Ever thought of changing your paradigm?

Much of what follows is inspired by our study of “Building Your Permaculture Property” by Rob Avis, Michelle Avis & Takota Coen.

What is a paradigm?  Why is it important to know what your paradigm is and what it is based upon? How do you assess when it needs to change? How do you create a new shared paradigm that leads in the direction we need to go?

A paradigm is a world view, or lens, through which we see the world. It shapes our beliefs and thoughts about reality and our responses to, and actions stemming from,  those beliefs and thoughts.  In addition, our beliefs and thoughts determine how we take in information and can, in turn, reinforce our paradigm.

So, where do our paradigms come from? 

Cultural norms (derived from and reinforced by tradition, media, educational systems and family), religious beliefs, philosophical ponderings, and mentors all shape our paradigms.  The process can be quite unconscious and unconsidered.  It is important to become aware of and inspect our paradigms as they inform our decisions, as well as our reactions to life situations, challenges and other people.  A paradigm can open up possibilities, or limit our imagination regarding our vision for the future.

Have you considered your preconceptions and assumptions lately?  It is time to take a look at how our paradigms are determining our actions and responses to the critical issues of the day.

Two common paradigms that lead to collapse of the complex system that is our planetary home are what Avis et al name the ‘degenerative paradigm’ and the ‘sustainable paradigm’.  To describe:

The degenerative paradigm is based on the conviction that humans are better than nature, resulting in a fear of scarcity, unrestrained resource extraction and a perceived need tor unimpeded growth.  It inculcates the need to dominate and combat complexity.

The sustainable paradigm, on the other hand, views humans as worse than nature.  It is based on conservation and a desire to sustain the status quo and believes that the planet might be better off without human beings.

In the end, both lead to collapse, with the sustainable paradigm moving at a slower pace.

Is there another way of looking at things that will lead to a positive future? 

Can we adopt a new paradigm that will change the narrative we customarily use to make sense of our life in the complex system of which we are a part—a new paradigm that will allow hope and new possibilities?

The regenerative paradigm does not hold that humans are separate from nature but, rather, are members of an interdependent community.  It requires a sense of humility, collaboration and abundance.  It asks ‘How can I do more good?’ instead of ‘How can I do less bad?’  It puts us on a new trajectory whereby we design for complexity and well-being, by all measures.

How do we create a new shared paradigm—one that partners with complexity and leads us in a regenerative direction? 

  • Here are some suggested actions and practices:
  • Reflect on your belief systems.
  • Question your assumptions.
  • Review the sources of your paradigm.
  • Spend time outside, go for a walk, observe nature.
  • Cultivate meditative silence. Listen deeply.
  • Take courage to step out and act and not be afraid of making mistakes.
  • Demonstrate what you learn to others.
  • See who joins you.

In conclusion, understanding and shaping your paradigm is the first step toward a hopeful, constructive solution to the challenges we face.  The regenerative paradigm will move us to collective well-being. The most holistic way to live out the regenerative paradigm is in community.  Seek out the company of like-minded people for support.  Bon voyage!

Here is a link to ‘Building Your Permaculture Property’ by Avis, Avis, Coen

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