Paradigm is formed from a mixture of current scientific ‘fact’, best guesses and the comfortable fictions of belief. Most people are deeply ingrained with their paradigm and changing it in even the slightest way causes deep anxiety and fear. Clearly, groups murder in the name of their sacred paradigms.
Paradigms can be personal or global. Theoretical frameworks exist within a particular paradigm.
“Your paradigm is so intrinsic to your mental process that you are hardly aware of its existence, until you try to communicate with someone with a different paradigm.”
- Columbus (late 1400's) disturbed and upset the conventional paradigm of his time when he proved by his voyages that the world was not flat.
- Galileo (early 1600's) very much upset the powers-that-be when he proposed, accurately, that the earth along with other planets were orbiting the sun—disrupting the paradigm that the sun and planets orbited the earth. Galileo was in big trouble with the Church for disrupting the accepted paradigm.
- Darwin, (1800's) disrupted the religious paradigm belief of creation by God, but rather proposed how life form evolved over millenia from more primitive forms.
- Two photo images of the Earth from space (1968 & '72) are thought to have created an emotional shift in attitude toward our planet giving birth to environmental issues.
And, then there is the whole issue of race--'whiter' skin is considered normative. One topic that continues to be avoided is that of race--one of the most challenging concepts for European immigrants in this country to grasp (or, perhaps more accurately, one that they are most reluctant to grasp) is normative whiteness. The idea behind normative whiteness is that white people are socialized to perceive white skin as "morally neutral, normative, and average," to quote Peggy McIntosh. That is, when white people see other white people in print advertisements, on television and movie screens, on the street, or elsewhere, they do not perceive those white people as having "race". Because whiteness is the default category, white skin does not register as being "raced" in any way.
Conversely, when white people see people of color, they immediately perceive them as having race because people of color do not fall into the racially-neutral or normative category. However, for white people who have never grappled with issues of race and white-skin privilege, the concept of normative whiteness also challenges their perceptions of themselves as "colorblind," which makes comprehension even more difficult. This issue is hidden deep in the American psyche as a paradigm believing in 'colorblindness'. Racism is denied in America--perhaps because our country was founded upon the dominant culture's 'rule' over non-whites. This topic is ticklish in a damaging way - and, as long as the topic is avoided, not discussed... the issue does not go away and negatively impacts possible advancements in social justice, employment, legal system, prison reform...to name a few.