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 its outcome will be.
That same process is basic to the scientific endeavour and is the way one scientific 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 things after another and given my own experience of it in the moment, I think the exploration of the topic may be 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, we cast down our paradigm.
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 (“I have found it”) has become synonymous with this type of paradigmatic breakthrough.
Whatever the new paradigm is, it resolves the anomalies and paradoxes that presented themselves to us before and allows us now to avoid those same anomalies in the future. (1)
What that means for us is that the rise of increasing anomaly or dissonance, leading to paradigmatic breakthrough, is not necessarily a bad thing. If we try to hold on to 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 can 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 see that 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 comfort with the way things are.
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) Paradigmatic breakthrough is the exception to Einstein’s comment that we cannot solve a problem thinking from the dame level on which it was created.
But the exception proves the rule because in the moment of paradigmatic breakthrough, I maintain that, for a brief time, the individual is operating on a higher level than ordinarily.