Seeing the best in life's challenges

Paradigms and Assumptions

on January 9, 2012

Paradigm:  A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them. 

Each of us has a unique way of viewing and interpreting life here on Earth.  Based on personal experience, and our family of origin and that family’s views of the world, the culture we live in or the cultures we are exposed to, we make decisions and interpret events based on our own personal paradigm.

We are all aware that many assumptions we make are not the same as those held by others.  But there are also assumptions about the world that very few ever question.

In history, some assumptions were widely held, and when someone dared to question them, great fear and condemnation resulted.  The Earth is round, not flat…..the Earth revolves around the Sun…  These “facts” seem simple and universal now, but when they were first asserted, it was a really big deal.

So, it makes me wonder, what assumptions do we hold dear, that we are not even aware of?  If one of these assumptions were called into question, would that scare us?

Here’s my favorite example.  The assumption is, that the ground beneath our feet does not move.  A pretty reliable assumption — not something we ever think about, right?

So, I lived in California for a while.  Even though I had felt earthquakes, this still never really made me think about whether the ground was going to move or not….these were just minor disturbances that I could ignore.

THEN, I experienced the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989.  The ground didn’t move just a little, it moved A LOT.  Yes, it was a dramatic experience for a lot of reasons, but it didn’t fully hit me until a few months later when I was in Virginia at a shopping mall.

I was on the second floor of the mall, on one of those “bridges” between the two sides, where it’s open to the floor below.  Well, do you know those areas “flex” and move?  I would be willing to bet that very few people ever notice this fact, as most people are very secure with the assumption that the ground beneath your feet just doesn’t move…..even though it does.  We just know we can ignore this minor exception to the rule.

But since that assumption had been shattered for me, I was very aware of the possibility that the ground CAN move, and when it happened, I FELT it!

What other basic assumption might I have that, despite subtle (or not so subtle) evidence to the contrary, I continue to believe without questioning?

What if…..all is not as it seems???

What do you think?

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