The Blog of Dabido (the Baka one). Everything in this blog is copyrighted. Copyright 2004, 2005, 2006 by D. Stevenson.

04 May, 2006

Paradigm Shifts

I was meaning to write on this about four days ago ... and let's face it, about four days ago I had about twenty things I wanted to write about ... and this was I think the most compelling, though I still haven't decided exactly what I want to write about it. It's still slightly hazey in my mind. So hold on, it might be another half baked post of a roller coaster ride. ;-) First of all let's have a look at what a Paradigm Shift is. First of all, it involves a Paradigm. Basically, a Paradigm is the scientific beliefs of any specific time. For instance, at one stage the world held the view that the Earth was flat. That was a paradigm. A Paradigm Shift is when the people adopt a new scientific belief based on new evidence whcih disproves the old paradigm. In some cases, some people will not accept the new paradigm, and eventually they will die off. Others will believe the new paradigm, and as the two differing paradigms compete against each other, eventually the more logical one will win out, not necessarily because everyone eventually sees the light and accepts it, but more often because the believers of the older paradigm will die, and the number of old advocates will decrease. Of course, some people never give up the od beliefs. After all, we still have some people alive today who still think the Earth is a large flat object. For some reason their brains cannot comprehend that the Earth could in fact be spherical. For the rest of us, we take it almost on blind faith that the Earth is a sphere of sorts. Humans are pretty luckily like that in a way. In some instances we can accept a lot through blind faith ... let's face it, isn't that what school was all about. Sure, once we hit High School we start to confirm our beliefs with some scientific experiments in Science class. Really though, almost all that we've been taught has come about through blind faith in our elders. Of course, the other side of the sword is, it also allows us to become easily convinced of other things which don't hold true. [Which is why a lot of confidence tricksters will use this to part us with our money ... and why Governments seem to think they can lie all the time]. But, I digress. Paradigm Shifts are actually huge things. We're talking about the entire planet almost accepting a new concept (though not always all). They are also scientific. I know I've used the term quite a bit (and I don't plan to stop using it),when refering to peoples changes in mindset. Technically, it's actually an incorect use of the word, but I wasn't the first to use it in this context, and peopel do understand what I am talking about. If someone was to be a pedant to me, they'd probably pick me up on the fact ... yeah I know, I am using the term incorrectly, but sometimes we speak and write in order to be understood. Within the current system though, the term is actually being used in wider terms outside of the 'science belief system' it was originally intended for. After all, what is the differnece in a change in Science belief, to a change in Religious or Social beliefs? So, if the term does come to mean any change in groupthink / mindset etc, like the trend seems to be, is this not going to be a Paradigm Shift in and of itself? I think so. [Though technically, it isn't yet, as the term still has major support for only scientific beliefs]. But, if the term does change (which I hope it will), then I will have been using the term correctly all along ... just not at the time that I used it. ;-) [Yeah,get your brain around that slice of thought candy!] :-) Anyway, the larger use of the term is what I find exciting. It means we can have a Paradigm shift in lots of different contexts. Like I've said, it's already being used in these ways, so its not like people don't understand the meaning. I think the brain has to make the same 'quantum leap' in order to go from any belief system, whether it is science or anything else, to any new system of belief. So the Paradigm Shift should really be the same for a scientific change of mindset or for any other change of mindset. The real question I have, though, is does the term have value in ONLY being used to meana shift inscientific thought. In my rush to push my own belief that it should be used for any change of mindset, is there a reason I have not foreseen where the term has value as it is, and a new term should be used to represent any other form of mindset shift in the overall population? I think it is inevitable that the term will change to be used in the context I and many others use it. After all, it is a wonderful term, and everyone normally understands what you mean within the context that you say it. If I refer to someones conversion from one religion to another as a paradigm shift, I normally won't have to explain what I mean, as it's understood. In some ways, it might become like a lot of words in English, whcih have more than one related meaning. The word, 'Philosophy' is the first one to spring to mind. The original idea behind philosophy was to use logic to think ones way through a problem. Later, it came to have broader meanings. Like, a persons own personal belief system became to be refered to as their 'philosophy of life', though often little true philosophy is actually involved. After all, Paradigm Shift, getused in marketing and advertising circles as a catchcry to mean, 'changing the customers perspective on a product'. This is of course really massaging the original meaning of the term, but when we see how the term moved since it's creation in the sixties, we can see how they came to use/abuse the term. In a way, they are trying to manipulate the customers mindset to see the product in the light that the company wants people to view their product. This further reduces the original meaning, as a Paradigm Shift was originally a move to the better scientific idea, NOT a move to a worse idea. [So, going from believing in a spherical Earth to believing in a flatone would not be a paradigm shift in the original meaning of the term UNLESS there was strong evidence that the Earth was indeed flat, and we'd all been conned into believing it was a sphere ... in whcih case, the move from flatearth to sphere earth belief would not be a paradigm shift!!] In marketing manipulation terms though, if they convince you to buy product A at twice the price and half the value of product B, then you've effectively gone backwards in belief ... the term Paradigm Shift has weakened a LOT from it's original meaning. Where can we draw the line though as to the use of the term? Well, usually we don't and can't. Society often misuses words to their own effect. It's one of the strengths and weaknesses of language. Languages are dynamic, and move wit the currect of time. [No, not paradigm shifts of language ... as it's the meaning to the words which are moving, NOT the belief system of them!] I am hoping that eventually the term can mean any shift in belief in an upward fashion, regardless of if it is scientific or social, religious or anything else. I am also hoping that it doesn't become too broad, to mean any shift of perspective as used by marketing and advertising people. After all, a change in perspective is NOT a Paradigm shift ... but, these are just my own views. I'm sure there are many scientific people who don't want the term to change in the slightest, and many marketing/advertising professionals who want to kidnap it and make it there own. Hmmmm, hope I didn't babble too much! ;-) Told you it was halfbaked! ;-)