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Paradigms A set of assumptions we use to look at the real world. It is a filter that determines what “facts” we retain. It is a world view, a mindset. The word paradigm was coined by Thomas Kuhn, author of “Steps to an Ecology of the Mind”. Why Paradigms are So Important.

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slide1

Paradigms

  • A set of assumptions we use to look at the real world.
  • It is a filter that determines what “facts” we retain.
  • It is a world view, a mindset.
  • The word paradigm was coined by Thomas Kuhn, author of “Steps to an Ecology of the Mind”
why paradigms are so important
Why Paradigms are So Important
  • Systems Thinking is itself a paradigm
  • Paradigms are the most important leverage point in changing system behavior, according to Meadows
  • Paradigms change the questions we ask
notes on paradigms
Notes on Paradigms
  • Sometimes our paradigms become the only valid paradigms. If we reject other paradigms, we close ourselves off to new ways of thinking. “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”—Donella Meadows
  • Those who create new paradigms are often outsiders. 50% of those who patent who new inventions are from people outside their field of the patent. They are not invested in the old paradigms, so they have nothing to lose by adopting a new one.
  • Those who switch paradigms often have little support. They won’t have the “facts” to support their switch because their “facts” were obtained from the old paradigm. It takes courage, faith, and trust to switch paradigms.
paradigms prevailing cultural attitudes can change drastically over time
Paradigms (prevailing cultural attitudes) can change drastically over time

Some prevailing paradigms of 50 years ago

  • Cable TV won’t catch on
  • Cheap gas is forever
  • 4 children make an ideal family
  • Japanese products are junk
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Notes on Paradigms

  • Sometimes our paradigms become the only valid paradigms. If we reject other paradigms, we close ourselves off to new ways of thinking. “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”—Donella Meadows
  • Those who create new paradigms are often outsiders. 50% of those who patent who new inventions are from people outside their field of the patent. They are not invested in the old paradigms, so they have nothing to lose by adopting a new one.
  • Those who switch paradigms often have little support. They won’t have the “facts” to support their switch because their “facts” were obtained from the old paradigm. It takes courage, faith, and trust to switch paradigms.
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Summation of “The Paradigm Rivalry”

(From what you submitted)

Religion

Western paradigm--God is the cause and is external to the system. The path to salvation is enlightenment. Suffering now leads to enlightenment in the end. The result is most important.

Eastern paradigm / internal paradigm.--you are the cause and the effect and change comes from within yourself. Eastern thoughts are to be happy now (journey is more important than the destination)

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Cinema

  • Outward orientation
  • Is manifested in the creation of the larger than life movie star
    • Heroes of the story
    • Marylyn Monroe, John Wayne
  • Hyperbolizes normal human characteristics
  • Focuses on the characters relationship with the outside environment
  • These types of characters don’t usually have a lot of interpersonal development
  • Inward orientation
  • Anti-hero
    • James dean
  • Seldom win anything, lives usually end in tragedy
  • Character appears as life sized in appearance and action, not out of the ordinary
  • Character development comes from within rather than focusing on outside sources
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Literature, Art, and Philosophy

Shakespeare’s plays presented man as a victim of the world. His character’s fates were determined by forces out of their control. This is an example of an outward paradigm. Modern plays exhibit a more inward paradigm, portraying the relativistic and paradoxical nature of reality, exemplified by Pirandello’s black veiled Madonna who “reveals herself in different forms to different people.” The Madonna has no set identity. It is in flux with the other characters.

Western Art has a strong tradition of realism. In this style, the painter stands apart from the object, attempting to capture it exactly how it’s perceived. Behind this style lies an absolutist assumption that reality can be wholly and completely represented by a human observer. Time is frozen and the picture is a snapshot of an instant rather than a full representation of reality. Zen art attempts to abolish the observer altogether. In zen art, observed and observer “are so at one that he no longer has a meaning of his own; he is submerged in it.” Marcel Duchamp created an exhibit where the observer is surrounded by glass structures, implanting the observer within the piece, in an attempt to eliminate any barrier.

Early Western philosophy, (Liebniz, Descartes, and Berkeley) points to God, an external force, as the source of moral truth. Nietsche and other nihilistic philosophers challenged this and made man the source, thus creating an individual morality. The existentialists saw man, the source of morality, as a dynamic, ever changing entity. Morality is dictated by assuming responsibility for a lifetime of choices and exists in flux with life itself.

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Physical Science

  • Western- of the Nature of things. Development of scientific viewpoints moved away from Eastern philosophy.
  • Newton’s universe was part of the outward paradigm
  • Long lasting ideas in physical sciences on space and time
  • Space and time are non-variable quantities, they have predictable actions
  • Eastern--Einstein thinks that space and time are connected
  • In fact he thought that all natural forces respond to a generic set of natural laws
  • Einstein was able to create his ideas because he thought in a different paradigm from Newton, and therefore was able to generate theories that would be inconceivable in a Newtonian era