Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Paradigm City

A paradigm is rather like a city.

To get from one place to another you are guided down streets, may take one of a few forms of transportation that fit with the city design, and can visit people, shops, or other establishments that make up the city. A city is a series of ways down which its inhabitants are directed as they travel to their destinations. These pathways of walls, buildings, parks etc. are created in space as if from nothing.

Should a bomb fall and totally destroy the structure, but not the inhabitants, one's sense of location, of orientation, would be obliterated. The structure that previously made sense of one's movements is gone. The guiding streets, the tall buildings that once gave a sense of enclosure, of shape, of purpose, are no longer there to guide us.

So it is with paradigms. We get so used to them we mistake them for reality itself. So when a new paradigm is explained by a visionary or an artist, it is most often met with incredulity and incomprehension. The only way we have of understanding “the way things are” is the current paradigm. Contemplating the way things might be takes effort and patience, not to mention a willingness to try, if we are to make a good fist of it. It isn't easy, can even feel as disturbing as seeing a destroyed city, but when a paradigm has run out of steam, when all around us we see evidence of decay and corruption, when the experts shrug their shoulders and scratch their heads, that is when we are all obliged to put in the effort.

Now would be a good time... The Venus Project

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