Yes. There is a paradigm clash. It’s a tug of war between ideologies. Most people don’t recognize it because it’s been going on for so long. Learning to recognize and handle this conflict is a necessary skill in our modern world.
What’s the paradigm clash all About?
What is a paradigm? What is a paradigm clash, and what’s this one all about? First of all, a paradigm sometimes called a worldview is a set of ideas and values. It’s the framework that provides boundaries and context to our perception. It places values on thoughts and beliefs. It acts much like colored glass, coloring everything. Our cultural narrative reinforces this framework through a variety of communication methods.
So, a paradigm clash is a conflict between two or more vastly different paradigms. There are two main types of paradigms, tribal and universal. This is the one we are talking about. It’s a conflict that’s going on all of your life. So, it’s sometimes hard for people to see it. Let’s look at these two major worldviews.
The Tribal Paradigm
A tribal point of view is based on elements of religious belief, race or ethnicity which distinguish them as a separate group from all other people. Unfortunately, this means the dominant worldview based on a tribal worldview often dictates values and religious beliefs which can be unequal even discriminatory.
If you think in terms of tribal boundaries you will always have people on this planet that are outsiders, untrustworthy, even enemies. A tribal point of view is worldview based on biases and prejudice of some kind. It always equates to us-against-them. This is an ancient paradigm system that bases thinking and values on mythologies. It is a deception resulting in mistaking mythology as fact. These constructs divide people into belief, race, ethnicity and gender bias. Those in charge use this strategy to control and exploit people. A good example is the dark ages.
The UNIVERSAL Paradigm
In contrast to a tribal point of view, a universal paradigm perceives everyone and everything as being of equal value. As such, it negates the power of arbitrary tribal paradigms. A universal paradigm strives for equity and equality for all people. It holds that all of life is sacred, mystical and meaningful. This worldview promotes the advancement of logic, science and the scientific approach for the benefit of all life. This mindset is responsible for all of the scientific advances in the 21st Century.
The Need to Control and Feel Safe
So, the paradigm clash is based on the need to control the thoughts and values of people. When people ask, what do you believe, they are really asking you what tribe do you belong to. The answer to this question tells them whether or not you are safe. You are safe if your beliefs are similar enough. In other words, do you share the same fears and are you bound by the same thought and value controls?
People will consider new ideas if your underlying values seem similar to theirs. This is because people are programmed to think in terms of tribal boundaries. It’s not their fault. The cultural narrative uses systematic brainwashing techniques. Many people go through indoctrination at an early age in their families. Then they continue the cycle. You can help them break free and become freethinkers.
Moving Beyond the Tribal to the Universal Paradigm
The goal is to help someone trapped in a tribal paradigm see the bigger universal picture. To be able to do this you need to at least be acceptable to the tribe. You may not yet be a trusted member. However, you need to align yourself so that you are “safe” enough for them to accept any new ideas. Your new idea might be as simple as prompting someone to do their own research. This is a big step for many.
“The argument goes like this. No one thinks their beliefs are wrong. Yet, most would agree their beliefs beliefs confine their perspective. It’s the trap of belief. You can tell when someone is caught in this trap. They always need to ask, what do you believe? They need to know so that the can judge you based on the boundaries of their values and perceptions.
So, I tell them I believe the good in all religions. I am a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist and Hindu plus many more. Then they become confused and tell me that I must pick one system. I ask them why? Isn’t it more prudent to believe the best of all, rather than confining myself to just one point of view? They respond, ‘that is not how it is done’. A person must pick one belief system! I say that I have demonstrated that, that is not the case.” — Guru Tua
introduce the universal perspective
So, here is the strategy. When someone asks what you believe, you might say you agree with all the paths that lead to a better world for everyone. Then ask them what they believe. Find a way to show you align with their paradigm. But, above all be truthful.
For example, if they are a Christian, tell them you believe the positive aspects of Christianity. Similarly, if they are Muslim, tell them you align with all of the positive aspects of Islam. Whatever their paradigm finds a way to connect with some positive element. The bottom line to apply the universal perspective. Let them know you respect any path that is consistent in promoting love for everyone, and all living things.
Alignment to open dialogue
The above approach works well if you can get an initial alignment. If they believe that you are genuine in your alignment, you’ll be able to move them on the continuum from tribal toward the universal. In order for you to introduce any “new” ideas, you must first be able to project some alignment with the underlying ideas of their tribe.
Sadly, some people are so ingrained and programmed into their religious beliefs that they cannot be dissuaded from a tribal point of view. All you can do is plant seeds of thought, They must learn how to question the cultural narrative. We will probably not eliminate the paradigm clash but we can plant seeds in our circle of influence.
If this article resonates, there are more on our blog. Also, you may be interested in learning about our blended learning process. This is our curriculum which we use to teach several mind-expanding tools. It also aligns the Hero’s Journey. This is the term Joseph Campbell gave the pattern of consciousness development. Our learning process is available in two forms. You can take part in the virtual learning module or in our workshops.
Image by Unsplash.