"paradigm" was originally one of those obscure academic terms that has
undergone many changes of meaning over the centuries. The classical Greeks
used it to refer to an original archetype or ideal. Later it came to refer
to a grammatical term. In the early 1960s Thomas Kuhn (1922-1996) wrote
a ground breaking book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, in
which he showed that science does not progress in an orderly fashion
from lesser to greater truth, but rather remains fixated on a particular
dogma or explanation - a paradigm - which is only overthrown with
great difficulty and a new paradigm established. Thus the Copernican system
(the sun at the center of the universe) overthrew the Ptolemaic (the
earth at the center) one, and Newtonian physics was replaced by Relativity
and Quantum Physics. Science thus consists of periods of
("Normal" Science) punctuated by periods of "Revolutionary"
When anomalies or inconsistencies arise within a given paradigm and present
problems that we are unable to solve within a given paradigm, our
view of reality must change, as must the way we perceive, think, and value
the world. We must take on new assumptions and expectations that
will transform our theories, traditions, rules, and standards of practice.
We must create a new paradigm in which we are able to solve the
problems of the old paradigm.
occurs when a paradigm and its most ardent supporters are addicted to
the paradigm to the point where they lose the realization that they are
even in a paradigm at all? Ardent paradigm supporters have equated
paradigm survival with their own personal survival, and will manipulate
and control a society in order to prevent or suppress public knowledge
of anomalies, equating perception of anomalies to "personal
abnormality" in order to intimidate populations to remain within the
status quo control paradigm. Addiction to a paradigm results in either
paradigm death or death of those who maintain the paradigm.
about where the culture is going, and what we can all do to change its
course. As we see it, our main power lies with philosophy and the force
of paradigm shifts. Shifting our mindset doesn’t cost money, it’s democratic
(we can all do it), it goes to the crux of problems, it’s nonviolent, it’s
effective, it’s not stoppable from without, and it’s our greatest power,
though largely untapped.
We see a pervasive
mindset of control and domination permeating our as well as we
need it to? Is our consensus philosophy shaping our institutions to
serve us, or are we becoming servants to systems that warp our minds, consume
our energies, and turn us into people we never wanted to be? When more
and more of us find ourselves asking such core questions, it’s time to start
rethinking things from the ground up. It’s time to reclaim our powers, cultural institutions,
a mindset driven by the fear of anarchy.
or power over us—doesn’t control us, society will fall into chaos,
or so we’re to believe.
But who controls
the controllers? What kind of order do those in position of power have
in mind? Is power-over an order that
works—i.e., that creates social
harmony and makes us happy? Or does it create wars, blind obedience, inner
deadness, Littleton, Colorado nightmares, injustices, epidemic substance
and process addictions, economic exploitation, cynicism, chronic
stress, and unhappiness?
It doesn’t make
sense, for example, that we control children morning to night with rewards
and punishments and then wonder why they grow up selfish
“What’s in it for me?” or “Just don’t get caught!”
That’s how child-rearing
and schooling methods trained all of us to think.
And if people
grow up obsessed with gaining power over others—the chance to be in the one-up
position and to control
who’s rewarded and who’s punished—where’s
the surprise? This is the logical extension of our cultural paradigm.
In other words,
is our culture built on a paradigm that’s working for us
Caught in deadly
processes. Recovery: it’s not just for “addicts” anymore.
It’s not even
just for persons, not when addictive processes permeate every social
we’ve got, from schools to churches to workplaces to governments.
Through Addiction-Based Dynamics
We’re up to our
ears in addict-making processes, and we can’t take two caffeine—are just
the surface, the outward and visible ways addictive processes come
get us. And they do get us. Drugs (legal and illegal), alcohol, and tobacco
constitute the world’s biggest economic empire. Only the weapons
rivals it. It seems we can’t afford not to be substance-dependent;
our economies certainly are steps out of bed
without running into them.
Substance addictions—alcohol, drugs, nicotine, food,
Next in the line
of killers are process addictions, 'the ones society applauds': addiction
to working, winning, high-stress, fast-track jobs, perfectionism,
relationships, making money, spending and debting, gaining power, getting
fame or notoriety, living out family dramas, or—brace yourself—shopping.
Sex can be another process addiction, but it’s not one society looks
kindly on, however much advertising promotes insatiable and manipulative sex
as the solution to life’s challenges. Gambling is another old addiction,
coming back now with a vengeance with all the state lotteries,
among young people.
Even the most
lauded activities—religion, science, academic inquiry, and government service—may
take on classic
addictive patterns. Religion turns into obsession.
Science turns into dogma, as if collecting enough facts will make up for
a narrow worldview. Academic inquiry becomes an in-your-head
esoterica with rabid acrimony, fiddling while Rome burns.
As for government service, it’s power addiction from the bureaucrats who
throw around their paper-pushing weight to the big-timers who become brokers
for corporate conglomerates. Process
are every bit as deadly, because they underlie substance addictions—as
well as just about every social and global ill we’ve got. They’re
the invisible killers, the ones we don’t suspect, but the ones that
made millionaire Ivan Boesky raid savings and loans to become a
leaving in his wake thousands who saw their life-savings disappear.
As Boesky was later to admit, “It’s a sickness I have in the face
of which I am helpless.” Nor was Boesky alone in his sickness. Since
the ’80s, we’ve witnessed an army of greed-addicted corporate raiders,
who made the jobs and pension funds of millions vanish overnight.
aren’t limited to movers and shakers, though. Ordinary folks following
the right diet and taking the right exercise are dropping dead at age
from workaholism, relationship addiction, anxiety, and stress. If
all these substance and process addictions don’t afflict us, they
affect us. While addictions to drugs, food, alcohol, sex, or work hit
us one by one, addictions to money, control,
status, and official-think oppress us together. We can’t have power-addicts
running the world and not experience the consequences.
Even when we try
to claim it’s business or government as usual, we find ourselves suffering
from global plagues made invisible by their familiarity.
But a familiar
plague is no less deadly. As Anne Wilson Schaef points out, a deadly virus
is a deadly virus, even if the entire population has it.
holds that addiction is a “progressive, fatal disease.” Schaef
believes—and we agree—that this is true, no matter what form the addiction
takes. Our lungs may give out from tar and nicotine, or our hearts may
give out from stress. We may die from the greed that destroys the
or from a nuclear chain reaction set off by someone’s power
play. Addiction—substance or process, acted out privately or on the world
stage—is a fatal illness that we ignore at our peril. Not that this is news.
We can’t read the papers or watch TV without wondering:
What on earth
is going on? We have the knowledge and technology. We have
Neither substance nor process addictions are limited to one
race, sex, economic class, region, or occupation.
Rich and poor, conservative
and liberal, male and female, Hispanic, European, African, Asian,
and Native Americans share the same disease.
so deadly cuts across society, we have to look at what we it seems like
an understatement. Award-winning teacher John Taylor Gatto, for instance,
pulls no punches about the messages schools send through their structure:
“I began to realize that the bells and the confinement, the crazy
the age-segregation, the lack of privacy, the constant surveillance,
and all the rest of the national curriculum of schooling were
designed exactly as if someone had set out to prevent children from
learning how to think and act, to coax them into addiction and dependent
In her 1987 ground-breaking book, When Society Becomes an Addict,
Schaef suggests family dynamics, school rules, workplace policies
and practices, corporate hierarchies, government workings, media
messages, as well as cultural and religious
all operate in ways that set us up to behave addictively. In
fact, society itself, Schaef writes, “is an addictive system.”
the Drug, counselor and writer Donna Boundy sketches a similarly addict-making
picture for corporations. The level of thinking-distortion
that takes over people in these systems is astonishing.
What’s going on?
Why are systems betraying their service to us? Instead of performing their
rightful functions of educating (schools), nurturing (families),
public good (governments), managing the shared household (businesses),
and inspiring us to find and fulfill our life’s purpose (religious
institutions), they’re abusing us and turning us into people we never
wanted to be. Why?
Back in 1962—so long ago John Kennedy was still alive—historian
and philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn gave an analysis of how systems change
(or don’t) in his book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, that
rocked the intellectual world. He wasn’t talking about addictive systems
but about the system of scientific research, which has its own brand
of obsessive-compulsive behavior.
term “paradigm,” Kuhn said that scientists operate from mental models—paradigms—that
shape everything they think, feel, and do.
perceive and interpret experience is shaped by their internal structure
of beliefs and concepts—their paradigm. If something is wrong, the
is the place to look to find out why.
To raise paradigm
issues is to reflect on the ideas or concepts we’re using as our map
of reality—our world view, life perspective, philosophy, or mental model.
Whatever we call it, it’s powerful stuff. To look at our paradigm is to
look at the blueprint we’re using to build our worlds. How do paradigms
start? They usually begin with some exemplary model—“Newtonian
science” or “Einsteinian relativity”—that weaves together theories, standards,
and methods in a way that makes better sense than anything else.
To share a paradigm is to share a commitment to rules that define how a scientist
acts and reacts. No part of scientific activity is outside the reach
of the paradigm’s influence. It’s as if scientists’ energies get poured
through the paradigm’s mold, and whatever comes out is stamped by that
In the decades
since, Kuhn’s paradigm-concept has been applied to every discipline, from
the arts to business. And rightly so. We experience our lives the way
we do because of the paradigms we carry around. In computer terms, paradigms
function like the central operating system of consciousness—the
supra-program that transforms undefined perceptions into something we call
our experience. They give us the mental tools to make sense of life
and survive in it. We may not be able to summarize our paradigm in ten
words or less, but our every thought is paradigm connected, even
Given the power
of paradigms, two kinds of development follow. The first occurs within
the paradigm’s framework. The second chucks the paradigm and forges a new one.
as Kuhn calls it, is the first kind of development. Practitioners
operate within their mental model and pursue its implications to
the nth degree. Working inside the prevailing paradigm is the secure, accepted,
and well-rewarded way to do science.
In fact, the
gets so comfortable that scientists forget that it’s there; it becomes
functionally invisible. They way they see things is just the way things
are. For them, there is no paradigm between their ideas and reality. Applied
to life, the normal-science phase is business as usual, families as usual,
politics, churches, schools, and professions as usual. When we’re ticking
away within a paradigm’s framework, the norm is well defined, and we
conform. Coping skills mean finding ways to fit into the norm, whether
it’s healthy or not. In fact, “healthy” is whatever the paradigm says
it is. Becoming healthy means adjusting to the paradigm’s definition.
development comes when the paradigm reaches a crisis. It doesn’t solve
problems the way it once did. Anomalies—things that the paradigm can’t
explain—start accumulating. Paradigm-health starts making us sick. More
and more, the paradigm doesn’t work. That’s when scientists are challenged
to shift paradigms by moving into a phase Kuhn calls “extraordinary
science.” But, “extraordinary science” isn’t easy. In
to academia, Kuhn describes how scientists freak out. Everything they
ever learned is called into question. During the revolutions in
physics early in this century, even Einstein, no slouch in forward-thinking,
wrote, “It was as if the ground had been pulled out from under one, with
no firm foundation to be seen anywhere, upon which one could have built.”
The more the
fails to do its job, the more old-paradigm scientists try
to make it work. The paradigm is ripe for a revolution, but because they’ve
forgotten that they even have a paradigm, scientists conclude instead
that their world is falling apart. Solutions—alternative ways of doing
science—don’t exist. As far as they’re concerned, they’ve explored all the
possibilities, and the only options they see don’t help.
to notice that they’re stumbling over the
limits of their
of Soul-Abusive Systems
science” describes the situation we face today. We’re not experiencing paradigm-norms
as healthy, either personally or globally. The blueprint for
our families, schools, businesses, and governments isn’t working. It’s
causing our shared social systems to function abusively and to make us sick
as a result. Happy people and healthy systems don’t turn addictive, life-destroying
substances into the biggest growth industry on the planet.
a paradigm that’s not working would be easy, but it’s not. As Kuhn observed,
the paradigm-cause of crises remains invisible to old-paradigm
We don’t need a new paradigm, they believe, we just need to make
the one we have work better. Nothing is wrong with our social systems,
since that would call the underlying paradigm into question. Instead,
when things don’t work, something must be wrong with us. “Blame certain
people and label them as the troublemakers. We need more discipline,
more restraints,” old-paradigm experts advise us, “more tests and tougher
grading systems, more hard-nosed business-management practices, more
God-fearing, sex-repressing piety, and more laws with stricter
In other words,
according to the prevailing paradigm, coming down hard on people isn’t abuse.
It’s how we create healthy families, schools, businesses,
and churches, because it rids us of the sinful, ignorant, or otherwise
unruly souls that muck up the social machinery. If things don’t work,
the solution is to take away more rights, stifle more creativity, intimidate
more people, build more prisons, and bring back the death
More fear keeps people in line.
every part of our lives—but invisibly. We don’t realize that the
paradigm is there, which means we don’t recognize its role in creating
our social institutions. As long as the paradigm remains hidden, we don’t
see what’s causing system-wide suffering, which means we can’t stop it.
control and power-over.
What kind of paradigm
requires that we blame individuals, intimidate, and punish them in
order to keep our social systems “healthy”? Like a complex
the paradigm has many threads, but the overall pattern has to do
with control: Who has power over
and how is a power-over relation maintained? Riane Eisler, in her
pioneering work, The Chalice and the Blade, calls this the “dominator model,”
contrasting it with “the partnership way.” Domination is the paradigm’s
driving issue, and for a reason: in this world view, top-down control
is necessary for social order.
According to the
power-over model—what we refer to as the control paradigm—if somebody
doesn’t control us, our social systems will fall into chaos.
John Romer notes, for instance, that the Roman Emperor Diocletian,
in an attempt to hold “a ramshackle empire” together, “made a state
where animals, land and people were all tightly organized and controlled.”?Like
Diocletian, authorities of today believe that nothing would
work if we each did our own thing. To have order, we must do what the authorities
tell us to do.
Now come the
to be controlled, we have to be unplugged from competing sources
of control. The major threat to external control is our internal guidance
system—our souls. “Soul”
to our deep presence. It’s our inner connectedness to whatever we take
to be Being, God, the One, the whole, or the ground of creation (to paraphrase
theologian Paul Tillich). Physician Larry Dossey
soul as “some aspect of ourselves that is infinite, beyond the limits of
space and time.” It’s our direct link to reality.
core is the source of our talents and the wellspring of creativity.
It’s also what gives us the conviction that our lives have meaning. When
we live from our souls, we feel alive and vital, and we take seriously the
idea that we’re here for a purpose.
To us, our souls
are our best friends and most trusted guides. But to the control paradigm,
they’re the enemy—what has to be removed in order for external control
to work. Only when we’re sufficiently disconnected from our inner compass
will we follow outer demands.
“Get rid of the
troublemakers.” For fear of chaos, social systems adopt the control paradigm
and run with it. Through all sorts of
policies, we get the message that we’re unacceptable as we are, but that
if we surrender ourselves to the social system (the family, school,
business, profession, or religion), we’ll become acceptable. Our
souls are sloppy and unmanageable troublemakers; they clog the system’s
workings, and we’re better off without them. This isn’t 'reality'
talking; it’s a paradigm—an old one. Maybe sometime in the dim, dark
recesses of human evolution a control-based paradigm may have served the
species—we’re skeptical about that—but it’s not serving us now. The more
power-over systems zap our inner lives, the less social order we have.
It’s a paradigm in crisis, and it’s creating neither personal nor
As long as the paradigm remains invisible,
we’re stuck. The
prevailing model stymies change. Every time we try to move in a new
direction, the old paradigm kicks in and intimidates us into doing the same
old, soul-diminishing stuff.
That’s the first
paradigm conspiracy, the one that blocks our best efforts to confront crises
But one paradigm
conspiracy deserves another—the leap into “extraordinary-science.”
True, paradigm shifts are full of uncertainties, trials and errors,
hiccups and false starts, not to mention soul-searching forays into the
unknown. We never know if we’ve come up with the “right” paradigm—or even
if there is such a thing. In extraordinary science, we let everything
go into flux. Yet nothing conspires to change our world so completely as
doing precisely that. The most
part of a paradigm shift is that it lies within the power of each
of us to do it. Paradigms aren’t Godzilla monsters; they’re ideas.
Their power comes from our shared commitment to them. The minute one person
starts to explore alternative models, the paradigm no longer holds the
explained in The Aquarian Conspiracy, the word ‘conspiracy’ comes
from ‘conspirare,’ which means ‘to breathe together.’ A new cultural
begins with each person stepping out of the old and daring to breathe
something new. The “movers and shakers” are powerless to prevent a paradigm
shift, once we together breathe a paradigm-revolution into being.
We are not walking
the full truth of who we are because we're "sleepwalking",
unconscious of our immense abilities. Instead, we've come to believe that
those abilities don't exist for us. Even people educated at the best schools
in this system experience education as indoctrination.
for power-over institutions is obvious. People no longer indulge in
thought. Control paradigm systems want the human brain to be an
obedient machine, not a mind.
Posing as a "Philosophy"
The dumbing down
- becoming less than who we are - brings us face to face with one of the
control paradigm's most powerful devices for achieving control. The
paradigm presents itself as a "philosophy", as if it's innocently
telling us what's what. It even insists that its mechanistic,
control-measured picture of reality depicts
the "real world"
and tells us how to be practical in the world of facts and things, dogs
eating dogs and sharks eating whatever. The more our reality can be
reduced to objects, this "philosophy" tells us, and the less we trouble
ourselves with ideas, values and other intangibles, the more we understand
the "realities" of the control universe.
philosophy as "the most practical way to maximize our personal sphere
of control", we don't notice that we're made controllable in the process.
To "buy into" the "philosophy" is to become controllableby its "values"
of external rewards and suggested into a view of ourselves that is not true
to our nature and potential as True Human Beings. But, the control paradigm
isn't philosophy. It doesn't encourage free thought or dialogue. It
doesn't develop our minds or souls. It doesn't invite inquiry into its
core assumptions, strategies, responses and goals. Instead, it
as a mind-control trance. The control
comes across as "the one way" to experience reality, and it doesn't
make room for alternative perspectives. To do so would go against the control
agenda. As a result, the control paradigm in truth has little in common
with philosophy and much in common with propaganda and mind control methods
- trance inducers, the kind Hitler was skilled at using.
In order to work,
mind control methods must be hidden or pass as something seen as socially
acceptable. The trick to a manipulative trance - as opposed to a therapeutic
one - is that it remains unnoticed. The trance-inducers
need a good guise. Conditioning and manipulation of others are always
weapons and instruments in the hands of those in power, even if these
weapons are disguised with the terms "education" and "therapeutic treatment".
The control paradigm uses all of the above, but ultimately posing
as a "philosophy" is its greatest cover. Posing as a "philosophy" lends
the control paradigm an "air of authority". If we recognized mind-control
methods, saw through their disguises, and named them as such,
they would lose their effectiveness.
Trance Selective focus
that by-passes the critical faculty. A trance state is when our minds
voluntary choose to bypass their critical faculty and focus selectively, with
consciousness fixated and focused to a relatively narrow frame of attention
rather than being diffused over a broad area. Suggestibility Humans
highly suggestible, which allows the by-passing of the critical faculty.
It is a matter of record how subtle cues and suggestions can influence
and even control people's minds and behavior. But "I'm not in trance!" -
Hypnosis is in fact not so much a "state" but a process of selective focusing
that we choose to engage in, since many of the characteristics
of the trance process apply to other processes of consciousness
as well. In fact, when people are in a trance "state", many swear they're
not. They have no sense of altered consciousness when responding to
suggestion and do not believe themselves to be in trance. Trance as a Tool
of Oppression - The Dark Side of Trance The
of the trance suggests its potential as a tool of oppression - for
making us less than who we are. Although
are positive uses for hypnosis, negative trance conditioning is
very different. The mind-control uses of the trance process are thousands
of years old and permeate control-paradigm institutions.
Let's take a look how two master oppressors, Hitler and Eichmann, used
the process in the concentration camps: Eliminating
critical faculty - Prisoners were taken from their homes, deprived of all
possessions, stripped naked, shaved head to toe, and mass showered. They
were treated as if they were sub-human. The impact of this was that all the
assumptions they had ever made no longer applied. Inmates went into shock
and their ability to think was shut down. The critical faculty was gone.
The brutality of camp life made prisoners think only on
the barest survival level. Every thought focused on how to stay warm, get
food and avoid the wrath of the guards. Thinking became highly selective.
No one could form any reliable strategies. Normal
were removed and camp emotions implanted - Given the shock of the experience,
emotions shut down, including the emotions of disgust, horror and pity.
Apathy took over - the inability to care about anything. The prisoners
gave up their normal ways of responding. Instead, new responses were
implanted ("suggested") - the desire to save one's life, not to antagonize
the guards, to submerge into the crowd, even to do "favors" for the
guards in order to gain a "favored position". The responses that
the guards wanted from the prisoners were unquestioning obedience, abject
submission, and lack of personal will except for what the guards permitted.
Suggestions were also implanted to the effect that human beings had
no intrinsic worth, only extrinsic usefulness to authorities. Aware of
or not? - Those who bought the trance didn't last long. Those who
allowed their inner hold on their moral and spiritual selves to subside
eventually fell victim to the camp's degenerating influences, and
their bodies soon followed suit. The trance of dehumanization
overcame them without their conscious awareness or resistance.
Coming out of
the Trance to Walk Our Truth Philosophy
our critical faculties - Prayer or mediation - Letting our minds
roam the big picture - Correcting
suggestions - De-suggesting
cultural influences. We decide not to give dehumanizing trances our assent
or energies. The man who stood in front of the army tank in Tianenman
Square in China was not in a control paradigm, fear and submission trance.
His no-trance response apparently broke the trance of the driver of
the tank. Another example is when the Berlin Wall came down. The wall symbolized
a political control paradigm trance for almost 50 years, Once the
control paradigm trance broke, the wall came down almost overnight.
Once we're awake, we're awake, and we have choices: trance or no trance.
Of course, waking up from the control-paradigm trance is not what society
Don't Work for Human Society
"Norm" Single individuals
don't create a society-wide climate where dialogue has no place. That's
the desire of the Control Paradigm, and it uses an effective device
for doing it. The Control Paradigm designs social structures to
function as closed systems. The rules, policies and structures of
closed systems have one purpose - to exclude input - outside, non-controllable
factors - that could initiate system change. The first response
to any problem is to "return things to the way they were". Closed social
systems are not intentionally "evil" - they are simply designed to maintain
the status quo. Maintaining a pre-determined order is their mandate,
which closed systems carry out through strict rules of control. As long
as new energies can be either neutralized or made to conform, things
continue on as before. The lines of power are preserved, and control is
assumed. Controlling the
Variables - The People
work to offset variables. That's how they maintain equilibrium. In
closed social systems, personal differences are the variables, and
roles are the way to offset them. For example, because nothing is more
variable in marriages than spouses, or in families than children, in schools
than teachers and students, in businesses than employees, in
religions than spiritual seekers, or in society than citizens, closed
social systems devise countless techniques for steering us back to role-governed
equilibrium, called "family harmony", "family values", "school
discipline", "business as usual", "religious devotion", or "social order".
The most effective technique for doing this gets people to internalize
roles and act them out without question. People are manipulated to
meld with the roles, until they are the roles.
is really about thinking and questioning, it is no wonder that its
not generally welcome in closed social systems. It undermines a powerful
tool of control: a control device that reduces our "unpredictable"
nature to predictable boxes and persuades us that the boxes are who
we are and that "we are nothing" without them.
"Claim to Legitimacy"
The aim of closed
social systems isn't to shut us down, although that's the effect. Closed
systems may behave like the evil Empire in Star Wars, but those "in
charge" honestly believe that "society would collapse" without their
order-reinforcing, power-concentrating, control-preserving responses. That
is why dictatorships often follow social upheaval; the "chaos" of transition
is used to justify closed-system methods. The greater the apparent
"chaos", the more "absolute rule" can be "justified". Current closed
social systems welcome, and may even create an appearance of "chaos", because
according to their belief it "validates" their "authority", and
that "crack-down" methods "must be necessary".
Social Systems Don't Work
the need for balance in society doesn't work using closed-system
thought patterns, because the current systems: Maintenance of
a toxic order: First, if the system equilibrium is already toxic, it gets
reinforced. Bad "norms" are simply perpetuated, since closed systems
"run on automatic". They don't have the power of discernment. They
don't evaluate systems in light of personal needs, human evolution or planetary
health. Their one mandate is to "preserve the established order",
even if that "order" is toxic for the people and planet. Put systems
people: Achieving "social order" through closed-system methods puts systems
above people - system needs over personal needs. Systems come first.
That's the message we hear in social systems, namely, preserving systems
is more important than nurturing people. Closed systems say to people,
"You are part of us, therefore we own you. Who you are is incidental. You
must perform the roles we assign you in the ways we require. We won't
allow you to deviate. If you changed, we'd have to change, and that
we won't allow. Our 'social order' would collapse". Putting the rigid
structure of social systems first costs all of us. People get "chewed
up" by systems. The idea of "sacrificing ourselves for the greater good"
may be a laudable idea if the greater is good. But, what if it isn't?
Closed social systems don't work because they keep order through control
- force, punishment, and other power-over methods of enforcement. But,
can social harmony be forced? Is top-down control the way to achieve
"social order"? Threats and intimidation cannot be the fabric of healthy
social systems. They do too much violence to our inner lives, costing
us our freedom. How healthy can our social system be if the people are psychological
wrecks? When we are deprived of our essential powers as free,
creative beings, our social systems reflect our emptiness. What do we get
in return for "submission"? Not security. Being one-down in a control hierarchy
isn't a secure place. When people get deprived of freedom and security
while at the same time they are bound by control systems, they
behave like caged animals. Intelligent beings don't do well in cages. The Nature of
Reality isn't closed: Another reason closed social systems don't bring social
order is that reality itself isn't a closed system. The old scientific
belief systems such as closed-entropy energy systems, also used to reinforce
closed-system social control patterns, are rapidly becoming transparently
false as scientific research has shown over the last few decades.
No matter how much closed systems try to control variables and
shut out change, reality won't be shut out. We can't make our social units
into "islands of no-change", because the greater reality (the context on
which our systems depend) is dynamic. Reality
It sweeps through our systems and impels change whether the system
controllers like it or not. Two shining examples of closed systems,
the Soviet Union and Communist China, tried to create "perfectly controlled,
closed societies". It didn't work. Their determination
to establish closed-system control exacted a terrible price from their people.
Individuality, freedom and creativity "had to be crushed". That's
the reason closed social systems don't work. The Spiritual
Evolution of Society Won't Be Put Off: Human beings are every bit as dynamic
as reality because we are made up of reality, and we are constantly
evolving in response to it. In contrast to Westernized control-oriented
systems, including the systems "exported" to China, ancient Asian
spiritual traditions defined humans as profoundly open systems, involved
in constant self-transformation. Just as social systems can't ultimately
ignore the dynamics of reality, so too they cannot ultimately ignore
our dynamics. No matter how hard closed systems try to fit us into "boxes",
we don't fit. The more systems negate this quality, the more we react
as if we're under siege. Our personal reality as beings-in-progress
fights back, whether through conflict, addiction, social action
,recovery, spiritual awakening - or some combination thereof. Nor is
this bad news. If social systems could make us into static units of conformity,
what sort of societies would we create? The
Gap: Another reason closed social systems don't work as a model for social
order is that closed systems operate blind to the people in them. Social
order is not built on an awareness of what people think and feel, but
on ignoring human needs and imposing system demands. That is why closed systems
are typically out-of-touch with the real thoughts, feelings, and
abilities of their members: they shut the door on this information. It's
not deemed "relevant" to "maintaining order". Too many tragedies,
too little order: In the end, closed-system control doesn't work because
it creates more tragedies than order. Dysfunctional patterns destroy.
For example, the general approach to "health care" is a business. If health
is a business, which demands its existence in perpetuity, than
there can by definition be no health in society. The pattern also involves
"killing disease" while at the same time ignoring what it takes
to create health. National ill-health is just one example of closed-system
tragedies. The Western political systems are another example.
We pay a heavy
price for filtering reality as we do. When paradigm filters obscure our inner
self to create an "outer self" that does the coping, the gap left inside
grows into a chasm. The trouble intensifies when we identify with
our paradigm filters. We begin to believe that to expose our filters is to
expose ourselves, and worse, we begin to believe that to lose our filters
is to lose ourselves, and that having "filters" is how we have survived.
We fuse with them and believe that they're all we've got.
Paradigm Protective Dynamics The best way to
make our paradigm "armor" invulnerable is to make it invisible. What
can't be detected by the population can't be shot down. When invisible,
our paradigms avoid the risk of attack. We hide our paradigm's filtering
processes under acceptable cloaking devices - and many such covers
will do the trick. Staying Within
A Group One way to make
paradigm filters invisible is to surround ourselves with people who share
our set. We align ourselves with groups who take the same paradigm for granted.
Surrounded by people whose filters are familiar, ours blend in.
Paradigm filters stay invisible, and we ask "What filters?" and "What paradigm?"
Everyone shares the same agenda of keeping the paradigm filters
unchanged. When paradigm issues do manage to surface, it's to reinforce
how "successful" and "right" the group's paradigm is. The official lines
get repeated and the catchphrases echoed. Those who question the paradigm
and don't speak its "language" are out. It
of this that cliques permeate paradigm-rigid societies, with each group accusing
the other of being "cultish". Paradigm dynamics, or dogmatics of each
group resemble what goes on in mainline churches, corporations,
schools, universities, governments, labor unions and non-profit organizations.
The strategy of keeping filters invisible under the cover of a
group-shared paradigm turns out not to be considered aberrational behavior,
but the "required norm".
There are groups that support growth and evolution, and
group-shared paradigms can be useful if they are exploring these areas involving
full potential. Working with people of like mind takes us forward
by leaps and bounds. As we work with others in this way, developments emerge
greater than any one person could produce. Whether group involvement
supports "filter evolution" or "filter fixedness", therefore, is
a matter of paradigm development.
of Paradigm Filters Mechanism
way to keep paradigms invisible is to split our lives into compartments
and to design paradigm filters for each "box". When we are convinced
to split our perceptive world into separate pieces, we protect the paradigm
filters we use for each piece. In a fixed area, certain paradigm
filters don't apply, and we don't mix them with filters we use for a different
box. That way, we never have to ask how it all adds up; it just doesn't,
and no one expects it to add up. Social
Lack of Consistency. We don't ask whether the values we use at work are the
values we'd like our children to live at home. If we adhere to one
religion or belief, we don't want to hear about the views of another. By putting
walls between our filters, we protect our overall filter arrangement.
We avoid filter comparisons which would inevitably bring our paradigm
out into the open and subject it to revision. Some of the greatest leaps
in knowledge and art - cultural paradigms - occurred when two or more
societies interacted. Control paradigm isolation of societies prevents
these leaps. Box-category thinking, valuable as it is for producing
specialized knowledge, prevents this type of exchange. It forbids us even
to attempt to integrate our filters with wider contexts - a process which
paradigm evolution demands. "There's no overall paradigm", we tell ourselves,
which means our cultural paradigm stays "offstage", invisible.
Another way to
keep paradigm filters hidden is to "appear to be filter-free",
as if "we have no paradigm, no filters, and no covers for them either. For
decades, scientists and social engineers hid filters behind claims
of objectivity, pretending to be "unbiased observers". Claiming to be
"open" and "skeptical", while rigidly adhering to paradigm dynamics, are
other ways of hiding paradigms we're not keen to question. Sometimes, claiming
to be "open" is used as a strategy to make us appear paradigm-free,
which guarantees that neither we nor anyone else has a chance to look
at our filters. By appearing to be "big-minded", we keep our paradigm close
to the chest and off limits.
Block Paradigm Awareness
If we are to
we need to know what paradigm we're using, so we can change it. Defensive
covers block this awareness. How far are people willing to go
to protect their paradigm? History shows that people will kill to protect
what they "believe" to be the case. Changing paradigms, ways of thinking
and perceiving the universe based on new information, can be scary for some
people. No wonder the strategies for keeping paradigms in place are more
developed than strategies for changing them.
to Block Paradigm Awareness
One of the
potent paradigm cloaking devices individuals and societies have is the taboo.
A taboo prevents the questions we dare not raise, the things we dare
not do, and the ways we dare not think. When members of a society obey taboos,
they pretend that aspects of their lives do not exist. Problems
are not problems, and obvious sources of trouble remain off-limits for
discussion, and people are manipulated into not speaking of them. People let
the social system throw walls of silence around them, so the system is
not threatened by hearing the truth about what we're experiencing.
Most current social systems on the planet are maintained in a status quo state
in this way. Taboos About Sex
- The actual function of the taboo on sexual matters in Western countries,
which paradoxically exists at the same time as the maintenance of
a strong focus on sexual matters, is to supplement and increase the focus
on sexual matters in society. The same principles holds for gender-specific
taboos, which also have the function of suppressing different factors
relating to wholeness of being and expression. Many of these taboos have
the function of introducing the socially complicating factors of "guilt"
and "shame", and are also included in some religious paradigms.
There is also another taboo which exists that makes feelings
off-limits in some social systems. People are programmed "to be in control"
of emotions. Even the words "emotion" and "emotional" are cast in negative
connotations, and are often used to discredit a persons viewpoint.
In fact, the process of socially programming the factoring-out
of emotions is highly convenient for control paradigm systems, because
if we cut ourselves off from how we feel under a situation of domination,
we tend to "tolerate" it more readily, and we are programmed to
disregard the pain when we witness control-system abuse to others. Control
system abuse is seen on television 24 hours a day and termed "entertainment",
which goes to show how deeply some paradigm elements are buried.
Another phenomenon that arises is that the control paradigm feeds
people with rationalizations, judgments and the ultimate ultimatum: "Things
must be done this way or chaos will follow".
Many of the social control taboos in our society have in fact been inherited
from science - what's "real" and what is not, what we can "talk about
intelligently" and what is considered "superstitious" or "pseudo-science".
In general, the rule is this - "if you can measure something, manipulate
it, predict its function and then replicate it (control the outcome
of experiments on it) - "it's scientific and real; if not, it's imagination
or illusion." People are programmed to accept this approach to science
because it reinforces the idea of control over the environment. Unfortunately,
this strategy reduces the idea of "knowledge" down to a matter
of "control". We are led to believe that "knowing something" means
being able to "control" it -- which is the control-paradigm
epistemology. We are led to grant science this "authority" and
we are programmed not to question it, even if it stands in the face of mountains
of observed (but not reproducible, and therefore "anecdotal") evidence. Science
- The Wider Impact Defining knowledge
in terms of control raises questions. What kind of "control" does
science give us? Control paradigm science inevitably disregards wider
contexts, because wider contexts aren't easily "controlled".
To "gain control", scientists "eliminate variables" and "constrict the
field". In fact, scientists learn early in their programmed training to think
in narrowly focused ways and to disregard broader contexts, thus,
the most defensible Ph.D. thesis is the most specialized one. A result
of this process is that using narrowed control thought processes, we
find ourselves faced with wider-context problems. For example, we are
stuck with nuclear waste with a half-life of 500,000 years and clouds of
acid rain that kill forests. If the same money went into researching new
evolutionary technologies, as the impression was given to the public in
the early 1970's that it "would be", we wouldn't have the problems we have
today. But, a public programmed to think along the same lines has simply
ignored this simple idea. Science Taboos
- Ethics and Values A very important
point to make is that the taboos that insulate control-science
from its impact on society also hide its values. The directions that
science and technology take involve decisions based on values - control
values. Nonetheless, taboos place science above ethics. In other words,
control-science taboos hide its decision-making process and the values
that guide them. These values and decisions affect the course of science.
The fact that some scientific research gets screened out while other
research receives both funding and publication is attributed to
"the natural course of scientific development", as if there is no paradigm-based
filtering going on. In fact, "there's a whole lot of filtering going
on". Various "experts" dominate each field of "inquiry" and also dominate
the direction and "limits" of research. They give their "positions" at
"conferences", where "reputations" may be "made" or "broken", and
they edit the journals. Even more telling is the funding of research by industry.
There is an unspoken but real incentive to present projects that
support the agenda of work being done in various industries. Combinations of
industrial, academic, and political interests influence, and even control,
what should otherwise be open scientific research, in many cases research
that could potentially save lives. The cancer and AIDS industries are
"Accepted Practices" Control-science
decisions affect not only the direction of research but how that knowledge
is applied. As long as some practice is labeled "scientific",
people are programmed to be hesitant to ask whether it's wise or cruel.
The status of "accepted scientific opinion" is often enough to put a theory,
along with its applications, "beyond moral question". A good example would
be the painful tests and surgery conducted on babies without anesthesia.
Another would be that if you cut someone's body part off while walking
down the street, you'd go to jail. But if an obstetrician does
it, without anesthesia, he gets paid for it. No consistency in
this society. It sends a real message to baby boys about the world they're
entering. Female circumcision and genital mutilation, permitted in some
societies, sends an equally meaningful message to young girls.
Philosophy and Consciousness Consciousness,
certainly infant consciousness, is meant to have no place in the official
"world view' of science, and taboos keep it that way. Taboos hide how
control-paradigm science affect our overall philosophy. Because of taboos,
people don't ask whether control science is adequate for understanding
the universe. By making all non-controllable aspects of life off-limits
- outside the "domain" of "scientific inquiry" - the taboos of science
make sure that the general population ignores many realities, but
most of all the subject of consciousness itself. The dominant paradigm
of knowledge places consciousness research generally off-limits. Intuition,
inner realities, synchronicity, spiritual seeking, the quest for
meaning, healing, personal and social transformation, near-death experiences,
out-of-body travel, and symbolic systems associated
things like these, are termed by control-science to be "hokum" and "non-sense".
Never mind that most of these things are a vivid part of reality
for a significant part of the population. No "self-respecting"
scientist would be caught dead investigating them. One of the most
powerful ways taboos shut down open inquiry is to ridicule those who step
outside official scientific opinion. If something doesn't fit control-paradigm
science, the phenomenon is dismissed as "non-existent",
and the people who persist in violating the taboos of silence are dismissed
as "crackpots". The subject of alien interaction with the planet
is a good example. Defensive Routines
are entrenched habits people use to protect themselves from the embarrassment
and threat that comes with the exposure of thought patterns they
wish to hide that underlie views and opinions. The perceived "threat from exposing
thought processes", or the programming which creates this dysfunctional
process, starts early in life and is steadily reinforced in
the "educational" system. Everyone can recall the stigma at having the "wrong
answer" in school. Defensive routines
also block transformation, since they block access to the basic paradigm
filters. As a result defensive routines block learning and expanded experience. Defensive
also block communication. When one person seeks to hide the paradigm upon
which thought is based, very often the other person does it too. Defensive
routines are contagious. Defensive routines are also "self-sealing".
Not only do they hide paradigms, but they hide their own existence as well.
To hide the paradigm and be psychologically "correct", people fall back
on the "openness" cover, where people want to "seem" open and candid, so
they work hard at appearing that way.
Trapped in Defense Mechanisms By
paradigm that is at the root of problems, defensive routines allow
situations to get worse. They do not let concerns or confusions surface,
even if these may be the key to a breakthrough. Instead of helping
us deal with realities, defensive covers divert energies into
preserving masks and ego images. They force people to live a lie - not to be
honest about what's happening. As long as we participate in a control system.
we are not at liberty to speak openly about what we are experiencing.
When taboos forbid us to speak the truth, our lives get "zippered shut
with secrecy", leaving us vulnerable to secrecy's chief weapon - propaganda.
Everywhere people go they are lobbied into believing the official line
that justifies control-paradigm systems. People begin to think "everything's
fine, as long as we lock up and get rid of the 'bad' people, kill them
or drug them until they 'fit the norm'. Then our system would 'work'".
But, our systems don't work, no matter how many people we drug, subject
to mind-control, lock up or kill. Instead, a chasm of silence comes
between people and system realities.
Way to Social Balance and Harmony
to the control-paradigm world around us, dialogue sends a liberating message.
Dialogue is the real source of order in human societies. It
communicates openness, trust, mutual respect, adventure and shared exploration.
It is a response that invites paradigm shift in precisely the
direction we want to make it, namely, toward soul-honoring interaction.
Continued in Part 2