Q8- Wanted: Workable Tools for Voluntary Paradigm Shifting

Today — the inauguration of President Barack Hussein Obama — is a big day for the people of the United States of America; many people including me are proud of them. The big event today started in 1954… but let us back up a bit first.

This quotation from Gregory Bateson summarizes the previous blogpost (Q7- We Found the Enemy: Our Own Concepts!?)

      “The major problems in the world are the result of the difference between the way nature works and the way man thinks.”

We have a big problem: it takes so long for mankind to change the way it thinks on important issues:


It took more than half a century to get the American people to where they are today from Rosa Park’s refusal to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery City, Alabama — a landmark refusal that dramatically initiated the Civil Rights Movement in the US.

Notice that two factors result to very long periods of time to change people’s thinking about important things: (1) institutionalized vested interests and/or (2) institutionalized rules to prevent members from thinking freely. The technical jargon for important changes in people’s thinking is “paradigm shift” from Thomas Kuhn’s “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”. The religious jargon is “conversion” or “metanoia” (=from Greek word that means fundamental change in thinking). Equivalent laymen terms are “change in perspective”, “reframing” or “Aha! experience”.

Notice too that the data above shows that it takes about one average human lifetime to change how people think. So, does this suggest that you do not change how people think; you WAIT for them to die off?

Is there a faster way? We need workable tools for voluntary and conscious paradigm shifting. We need them ASAP (=as soon as possible)! The longer we wait, the more social costs (=human sufferings) accumulate.

Or, the longer we wait, the more people will forego enjoyment of benefits that would result from paradigm shifts. This was my motive when I wrote the book “99 Paradigm Shifts for Survival in the Knowledge Economy: a Knowledge Management Reader.” You can download the e-book for free from the CCLFI website.

How else can we help people undergo desirable paradigm shifts? Do you have other ideas to offer? What tools are on hand to help people change their thinking for the better?

Please share.

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2 Responses to “Q8- Wanted: Workable Tools for Voluntary Paradigm Shifting”

  1. Joitske Says:

    Hi, I love the table! Very powerful information. However, I wonder whether the shifts need to be faster- can’t it be that a paradigm actually works well for a certain period of time? Continous shift wouldn’t give people anything to rely on!

  2. apintalisayon Says:

    Hi Joitske!

    Hmmm… that a paradigm actually works well for a certain period of time… That’s something to think about.

    Maybe crises are times when paradigm shifts work better? USA with all their economic crises may be ready for a shift under President Obama.

    I think you are right there. Thomas Kuhn, who introduced the idea of paradigm shifts, says that in science, the shifts are not continuous. According to him they occur only a few times, with long steady periods in between: Copernican paradigm –> Einstein’s relativity –> quantum mechanical paradigm –> etc.


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