Thursday, October 22, 2009

The New Vision of Reality: excerpt 2

what we are seeing today is a shift of paradigms not only within science but also in the larger social arena - to analyze that cultural transformation I have generalized Kuhn's definition of a scientific paradigm to that of a social paradigm, which I define as "a constellation of concepts, values, perceptions, and practices shared by a community, which forms a particular vision of reality that is the basis of the way the community organizes itself."

the paradigm that is now receding has dominated our culture for several hundred years, during which it has shaped our modern Western society and has significantly influenced the rest of the world - this paradigm consists of a number of ideas and values, among them the view of the universe as a mechanical system composed of elementary building blocks, the view of the human body as a machine, the view of life in society as a competitive struggle for existence, the belief in unlimited material progress to be achieved through economic and technological growth, and, last, not least, the belief that a society in which the female is everywhere subsumed under the male is one that follows a basic law of nature - during recent decades all of these assumptions have been found severely limited and in need of radical revision - and indeed, such a revision is now occurring.

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