Re: Name that Paradigm

Pacvillage@aol.com
Wed, 11 Sep 1996 11:33:40 -0400

Alan,

>I'm still unclear, however, why you saw what I and some
>others were writing as being from the "old paradigm".

First, I didn't make the assumption you said, and please don't take what I
said personally (I don't think you are). We are all
"if-we-keep-on-doing-what-we've-always-done-then
-we'll-keep-on-getting-what-we've-always-gotten" folks, or we wouldn't be
here. As such we must recognize that speaking from the dominant paradigm is
as easy as falling off a log. We do it all the time, it's there waiting to
be spoken before we even open our mouths.

I'm looking to put words to something that is not easy to express. I'm
interested in it though, because the more I grapple with it, the more
openings I see to cause the daily practices of our school to reflect more and
more of what it is that makes the school so amazing .

Melissa in her post of 9/7 noted a shift in the conversation. To me, the
shift she was pointing to was a paradigm shift. In a discussion about
paradigms, the above statement is not a report on facts, subject to being
right or wrong or something to agree or disagree with. Rather, it makes it
possible to see things that were not there before. (That cloud is an
elephant. Oh, I see, then that's the trunk, and that's the tail!)

Have you noticed that the paradigm begs to be generalized beyond the confines
of school? This became crystal clear to me in those paradigm discussions in
which I participated over the summer. I've started to see the elements of
our school paradigm everywhere in my life (usually, of course, by its
absence). What this means to me is that a world in which schools like ours
were the norm would not simply be the same world we live in now with
different schools. It would be a world transformed beyond recognition. How
do you suppose people in that world will talk about diversity? Of course I
don't have the answer, but I'm very interested in starting to talk about
diversity--and other things of course--THAT WAY NOW.

That is in fact the very shift that I see taking place in the discussion we
have been having, as noticed by Melissa. It's not like it's been happening
in one posting and not another. I'd say something shifted in the discussion
as some kind of a community phenomenon. It's reminds me of the kind of
discussion we frequently have in the Village meeting--no individual knows
where it is going (though we frequently think we know where it should go!).
We trust our process to find its own way, and it does.

Of course shifting paradigms is like cleaning house or brushing your teeth in
that it doesn't last. We've created our schools, and this mailing list, as
(among other things) structures to give a home to a paradigm that is not
native to our culture. It's working, too. Kind of like putting your journal
on your pillow so you will remember to write in it before you go to sleep.
Otherwise, you know you are sure to fall into bed and pass right out without
thinking of it. Goodnight.

Paul