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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Galileo’s Injunction

Most people have heard of a court injunction. In the legal sense this is a requirement from the court that a certain activity be carried out or refrained from and there is usually an implication that there is also a do this  “or else” involved.

The idea of an injunction is that there is something that is required in order for there to be a specific result. An injunction might look like this. “If you follow a particular recipe, you will get a particular cake.”. From this injunction it might also be implied that if you don’t follow the recipe, you will not get the particular cake.

Throughout history there have been numerous scientific advances that have ultimately resulted in a paradigm shift that changed the way we live our lives. A paradigm shift occurs when a critical mass of people change what they believe or how they understand the way the world works. For instance, the earth was once thought to be flat and most people on earth did nothing in their entire lifetimes that contradicted this belief. At some point some began to believe that the earth was round. Once enough people began to change their belief, there was a paradigm shift.

It is interesting to look at this process. It often occurs one person at a time through human interaction. There will always be those people who question the current paradigm. They may be found in any field from science to philosophy. And there is always a second group of people who tend to want to maintain the status quo.

Finally, the largest group of people waits to see what others do and then this group will quickly and easily follow suit. This actually signifies that the paradigm shift has occurred.

Why do human beings look beyond the current paradigm? Why are other human beings willing to suppress revelations that could benefit humanity? History has shown that some have frequently gone to great lengths at the expense of others and humanity in general to insure paradigm shifts do not occur because it would jeopardize their status and control.

The classic case form history is Galileo’s telescope and the Catholic Church. Galileo challenged the position currently being supported by church that the sun went around the earth. Instead he claimed the planets orbited the sun and that the planet Jupiter had moons orbiting it. To support his claim Galileo offered the injunction “Look through my telescope.” Feeling that they could not deny the evidence of their own eyes, those who would seek to maintain the status quo refused the injunction. They refused to look through the telescope. This is not healthy skepticism. Science is not supposed to work this way.

Why should people who refuse to look at the evidence have the power to overrule those who are willing to consider what others feel is important? It would be like a juror who refuses to be present for the testimony but still wants to control the outcome of the trial. I think this was where Galileo took his stand. “If you don’t look at the evidence, you don’t deserve to get a vote on how the universe works!

Paradigm shifts are just as important now as they were throughout human history. Was the earth once flat and we recreated it to be round? Is there a parallel reality where we are still living on a flat earth? Human evolution comes from having the inquisitiveness and courage to question the status quo and the willingness to look at all the available evidence.


Blogger At Big Mind, Utah - Oct-Nov 2007 said...

Hi, Michael -

I always love the way you write.

One of the biggest paradigm shifts that have happened in our lifetime has been the information age (which only took 20 years, compared to 150 for the industrial revolution).

Another one was the jump to a world perspective when we saw our own planet, our little blue marble earth, from the vantage point of the moon. Never before had any human with human eyes ever seen the whole planet. This one picture alone has shifted us to a global consciousness. Quite incredible.

I think we are very close to another paradigm shift as the manifestation of consciousness just keeps on accelerating. It'll probably happen even more quickly than did the information age.

Hang onto your hat!

sending love,
Pat Parisi

12:52 PM  

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