Friday, February 6, 2004

Abstract of My Presentation on Emerging Values of the Emergent Paradigm: A New Worldview

I chose the Tarot symbol of "The Fool" to represent my journey towards understanding the above subject, because like the Fool, I find myself constantly on that cliff's edge cheerfully unaware that I am about to fall off that edge into unknown territories of chaos, into unfamiliar journeys of mind and psyche. I was happy to learn from my readings of Chaos Theory that "the edge of chaos" is where order and meaning emerges and processes of life goes forth.

If history could be looked at as a process of some 2,000-3,000 years where we pinpoint the beginning of our focus on the emergence of cities, (somewhere around 500 BC to about 1500 AD), we would be able to see that during this time span there was an emergence of the differentiation of languages. From the Latin group emerged larger groups of French, German, and English speakers. From the the spoken language also emerged the written alphabet, and phonetic script. This coincided with the feudal age and the beginning of the making of nations. Eventually several centuries later, the invention of print helped make a reality the French Revolution and the elaboration on the concept of liberty and individual rights. Close in its wake came the birth of a new world view and scientific rules marked by Newton. Looking at history over such a large span of time, one could then catch the notion of history as a process where one event leads to another. Understanding Marshall McLuhan's perspective allowed me to see how the invention of the Gutenburg printing press was crucial in creating the modern world we live in. Without that printing press would Newton's Principia have been published and widely shared and discusses among scientist leading to the birth of modern science? Would mechanical machines have been invented without his laws? Without machines, would we have had the industrial revolution?

During the past 500 years, we have seen an intensification of change brought about by mechanization. A speeding up of time and a compression of space was brought about by electricity and well as machines. The two world wars led to the structuring of the global economy, laying the infrastructure of communication networks, and the birth of telecommunications and then the internet and the world wide web. This 2,000 years process of change could be seen and described from many different perspective, religious, scientific development, commercial growth, communication, etc. The reason why I choose to see it from a perspective of science because its newly created vocabulary seem to be able to describe a new worldview which we are still struggling to understand. As in the word "emergent" and the word "paradigm". There is an emerging paradigm in the discovery of quantum physics. This new perspective took us from the material world of the atom to the intangible world of sub-atomic quanta and particles. Then there were the discoveries of complexity and chaos. These new perspective involved a redefining of values that were different from the material-based Newtonian science. And I felt that it was necessary to differentiate the differing values because despite our subconscious or even somewhat conscious awareness of the changed perspective that we have been inspired by these new sciences, most of us do not consciously admit the changes and try to use an outdated perspective to solve problems that have shifted to a different perspective. I think this is the cause of a lot of conflict and confusion in our day to day activities and that trying to understand how our perspective has changed can help lessen this conflict and hopefully design better policies and planning.



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