-horn can no longer force our observations into the paradigm shoe, there is no more room. Bang! The mind explodes, and the walls are covered with tiny bits of brains and blood.

It is difficult to accept that our paradigm, so beloved by us, is incomplete. This is of course the paradigm of having a paradigm in the first place.

Our levels of consciousness demarcate what we can assimilate and make sense of, the scope of our knowledge only goes so far, even for the smartest amongst us. Nobody can know everything, though some act as though they do. The key to avoiding scraping bits of hair and blood off the walls is to acknowledge that our world-view is at best a work in progress. If we imagine that it encompasses all it might fail the elastic test and explode. This acknowledgement adds an elasticity to our “paradigm”, if indeed we must have one.

People can challenge our sense of order especially if they do not behave according to our world-rules, our expectations of context and in context. There is some kind of life-event-progression we predetermine, a sort of expectation trajectory, we assume. If we train as a doctor, we might expect work for life. It makes sense, people get sick, there will always be a need for doctors. When a police officer murders his wife, that doesn’t gel so well. When a chemical physicist talks about hippy-shit and dreams, that is a bit odd. I have joked before that if I had worn robes instead of Levi’s it would not have caused me, and perhaps others, such a problem. It would have been easier for people to get their head around me.

When things don’t fit our paradigm is challenged, it takes a long, long, time before we are ready to give up that paradigm. We try to shoe-horn things into it even if that means scraping our grey matter off the walls.

Having cued this up:

Has my world paradigm ever failed in a messy way?

Has anything metaphorically blown my mind?