The Next Paradigm?

Posted: June 5, 2011 in Integral Studies, Media Gleanings, Philosophical Debris

Over the past few thousand years humans have evolved through a number of world view paradigms.  These ways of looking at reality shaped the way we solved the problems of the ages and became the foundation behind new knowledge and discovery.  First you had the mythical/religious view of the world where events were the work of God and you prayed for change.  Illnesses were the result of sin and were cured by prayer.  Then came the age of science and reason, where empirical observation and experimentation became the world view.  With illness, germs were discovered and treated.  In the 20th Century we entered the digital age, where it became possible to view much information in a binary way.  Genetics was part of this, being related to a codified view of the world.  Our digital computer age is the product of this world view, but it has had an impact on many other areas of knowledge, including computer simulations of environmental problems and codifying events into “game play” theory.

So what is the next step?  What will be the next paradigm and will it alter our view of the world and knowledge as drastically as those stepping stones of the past?

The current issue of Discover magazine may provide a glimpse.  In “Beyond the event Horizon” the ideas of Andrew Hamilton are presented.  He is attempting to, through mathematics, computer simulations and through his own visualization, trying to fathom the interior of a black hole.  Part of his theory suggests that the events we experience in our daily lives are nothing more that a holographic reflection of things that are actually unfolding on a distant event-horizon surface.  You may consider this pretty wild and far out, but remember that the idea is not new.  It was first suggested more than two thousand years ago be Plato in his cave analogy.  He said that we were like people confined in a cave, only able to see the shadows of events on the cave wall and unable to turn around to see the actual events.

The idea has grown out of a digital age theory to regard the universe as information processing, but goes far beyond this.  Why is it important?  Why should we not just continue in a view of reality that has served us for the past few thousand years?  Because, by framing reality in a new way, all kinds of things will become possible.  Understanding a holographic universe may have unimaginable effects on healing illnesses or may open doors to new discoveries in physics that my enable us to access the stars.  New paradigms allow us to look at reality in new ways, shedding restrictions and walls on our ideas and discoveries.

That has been the pattern in the past, and there is no reason to think that we’re at the end of the road now.

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