A Relational Paradigm...Patterns for Change

Introduction: A Relational Paradigm

         A paradigm is a set of patterns which we use to understand our world. In science the patterns are called axioms; in religion, articles of faith. They are the starting point for any explanation, understanding or simulation of our reality. They are the rules by which we play the game.
          A new paradigm is a new set of patterns. It changes the rules.

          Rhetoric or logic is necessary but is not sufficient by itself for the introduction of a new paradigm. Logic by definition is based on the axioms of the paradigm. The use of logic to introduce a new set of axioms is subjective. It is analogous to the physician operating on himself. Control of the scalpel is difficult while under a general anesthetic.

          An objective as well as a subjective view is required. The objective view is obtained by observation, measurement, and evaluation of the results or applications which can be obtained using the paradigm.

          The need for a new paradigm emerges when the old no longer works. At the end of 1984 we are in that position. Whether we look at science, religion, economics, politics, philosophy, education, medicine or art the existing paradigms no longer offer solutions to the current problems.

          The introduction of a new paradigm is discontinuous. It is a jump to a new state rather than a sequential process or continuous evolution.

          Existing western paradigms have not dealt effectively with the discontinuous. The discontinuous has been associated with war or catastrophe—fire, flood, pestilence and plague. It has gotten a bad press.

          Creativity, understanding (eureka!), sex and laughter are also discontinuous.

          It is my intent that the relational paradigm provide the means for a pleasurable and peaceful transition to the new.

          A new paradigm is integrative. It does not discard the old but encompasses it as a special case of the new. The new relational paradigm can be used to overlay existing world views. Existing methods of operations do not have to be immediately changed to accommodate the new.

          Once the relational paradigm is understood, each individual and group can begin to experiment at their own pace with the capabilities offered by the new.

          The patterns for change in the new encompass the existing scientific method of experimentation, measurement, and evaluation, though evaluation has been expanded to include the following basic questions:

Does it work?
What are the results?
Does it last?
How does it feel?

          At this time, the relational paradigm is complete but in many areas it is still not clear. It has been introduced but not fully implemented. The patterns for change or states of transformation which a system undergoes are not yet clear. The patterns presented here can be used to document and understand the existing reality in which we live; the patterns for change will be necessary to provide an equivalent understanding of how that reality can be changed.

          The perception and intent of a few individuals were sufficient to handle the introduction. The perception and intent of many are required to handle the implementation.

          I welcome your participation and look forward to your feedback.

Dan Epp
December, 1984





Relational Paradigm

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