I use the word “Paradigm” as a description of a perceptual point of view. For example, if a person were to draw the digit three (3) on a square piece of paper, put it on the floor and have four people stand around it, one on each side, each one of them would have a different experience.
Each person would describe what he or she saw differently to the others three. Therefore, there would be four different descriptions for what they saw:
1. a ‘3’,
2. an ‘m’,
3. a ‘w’
4. and a badly drawn “E”.
Therefore, the definition I am using of a Paradigm is; a set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline. However, a difficulty we all experience is that each of us has a different paradigm when it comes to experiencing reality, because we all create our own reality.
So how do we create our reality? Recent advances in brain scan technology show that 80% of what we experience actually comes from within our own mind. One bit of visual stimulation sent, from our eyes, to our visual cortex triggers 5 bits of information to be sent from out visual cortex to our cerebral cortex.
This is easy to understand when we consider dreams. When we dream we create a reality, and then we experience it. I have felt pain when I bump my head in a dream, and felt the coldness of water when I dipped my hand in it. All in my unconsciously created thoughts, we call dreams.
What interests me is that we use exactly the same bits of our brain to experience our waking reality. The only difference is that, when we are awake, we have a ‘live data feed’ – from our senses – eyes, ears, etc. This means that our whole experience of reality is created by our own thinking, and this experience is contained completely within our own body. The rest of the world is out there, but our experience of it is self-created, using the energy of our minds and our conscious awareness of our thinking along with the feelings our thinking creates.
Polish-American philosopher, and scientist, Alfred Korzybski (1879 – 1950) highlighted this distinction with the phrase “The map is not the territory”. A map of London was a useful thing for me to have when I first started visiting London. After a while, I created my own map, of the parts of London that were relevant to me, in my own mind. I can recall images from my memory, that I can re-presented to my conscious mind when I need them; I have a representation of London in my mind. I am using the same parts of my brain to process those memories, as I am to process the sensory information from my eyes. This means that we all operate using our own unique map of reality not on reality itself.