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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.
Some prevailing paradigms of 50 years ago
(From what you submitted)
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)
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.