On Paradigms ...
Humans build paradigms to think through and gain guidance in our process of moving forward. While this is a good thing we need to value that paradigms are human constructions that also have limitations. All theories, models, terms, and constructs emerge from paradigms.
When someone constructs a paradigm that excludes some knowledge, and then uses this same paradigm to deny this same excluded knowledge, they are making an error. The knowledge exists even if their new paradigm refuses to value it. When this same someone then pushes the knowledge she/he has excluded in their paradigm construction underground by ignoring, denying, or refuting it, they commit a grave disservice to the people whose knowledge they excluded when constructing their paradigm.
Alternately, if someone creates a paradigm because the old paradigm is not representing all the knowledge and another person who only values the old paradigm and thus who exists outside the newly created paradigm argues through the narrow criteria of the old paradigm as a way to discredit the new paradigm – she/he is engaging in a paradigm error and completely missed the point of the new paradigm.
The paradigms of western science and western economics that are narrowly rooted in objectivity, physical matter, linear progress, and profit are human made paradigms that have excluded the much needed element of the sacred in directing human thought and behaviour forward. Indigenous knowledge is the paradigm that we all need to re-value and return to. What is your Indigenous knowledge?
Dr. Lynn Gehl is an Algonquin Anishinaabe-kwe from the Ottawa River Valley. She has a section 15 Charter challenge regarding the continued sex discrimination in The Indian Act, she is an outspoken critic of the Ontario Algonquin land claims and self-government process, and she recently published a book titled Anishinaabeg Stories: Featuring Petroglyphs, Petrographs, and Wampum Belts. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and see more of her work at www.lynngehl.com.
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