Sunday, August 19, 2012

How do I relate to my worldview?

     “A paradigm, most simply, is both a model of and a template for reality. Complementary terms include ‘belief system’ and ‘worldview.’ Just as a fish cannot breathe outside of the water it swims in, so an individual operating within a paradigm is subject to the illusion that the paradigm represents the whole of reality. But no paradigm does. All models of reality, no matter how complex, are bound to leave out some aspects of the ‘reality’ they are attempting to model. Many paradigms come to constitute relatively closed conceptual systems that discount or exclude incompatible information, regardless of its potential validity within another paradigm. In the Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1970), philosopher Thomas Kuhn demonstrated that, far from being an accurate model of reality, the most a paradigm can be is a set of beliefs about the nature of an ultimately unknowable universe.

     The limitations of paradigms are counterbalanced by their advantages: paradigms provide clear conceptual models that facilitate one’s movement in the world. In acting not only as models of – but also as templates for – reality, paradigms enable us to behave in organized ways, to take action that make sense under a given set of principles. ‘To paradigm,’ if you will, is to create the world through the story we tell about it. We then can live as cultural beings in the organized and coherent paradigmatic world we have created. We cannot live without paradigms. But we can learn to be conscious and aware of how they influence our thoughts and shape our experience, to understand that they open some possibilities while closing others. That awareness can bring a rare kind of freedom – the freedom to ‘think beyond.’
     Davis-Floyd R, St. John G. “From doctor to healer. The transformative journey.” Rutgers University Press, London, 1998.
     You first have to realize that you're in a box, before you can think outside the box. 

Photo: Laura Diliberto

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