A paradigm is the framework that an individual uses to make sense of some part of the world.

 If you notice, for the first time, that a) when you eat a lot of sugar b) you seem to feel a lot of energy, you will try to explain the connection between those two events in your mind. Depending on your history, and other factors, here are some possible paradigms you might come up with.

1) The Magic Paradigm. Maybe when you eat sugar some genies magically energize you.

2) The Drug Paradigm. Maybe sugar is a drug that causes you to release energy.

3) The Energy Paradigm. Maybe sugar is energy, so the energy you feel is not from you but from the sugar.

For most people in a technological society, the most important dynamic is group vs individual.

At the heart of every tradition that lasts sustainably, including all religions, is the objective of seeing individuals who do not take their identity from a group. In a primitive society this involves a tremendous psychological process. But in a modern society there is often no real transition, and the result is that no true individual is formed.

People are misled into believing that there is something good about spending all of one's life jumping from one group to another. People in modern society are often taught, in an Orwellian way, that their independence is actually derived from their membership in a group.

The popular Western paradigm has thought as the cause of action.

That means that a person has a thought and that thought can then create or cause an action. The implication is that will is on top of action.

There is a tv comedian joke about a person wandering the streets of a city saying "Hello" "Well thank you" "I don't know" etc. In another city, hundreds of miles away, there is another person wandering the streets saying "Hello to you too. You look healthy" "Do you know what time it is?". The two halves of the conversation are occurring hundreds of miles apart, between two "mentally ill" people who appear to each be alone, but otherwise it is a normal conversation.

This page will be a collection of interesting diagrams on psychology topics.

The first diagram below explains a vast part of human experience in a simple mathematical drawing. A person can spend years in college without learning as much as is compacted into this diagram.

 

A diagram from the book Open Secrets by Walter Truett Anderson

 

 

 

It is well known that the "science" of mental illness is actually economics.

Research goes in the direction that will produce money for the groups doing research. Here is an example of a research path that could lead easily to a food based treatment for a major mental illness, but instead will probably result in the creation of an expensive new medication with horrific side effects.

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17573079

http://questioning-answers.blogspot.com/2012/08/kynurenic-acid-hypothesis-schizophrenia.html

The Mpemba effect is a good example of both the limits and the usefulness of paradigms.

The Mpemba effect is the unusual phenomenon of hot water freezing more quickly than cold water. Generally, if you put a cup of hot water and a cup of cold water in the freezer, the hot water will often freeze first. There are a lot of explanations that people have come up with for the Mpemba effect, but generally they are all within existing paradigms.

Here are some of the unknowns / variables a person might look at.

1) How long has the water been at its current temperature? There may be some unknown property, a "temperature memory" that makes water that has been at a certain temperature for 5 minutes different than water that has been at that temperature for 2 hours.

2) Water may have memory for some other influence. Such as air pressure or additives that have been dissolved in it (but are no longer present).

3) More mundane factors may be ignored in some cases. Such as volume of the containers, depth, shape, etc.

Here is a paragraph about the melting point of sugar, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/26/sugar-melting_n_909712.html

"The sugar melting study showed that the reason scientists and cooks haven't been able to isolate a definitive melting point for sugar is that sugar doesn't melt—it decomposes. This means that, rather than melting at one definitive temperature, sugar can become a liquid at different temperatures depending on heating rate. If you heat sugar quickly, using extremely high heat, it will melt at a higher temperature than it would if you heat it slowly, using low heat."

 Any particular quality of something is on a continuum, but qualities themselves are also.

If you say someone is "short" or"tall", their "shortness" or "tallness" is a useful description because it puts that person on a specific place on a continuum, from short to tall, or tall to short.

The relevance of paradigms to computer hacking is a very under reported topic.

Most people assume that the key to "brilliant" hacking is knowledge or mastery of some aspect of computer science. Actually the best hackers do not work at all within the architecture of computing.

 A computer is a very small system. Even the most complex computer is notable not for what it can do, but for its limitations. A person who learns every aspect of a computer or network has, more than anything, learned and accepted a series of limitations. They have acquired an inaccurate set of rules, or boundaries. A faulty paradigm.

One paradigm useful in mental illness.

Pharmaceutical companies and psychiatrists have developed an elaborate and enormously lucrative business around the supposed "incurability" of mental illness. They have a plump cash cow that makes them very wealthy, but does no good whatsoever for the mentally ill. This page draws the outline of a paradigm that is much more useful, even if no one will make money on it.

Among the real experts in psychology, not Ph. D.'s or M.D.'s, but rather those authentic doctors who have studied medical traditions passed down for thousands of years, the single element every psychological process revolves around is awareness. In other words the first step in an accurate paradigm that is useful to the mentally ill is to see the problem in terms of awareness.