We’re often troubled when we feel inner turmoil. But in the times ahead, we may grow increasingly uncomfortable with existing arrangements or the ways we see things.
Often matters come to a head and significant rearrangement needs to take place in our lives. And we don’t know how the process came about or what will be its outcome.
That same process is basic to the scientific endeavour and is the way one paradigm arises and succeeds another.
I wanted to spend a moment looking at it, because I’ve just had a paradigmatic breakthrough myself. I’ll discuss the breakthrough, which is quite amazing, in the course of the next few articles.
Given that we’re headed for a time that will probably show us the fall of one way of seeing after another, and given my own experience of it in the moment, I think the exploration of the topic is very useful.
We usually don’t think of the paradigms through which we see things as being paradigms. They’re simply normal for us.
But when they begin to be contested by anomalies, paradoxes, facts that just won’t fit in, and when those threads that stick out grow in number or become ever bigger problems, we grow increasingly uncomfortable.
The more uncomfortable we grow and the more difficulty we have rationalizing things in the face of growing anomaly, the more difficult we may be to be around.
When the difficulty reaches the point where we can no longer stand the situation as it exists in the moment, a time arrives when we cast down whatever way of seeing the situation gave rise to the anomaly.
We may then accept the way of seeing things that has been forcing itself upon our attention. We may have a wholly new insight and see in a flash how things work that takes care of the anomalies. Archimedes’ “Eureka” moment has become synonymous with this type of paradigmatic breakthrough.
This is one process by which a new paradigm is born.
It’s the more familiar process. I had a paradigmatic breakthrough just recently that wasn’t born this way. I had a vasana attack (1) that threw into stark relief a paradigm that I had.
I stumbled into a new paradigmatic domain as a result of the attack and by a process of dawning awareness became aware of what I had stumbled into. But more of that later.
Let me continue with the more common process of paradigm birth.
Whatever the new paradigm is resolves the anomalies and paradoxes that presented themselves to us before and allows us now to avoid those same anomalies in the future.
What that means for us is that the rise of increasing anomaly, leading to paradigmatic breakthrough, is not necessarily a bad thing. If we try to hold onto our paradigms in the face of increasing anomaly, then it may become a bad thing.
But if we accept that increasing cognitive dissonance or anomaly may lead to a breakthrough in our seeing and understanding, then it may make the process more tolerable for us. If those around us can see it that way too, it may perhaps become tolerable for them as well.
Anomaly is present when we say things no longer fit for us or that our existing way of seeing things no longer brings us the resolution of events we wanted or the comfort with the way things appear to us.
If the anomaly doesn’t disappear over time, but increases, that’s a sure sign that an existing way of viewing matters is reaching the end of the road.
(To be continued in Part 2.)
(1) A vasana is an automatic reaction pattern triggered by memories of earlier traumatic incidents.