Evolution Of Paradigm; Christianity And The Discovery Of The Individual I cannot forgive Descartes. In all his philosophy he would have been quite willing to dispense with God. But he had to make Him give a fillip to set the world in motion; beyond this, he has no further need of God. ~ Blaise Pascal, Penses, number 77 Cosmology itself speaks to us of the origins of the universe and its makeup, not in order to provide us with a scientific treatise but in order to state the correct relationship of man with God and with the universe. Sacred Scripture wishes simply to declare that the world was created by God, and in order to teach this truth, it expresses itself in the terms of the cosmology in use at the time of the writer .
. . other teaching about the origin of and makeup of the universe is alien to the intentions of the Bible, which does not wish to teach how heaven was made but how one goes to heaven. ~ Pope John Paul II, Address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on 3 October 1981. The discovery of the New World and especially the people inhabiting it was very dangerous to the Christian Church in the sense that it pointed out falsities in a paradigm to which people held great loyalty for its antiquital and divine authority. Humans are opposed to change, for at each moment in history, we like to think our paradigms for the universe and the heavens hold the absolute good and truth. It comes down to a question of pride. In order to change a paradigm, we have to admit that the previous paradigm was wrong; The longer it has been in place, the harder this is.
Like a lie, the longer it is maintained the harder it is to tell the truth, for longevity requires investment of lie upon lie upon lie. When we have invested life after life, profit after profit, scholar after scholar in a paradigm, it holds great value. This is where the antiquities derive their authority, for they give us the paradigms in which we invest. And, this is why we are loyal to our paradigms, to the point of interference with advancement – which ironically, in this case, means toward the absolute good and truth in our paradigms. Thus, for the same reason, we ought to question our antiquities; The more time and energy we invest the more we lose and the farther we get from the absolute truth and good.
Yet there are absolute goods and truths in our paradigms; It is just that our paradigms are not the absolute truth and good. This concept is not unlike the King having two bodies, one being the office and the other being the individual. We have the human spirit and then we have the human incarnate. The absolute truth and good are in the human spirit, but no one human possesses the knowledge, perfection, or purity to capture the absolute. Our antiquities – scholars and profits – are those who come closest to the absolute truth and good with the knowledge available at the time, to the best of their human imperfection and impurity. Therefor, we cannot blindly throw out our antiquities when their paradigms are humbled, for although not the absolute, there are absolute truths and goods to be maintained and built upon. We should extract, from our antiquities’, elements of absolute good and truth for application in a new, more perfect and pure, paradigm.
This is in part what we are doing when we cite texts, and this adds legitimacy to our works with the antiquities’ authority derived from our loyalty to their paradigms. I suppose I should cite someone here. I agree with Descartes in that everything in the past is wrong, one will only find the truth in them selves. But, one does not throw out the past, we note changes not to be made again and maintain the truths and good. We know from Descartes that absolute truth is in the human spirit, and from Aristotle that humans are inherently good.
Then if, all men do all their acts with a view to achieving something which is, in their view, a good, there will be some absolute good and truth in their acts. In taking the elements of truth and good from our antiquities paradigms and adding them to our own, we transcend the human incarnate working collectively through the human spirit toward the absolute truth and good. In this way too, we reconcile our loyalty to our antiquities. We are not abandoning our antiquities when we throw out their wrongs, rather we are joining them in combining their truths and good into a new paradigm created by a group of humans, a human spirit, not a fallible individual. Now, how do we determine what to keep, what is truth and good, but by expunging that which no longer applies after the subject of a paradigm’s design changes, after a new discovery. With each new discovery, our first attempt, at understanding, maps it into an existing paradigm.
We call the West Indies, the West Indies, because they fit into the Indies place on the map of the world at the time, and obviously later found not to be. Hence, the quite natural, term paradigm mapping. If a discovery does not actually fit into a paradigm, serious figure doctoring is necessary to keep it there. This is a natural defense reaction brought on again by our loyalty to existing antiquities and paradigms. However, the awkwardness of the mapped paradigm should quickly point out a need for revision. Here to revise is to make the paradigm fit the discovery not the discovery fit the paradigm.
In this way paradigm mapping becomes almost an exercise in developing new paradigms. We would rather, admit to being partly wrong than look ridiculous. A mapped paradigm forces a break from antiquital loyalty enough so that we can see the faults in existing paradigms; All that is left we can, until the next discovery, take to be truth and good. Still, there is another reason for peoples reluctance to change; The existing paradigm may be convenient. Would you want to change the paradigm if it placed you at the top, in power? This why discoveries become dangerous. They force the change of paradigms, and often a changing of the guard.
Existing Paradigms have never been more challenged or changed then by the Discovery of the New World, and especially the people inhabiting it. At the time, the Bible served as both the universal and heavenly paradigm, it was both the science and the religion. More accurately, the Bible was the religion at the time and religion was both science and morality. Religion can and did then explain life on two levels: the big LIFE – life on an evolutionary (for …