This Paradigm ShiftApril 20, 2010 9 Comments
I am honored to be presenting at the Symposium on Sustainability that is being organized by the Institute for Sustainable Social Change at Prescott College in Arizona. Following are some ideas on the themes we want to explore together:
Everything is changing, we are in the midst of a significant – and desperately needed – paradigm shift. The industrial models of the dominant paradigm no longer serve us, they are in fact holding us back. But what does this emergent paradigm look like? And how do we live our way into it?
I often think of it as a shift from mechanic to organic, an outlook that calls us to create the conditions for emergence rather than to drive human dynamics by trying to pre-determine our possibilities.
An organic paradigm negates the compartmentalization of life, it calls us to integration and away from a logic of postponement that continually says “we will be happy when…” It is a paradigm that pays close attention to process because it demands that we live in the world we are trying to build. The emergent paradigm dictates that how we get there is as important as getting there. What does happiness look like from this perspective? How about purpose? Justice? Spirit?
A paradigm shift is not a mild event – it is an event that affects everything. It affects how we look at ourselves and how we look at ourselves in movement. It affects our forms of organization, our economic drivers and our value systems. It seeks to re-define our relationship to being as well as to being-with. It is the lens through which we see and experience the world.
All of this can be overwhelming, but it can also be exhilarating, and many of us believe that a paradigm shift is the only hope we have for getting out of the mess we’ve made! People from all fields are entering this zeitgeist, we can see emergent patterns and we are experimenting with new processes and tools for organization and action in this new world. Pioneers are showing us the way – it’s out turn to get on board!