What Is a Change of Paradigm?
A different brand of meat grinder, revolution does not make
Most of us know, or at least feel, that a substantial social change is necessary. And I mean a radical one, not just a face-lift of the status quo. It’s no wonder that paradigm shift became a “household name”. But what it actually means?
First, let’s identify the problem. As much as we would like to believe that we evolved past some primitive stage, we still live in a tribal society of gangs. Be it your run-of-the-mill ‘hood gang or a transnational plutocratic one, the basic principle is the same — subjugation of majority by a minority using brute force (physical and socio-economical) in order for the minority to extract profits from the majority, which inevitably results in a stratified dog-eat-dog jungle.
Well, but what’s the actual problem with this scenario? Many people argue that such an arrangement is natural, that even nature operates this way, and they like to use the phrase “survival of the fittest”. For these people I have just one name — Julius Caesar. He obviously didn’t survive for very long (died at age of 55, ruled only for the last ca. 5 years of his life), and his bloodline vanished in 1st century AD, i.e. some hundred years after he was murdered. Even by the dog-eat-dog standard, he can be hardly considered “fittest”. So, there are major problems with what it even means to be “fittest”. Obviously, being a “top dog” is no guarantee.
So yes, people who call for a systemic change are right. But let’s see what they propose.
Some say social democracy will save the world. The argument being that taking the best from both capitalism and socialism, and merging them together, fits the bill perfectly. But when you look at the “mature social democracy” of EU or communistic capitalism of China, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see that this approach does not work. The former is a crony bureaucratic nightmare with no substantial improvement for an average citizen, and the latter, ehm, cough, cough, did you hear about the social credit system? In short, social democracy may seem gentler, but in the end does not solve inequality.
Then you have the ones who propose that if US collapsed or at least stopped being a dominant power in the world, it would somehow miraculously stop the plague of stratification from spreading. What these people miss, however, is that, in the resulting power vacuum, China and Russia (and who knows who else) would not sit quietly. Even as we speak, Russia occupies parts of Ukraine, leers at Georgia and basically all former USSR states to bring them back to the embrace of Great Mother, while China calmly occupies Tibet because, as they claim, it’s theirs. All in all, in current climate I cannot see how a one-sided collapse of US would benefit the world.
As a side note — it’s worth to mention that permanent members of United Nations Security Council are China, France, Russia, UK, and US. All of them have “defense” budgets that are among top 10 on the planet. Just think about it for a while … honestly, it does not make me feel safer or more secure.
Ah, and totally off topic — did you ever notice the striking resemblance of Caesar and Putin? Then again it may be just me :D
Anyway, back to the topic. Where was I — ah, dog-eat-dog capitalism, as the current incarnation of gang society, and the available cures.
So, as can be seen in EU and China, you can mix predatory capitalism (btw. is there a non-predatory one?) with any amount of socialism, and it will solve nothing, maybe soften some edges here and there, but a death is a death no matter how humanly it is inflicted. And yeah, collapse of US would probably mean a major worldwide chaos.
Then again, a lot of fringe thinkers want exactly that — a state of total chaos. But let me tell you, and look no further than D.R. of Congo, Somalia, Libya, or Afghanistan — where there is chaos, the most brutish of gangs come to the surface and usurp the power. Most often than not it will not be just one gang but many, and a war inevitably breaks out.
And when we are at the fringes, let’s look at the many kitchen ideas for a social change that constantly pop up all over the place. From “include everyone in money creation”, through “telling more pleasant stories”, to “imposing an impartial AI control algorithm upon the dumb masses”. And everything else in between. Forgive me my honesty, but they are laughable.
But to be fair, among the really crazy ones, I also encountered some pretty sensible ideas with a lot of potential. Just to pick some off the top of my head that stuck with me — universal birthright, tiered democratic governance, … and that’s it. Mm. Not that many.
But even those two have one fundamental problem — how do you convince people to embrace them, but most importantly, to put them in practice?
Well, let’s be honest, within current status quo, it’s simply impossible. Mostly because these are all practical solutions for a society that already underwent a change in mindset.
Ta-da! Enter paradigm shift.
Paradigm shifts arise when the dominant paradigm under which normal science operates is rendered incompatible with new phenomena, facilitating the adoption of a new theory or paradigm,
said Thomas Kuhn, who also coined the term, and although it originally pertained to science, it was obviously adopted far outside of its primary field of use.
I think the key here is “adoption of a new theory or paradigm,” which, to me, implies the change in the way we think about things. So, applied to social issues, it boils down to change in human mindset in relationship to “gang society”.
The only problem, and quite a serious one, is how to pull it off.
I don’t wonder that religious communities all across the world expect and pray for a savior, be it Moshiach, Messiah, Mahdi, Maitreya, Kalki. With each passing day, believers on the whole planet desperately hope for an intervention from God. All of them await a powerful being that will wave a magic wand, and all people somehow suddenly change their minds, and come to their senses (that’s also why people project savior attributes on various public figures).
However ridiculous that idea may seem, it’s really the only way out of this mess. But I don’t mean the magic wand in the hand of a savior, I mean that part about God, because only by realizing our innate divinity (or emptiness of suchness, if God is not your “thing”) we can have strength to recognize and reject the “beastly” system that holds us all captive (and I really mean all — from “top dogs” to slaves and “untouchables”).
The inconvenient truth, however, is that no savior, even if he or she were to come, will save anyone. We will be just told to realize and accept our divinity, out of free choice, until, eventually, there would be enough people to turn things around.
Now, that would be a pretty radical paradigm shift.
Everything else is just a different way of mincing the meat.