The Blind Men and the Elephant (a parable for ontologic reasoning)
Consider an experiment where you, together with 5 friends, are blindfolded and given a task to identify an object using touch. All of you are put in a different position. You touch the object and guess what it is. For you, it feels like a sharp strong pointy thing and so you assume it is a spear. Your friends do the same but come to different conclusions – rope, fan, wall, tree, snake. All of you go by your touch, which makes up the context from which to make your guess. You then remove your blindfolds, gain a vantage point (sight), and realize that all of you have been touching a part of an elephant. You are then switched up and try again. Now that you see the bigger picture, it’s not much of a guess. It is the tail you are holding. A paradigm shift is irreversible.

A “paradigm”, broadly speaking, is a way to see and experience life; it is a context that allows us to understand something, a filter that paints a certain view of something. 

A “paradigm shift” is a radical change in consciousness that brings a new dimension to experience life. There are no rules on what kind of paradigm shifts are possible, whether they are big or small, whether they are conceptual or physical, whether they happen on an individual or collective level – the only thing is that once they happen, they change the entire game. 

The challenging thing about recognizing paradigm shifts is that in hindsight, they are so obvious, but in the current moment, almost impossible to recognize. If we look at some historic shifts, it is easy to recognize their magnitude, but if we observe some of the current seismic shifts happening, we can agree that these are not yet acknowledged by most.

Past leaps of consciousness

  • Fire – a groundbreaking taming of a fundamental element, provides warmth, allows to cook food, allows to make ash, and eventually forge metals, etc.
  • Oil – an extremely efficient way to store and transport potential energy. Completely changed the magnitude of what and how we can build, enabled global transport, never-before-possible industries etc.
  • Electricity – has heating, magnetic and chemical effects that can be used to transport energy fairly efficiently, run small home appliances, etc.
  • Internet – enables global communication/ value exchange almost instantly. This is somewhere between historic, current, and future innovation. That is, the Internet is still evolving and hasn’t reached its full potential. We are somewhere in the middle, with the next leg up being the innovation of decentralized protocols (Web 3.0).
  • Washing hands before a medical procedure – you would think it is obvious now, but this “controversial” thought has a pretty amusing (and terrifying) history, which ended a physician’s career in a mental institute.
  • Evolving from rational-centered to inclusive-centered (pluralism) worldview. This is an example of an individual paradigm shift, where a person opens oneself to minority (race, animals, nature, etc) viewpoints and starts to care about and protect equality. This is a totally new way to think and construct one’s value system. Developed countries are slowly entering this phase collectively.

A paradigm shift comes with a bang and brings many benefits, but later, next-level problems are revealed on careful investigation, which in turn causes the need for another shift in consciousness. For example, fire is a powerful tool if we can master it responsibly but also dangerous that can cause harm accidentally or by intention. Oil provided abundance and leapfrogged humanity over many obstacles, but came with high hidden exploitive costs that were difficult to predict in the beginning. Pluralism aims to include more and is guided by the heart, but still creates tension and fight between different layers of development.

Paradigm shifts of today

Let’s now look at real innovations happening now that are less obvious and still controversial from the mainstream perspective. These are individually embraced by a growing number of people around the world but have not yet come online collectively. We haven’t yet reached critical mass but seem to be very close to major changes in all areas of life.

  • Self-healing – the notion of Life (including our body) healing itself, and our capability to enhance this process with our mind. It is intuitively obvious to probably all people, but not fully recognized. Instead of supporting our body to heal itself, we trust and believe in doctors, fear disease, focus on physical symptoms separated from the mental state, etc. The return to the natural ability to self-heal augmented by mental imagery will disrupt the entire pharmaceutical industry so expect plenty of pushback from within the system.
  • Mental Universe – the underlying fabric of Reality is mental (non/ prior physical, subjective, created). It is THE paradigm shift as it provides an open-ended context to everything. Without this realization, we are imprisoned in a physical objective world, or at the very least, we are stuck in the endless illusions our minds create. The filter through which we experience Reality is created by the self, meaning we all experience a totally unique perspective, and thus, there is no need to fight/ defend, but instead, to understand, support, and unify.
  • Love-based being – a radically free and unifying way to be without limiting beliefs, without suffering, grounded in the now, fully aware of the essence of fear. This is individually and collectively an entirely new way to exist compared to what we have been accustomed to and taught in schools, media, etc.
  • Decentralized Internet/ Web3 – we mentioned the Internet before, but within this evolutionary technology are macro and micro phases that could all be considered paradigm shifts – that is, they bring drastic opportunities never before possible. We are right now at the third macro phase – crypto – (perhaps the biggest and most impactful stage where we decentralize the entire thing using blockchain, that is, humanity will own the Internet, not companies/ governments) and within this phase, we have also had three generations of blockchain. 1st Gen was a fixed protocol (Bitcoin – digital fixed monetary system/ digital energy/ decentralized time), 2nd Gen was a smart contract/ programmable digital agreement (e.g. Ethereum), and the 3rd Gen, just coming online, is a full-stack crypto cloud for end-to-end decentralized applications (e.g. Internet Computer). All of these generations reinforce each other and will grow to become trillion-dollar industries, and will change how humans store generational wealth, collaborate, and build software.
  • Regenerative systems – an inevitable way to exist that a mature individual and civilization will acknowledge and adopt. The idea here is to enrich the system seasonally/ cyclically by design, instead of thinking in terms of shareholder profit. The goal is to become sustainable locally and globally. Food production should enrich the soil (without exploiting external land), manufacturing should improve the natural habitat, packaging should be recycled, waste systems should not pollute nature, etc.
  • Developmental models/ integral approach – instead of one way to see the world (think like this, be like this, eat like this), we instead embrace the journey and start recognizing phases we all go through, albeit in our own unique ways. Embrace the multi-view, systems of systems of systems, unite ideas, and tune towards the golden way. It results in multidimensionality, brings clarity into the chaos via principles, and alleviates the tension caused by arguing. It also illuminates blindspots and root problems, making it possible to actually move towards impactful solutions.
  • 8D Food Approach – embraces a multi-dimensional unifying personal development approach that connects the comprehensive dimensions of food with the individual and collective maturity levels. 

To conclude, a paradigm shift happens in consciousness when a new dimension is added to the existing experience. Once you see it, you cannot unsee it, but before you do, you are simply blind to it. This makes it difficult to predict when these shifts happen and even more, our default mode tends to actually prevent them from happening. We (understandably and unknowingly) push back on change due to fear of the unknown. This applies individually (preserving our personal mental model) and collectively (e.g. industries protect their competitive advantage). 

In order to give ourselves the best chance to discover everything we need to fulfill our goals, we must be willing to let go and open ourselves to paradigm shifts. Greatest discoveries happen when we let them happen instead of fighting for what we already know. Be on the lookout for overly strong (emotionally attached) opinions, beliefs, assumptions. These usually lead straight to the heart of the dominating paradigm and an opportunity to leap beyond the current self. 

Be curious and study the paradigm shifts of today. They are happening all over the place. Historically, most people ignore the innovation happening in the now, until it becomes mainstream, and thus miss a truly exciting phase. Given the magnitude of the current period of humanity, ignoring today’s paradigm shifts will cause plenty of suffering. The need for innovation has perhaps never been bigger. The current systems (of thinking and doing) are broken to the core and need to be replaced. The alternatives are already here.