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"The Universe is not only queerer than we suppose;
Some people are quite sure that facts and/or evidence are the most important things in dealing with issues. They echo the words of Jack Webb, the indefatigable detective in the old Dragnet radio and TV series, "The facts, ma'am, just the facts." But facts and/or evidence don't tell us anything meaningful until they are interpreted in a context and paradigm. This is ALWAYS true. USA president Bill Clinton is famous for his saying, "It's the economy, stupid!" This was his reminder to himself before campaign speaking. So, before we get too excited about intellectual and/or spiritual ideas, we should say to ourselves, "It's the paradigm, stupid!"
A few words about paradigms
A paradigm is most like a container. It is a structure that holds, handles and organizes evidence, information and issues in a related, consistent way so that the whole—greater than the sum of the parts—can be seen, and so that new information can be positioned in its proper relationship. Paradigms are not just important; they are crucial. Paradigms are NOT optional; everyone has them and uses them whether they realize this or not. A good paradigm is one that is able to "contain" and organize effectively ALL the evidence, information and issues, so that as more is learned, the picture that emerges makes more and more sense. A bad paradigm is one that cannot effectively "make sense" out of some or much of the information.
Being somewhat simplistic, a paradigm is analogous to a milk jug used for holding milk. A one gallon jug will not hold 5 gallons of milk, and if you try to pour all of 5 gallons into it, 4 gallons will just run over the side and be lost. If you want to receive 5 gallons of truth and understanding, you better have 5 gallons of capacity in your paradigm when you place it under the spigot.
A paradigm is also analogous to a jigsaw puzzle, within the borders of which ALL the pieces must fit. How do we know that a jigsaw puzzle has been put together properly? Because all the pieces fit together and the picture becomes graphically visible.
Maybe the most apt paradigm analogy is a house. Most of us live in a house that has specialized rooms for different aspects of living, including storage. Imagine having all your possessions in a pile in the sole room—you could not even see things that were covered up by the top layer. A good house is one that covers the full range of domestic activities and allows us to easily find and access what we need and that supports every aspect of domestic living. So it is with a good paradigm; it covers the aspects of the edified life and allows us to see and readily handle truths that are impossible to see or handle otherwise.
One major difference is that even though we live in our physical house, we can leave it to go do non-domestic activities. Not so with paradigms! We live constantly within our paradigm and can never leave it. We can only change it. So, we should always be more in the mode of challenging our paradigm whenever needed rather than being defensive about it. If our paradigm has withstood the deepest challenges that our due diligence can bring to it, then we will NOT be insecure or defensive about it, nor probably have a need to be arrogant and offensive.
Given the above, paradigms become sacrosanct, even though they may be wrong or inadequate; even though they may have major flaws and leave their inhabitants living uncomfortably, or in a state of major denial or hypocrisy. Your paradigm is what you have organized everything with or into that you know and believe. Having your paradigm destroyed is tantamount to having your house burn down. You now have to salvage what you can, examine everything to see if it is serviceable, and throw everything else out into the garbage container. Piles of things are set aside in storage, maybe to be forgotten and never examined again. Temporarily, you have to live uncomfortably, like in an extended but unwanted refugee camp without the normal amenities. It is a devastating loss, and most people do not recover the same degree of peace that they once had.
Changing your paradigm yourself only happens under pressure from its inadequacies, and is usually more than a remodel. It is comparable to tearing down a major part or all of you house, and living exposed somewhat to the elements until you have the exterior in place and sealed up. It is usually a tiresome process, and many are so exhausted that they live safe from the elements but in a crude, unattractive interior, one in which they generally don't do a lot of entertaining.
Some seekers come to understand that they were born into or lured into their current dwelling place, and simply look around for something more suitable, and when finding move out and into the different abode. Some brave souls get so disgusted, frustrated or hurt that they destroy their own paradigm, and set about rebuilding, usually with whatever from the previous structure they can salvage or incorporate. As uncomfortable as they might be, they are heartened by the vision of a new and better house, a dream house to look forward in which to live.*
The new paradigm bringer, the voice of sanity, the great teacher gave two parables and a caution that pertain:
Paradigms, Reality, and Sanity
Paradigms help us understand reality, whether that reality be scientific or theological. What is not rational nor reasonable is to have a paradigm that does not deliver anything meaningful nor hang onto a paradigm when it fails in too many significant ways, i.e., when it presents us with too many enigmas or anomalies. Neither is it rational nor reasonable, in the face of a failing paradigm, to reject a new paradigm a priori without seeing if it:
Entertaining a new paradigm is usally not only thinking outside the box but thinking outside the warehouse!
Inferior, Rebellious, Fatally Flawed, or Insane?
What is wrong with human beings on the earth, and how do we get fixed? This is one of the most important and vexing issues! If we are inferior, intrinsically rebellious, or fatally flawed in our nature, there is not a lot we can do. If god is the one that fixes us, then what is he waiting for? Many people ask god to fix them without bothering either to listen or to find out what is really wrong, and they go on pretty much the same as before. They finish out their petty, little, unremarkable lives and "just die in their sins".
However, if we are insane—have an insane belief system—and the deity has revealed the revelation that we need to make us sane, then we should be paying attention to and understanding what has been revealed and move toward success. That would be the sane response that is evidently being waited for. We should not feign this success until we have been led ("That one will lead you into all the truth") into and learned all the truth ("That one will teach you all things"). And how do we know we are there? There will be no room for doubt when we arrive or achieve understanding .
Societies, relationships, and social interaction—virtually every facet of our lives—are all built on some level of trust. When trust breaks down, there WILL BE problems and trouble.
Although it may be difficult, imagine a perfect society with a perfect level of trust. No one has ever dissembled, no trust has ever been betrayed, no rupture in the perfect fabric of good will has ever appeared. There is no evil, no suffering, no lack, and no death; instead there is everything the human soul could desire including equality through supremacy. There is only greater and greater levels of fulfillment and morale. The creator has created a perfect cosmos or organized system to work under the aegis of trust.
Paradigm Premises, Facets and Issues
The psyche or soul of the original creator is, was, and
ever will be totally and only human.
* This latter experience is my own, and now—even though I am living in a world that is alien to the norm—I couldn't be happier with my new spiritual dwelling place.