We live in a paradigm . . . . not the same one for everyone, and not even the same one all of the time for an individual. For instance, the bus driver (I’m writing this while riding the bus.) is “at work”. If he were driving his own personal bus for personal, recreational purposes, he might very well relate to the vehicle differently. Take the two phrases “drive it like you stole it” and “Sunday’s best”. When the driver is “at work”, he might be said to have a “Sunday’s best” attitude towards the bus he is driving. If he were out on the track or off-roading in his bus, he might have more of a “drive it like you stole it” approach. In one mindstate, the “Sunday’s best” paradigm, it is a point to conserve the object in use. After all, you don’t want to ruin your beautiful and expensive church clothes. Society’s respect for human life is an extreme example of this. Successful or not, an attempt is made to treat each human life as the best of its kind and heroic measures are often taken in the attempt to preserve it. That contrasts with the “drive it like you stole it” paradigm, where you care little for the final state of the object. The point is to place the emphasis on the intermediate use of the object. That is what it is worth. It has no intrinsic value.
Drive-it-like-you-stole-it, Sunday’s-best, at-work, and on-my-own-personal-time are just a few examples of paradigms. But, there would seem to be all kinds: as-the-crow-flies, bird’s-eye-view, coming-and-going, staying-and-leaving. Some relate us to the physical world, as in “top” (vertical), “bottom” (vertical), “heavy” (weight), and “dense” (weight per volume). Some relate us to other people “superior” (heirarchy), “funny” (character), “caucasian” (race), “pretty” (mating or aesthetic). Some relate us to ideas, as in “confused”, “an expert in”, and “a student of”.
Paradigms relate us, not just to one single object, action, or relation, but in a more complex way to a set of other objects, actions, relations.
If we delve a little deeper into the paradigms paradigm, we might start to see patterns in the connections people make to the world around them, both the physical world and immaterial environments like “America” and “my family” and “lesbians”, etc. They say that those who don’t learn history are doomed to repeat it. Another way of saying this might be to say that those who fail to understand why and how paradigms are created cannot avoid being induced to create them again, can’t help recreating them. Well, wouldn’t you want to know how to avoid a paradigm like “the dark ages” or “the holocaust”? Wouldn’t you want to know how to recreate the “Christmas spirit” paradigm or the “head over heels in love” paradigm?
Take a look at the image below of two people with different paradigms:
Try sticking different objects/actions/relations in the red box, like “dog” or “theft” or “classical music” or “thermonuclear annihilation”. Can you see potential conflicts? Can you see potential resolutions?
It is important to keep in mind that the 9 black boxes surrounding each person in the diagram are just suggestions to help outline each paradigm. Their sizes relative to eachother hint at the possible weight that each of the ideas carries in the overall interaction. The 10th, blue box is meant to symbolize the potential for other unexplored parts of each person’s paradigm to affect the potential harmony or conflict that the red box symbolizes and its size is not suggestive. For example, if both people have “peace” in their blue box and both value that “peace” above all the other, smaller ideas, then something like “theft” or “thermonuclear annihilation” would probably induce them to be in harmony. They would both have a negative reaction to those ideas. But, if one person’s “peace” was smaller than his “wealth”, then “theft” might not induce him to the same response and aversion to theft as the other person. “Wealth” would out-shine “peace”. That would lead to conflict with someone for whom “peace” out-shined “wealth”.
So, now that you know about paradigms, see if you can identify some or even create one of your own!