I remember when the word “paradigm” first slid into philosophical discourse, with Thomas Kuhn’s 1962 book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, in which he argued that there is an essential discontinuity between one scientific structure, or “paradigm” and the one that preceded it. That we cannot logically derive the new one from the old one. Nor can we predict what the next paradigm will be from the current one. Instead, paradigms, like people and other earthlings, are born, not made.
Then the New Age took hold, in the ’80s, with the word “paradigm” as one of its starring talismans.
Before Kuhn brought the word in, I used the word “framework,” and all during graduate school in philosophy was obsessed with the idea that my mind was actually “framed up,” or framed! — that I didn’t have free access to reality. That terrified me. I wanted to break free.
The actual idea behind the word “paradigm” first took root in Immanuel Kant, who viewed “space” and “linear time” as apriori conditions within which all experiences take place. In other words, Kant both described and “justified” what we are learning to call 3D. A variant of this idea was promulgated by Chomsky in linguistics, with his claim that there are linguistic structures that are primary and fixed, and lesser ones that depend on culture and experience.
We need to realize that even philosophically (or maybe I should say especially philosophically) our minds are still “framed,” that we are conditioned to live in a mental prison of our own making — both as individuals and as a collective. And, that it’s up to us to break free. That means to let go of ideology, i.e. (“justified,” or “proved,” or yet to be “proved”) “true beliefs” as the ground of our being, as what make us feel “safe” or “right,” or “connected to others.” No we don’t. We don’t need to attach to any beliefs whatsoever.
Instead, we can continue to expand, considering ideas, rather than adopting them, or worse, living or dying (or killing or otherwise ruining) in their name. That’s what religion was all about. And science (the current scientific paradigm, whatever it is), to the extent that it still wants to prove anything or thinks that someday it will be able to, is the new religion.