Part 5 – Why Do We Need To Have A Paradigm Shift?

Thomas Kuhn, in his book, “The Structure of Scientific Revolution, introduced our generation to the phrase “paradigm, shift.” The term “paradigm” was originally intended for the scientific community. However, it is now being applied to almost every area of life: the economy, government, business, the environment and even the church.

What Is A Paradigm?

  • A paradigm is a model.
  • A paradigm is a basic perception that affects other factors around it.
  • A paradigm is a frame of reference.
  • A paradigm is a basic underlying assumption.
  • A paradigm is a “lens,” through which we “see” the world around us … not in terms of visual sight, but in terms of perceiving, understanding and interpreting. Through a paradigm “lens” we “see” a situation and react to it.
  • A paradigm is a filtering system for processing information and experience from which we make sense of the world.
  • A paradigm is “new brain thinking”. Old brain thinking is thinking that is limited by the capacity to contemplate only those things which come from the current system. New brain thinking is thinking that is capable of considering a radical change in the system itself, of operating under a different set of rules. (Richard Bolles, author of “What Color is Your Parachute?”).
  • A paradigm is a map. It explains certain aspects of piece of land, so that it causes us to perceive that piece of land in a certain way. (Stephen Covey, in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”).

An Example Of How Paradigms Affect Us

The story of the Swiss Watchmakers and the Quartz Watch (Digital Watch) is very popular in secular, governmental and religious circles for the past several decades. Because of it the term “paradigm shift” is on its way to being a household word. Joel Barker is often quoted as an early source of the story. The facts about the story concern the Swiss watchmaking industry and their failure to respond to a “paradigm shift.” The events are seen in the declining share of the world watch market for the Swiss watchmaking industry over a period of several decades.

Time period                              Market Share

Before World War I                  90 percent of world market

Early 1970s                                60 percent of world market

Early 1980s                               Below 10 percent of world market

The facts are well known. From 1979 to 1982, employment in Swiss watchmaking was cut from sixty-five thousand to fifteen thousand. The main factor in this sudden collapse of a world industry was the invention of the quartz watch. How did it happen?

The research arm of the Swiss watchmaking industry had invented the quartz watch themselves and in 1967 presented the first prototype to the Swiss manufacturers. They weren’t interested in it! Fortune magazine in January 14, 1980 reported what happened in that meeting.

“The main villain proved to be the inflexibility of Swiss watchmakers. They simply refused to adjust to one of the biggest technological changes in the history of time keeping, the development of the electronic watch . . . Swiss companies were so tied to the traditional technology that they couldn’t . . . or wouldn’t . . . see the opportunities offered by the electronic revolution.” (Joel A. Barker, Discovering the Future, Lake Elmo, MN: I.L.I. Press, 1989), page 60.)

As the story goes, the idea was eventually picked up at an international trade fair by Seiko and Texas Instruments who saw potential in the new idea and marketed it. Their phenomenal growth paralleled the corresponding devastation of the Swiss watchmaking industry.

All of this happened because of a new way of seeing how watches could operate at the most basic level.

What Has “Paradigm Shifts” Have To Do With God Creating A New Species?

Last time we talked about how eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil resulted in man developing habits or life styles to pursue good and reject evil, do good and resist evil, love good and hate evil.

As a result, we have developed our man-made compensation systems to help us, such as religion, trying to appease God, performance, self-abasement, etc. And our man-made systems have become so strong in our lives, that if we are not willing to experience a paradigm shift in our thinking, those systems will keep us in bondage for the rest of our lives, and blind us to God’s incredible, simple, liberating, and life-altering way of living.

So today, make the choice to change paradigms. Reject all of your ways of compensating and balancing good and evil, and prepare yourself to embrace God’s wonderful solution!

(Note: I am indebted to Gene Edwards for many of the concepts in this series.)

… Next time …. Part 6 – What Does God’s New Life Form Look Like?