There are three errors of logic in every proposed paradigm that is being presented for our consideration today. These logical errors are failures to excise the present paradigmatic understanding of reality from casting its shadow upon the formulation of the new paradigm. To wit:

First, the problem of Time in any proposed nonduality, oneness, or non-separateness of all that is. If Time is a container for the whole, or any of its parts, then it is duality, multiplicity, and separateness. If Time is an aspect of the whole, but a container for its parts, then it is duality. If Time is a part of the whole, but a container for its other parts, it is a duality. If Time is made up of parts, only one of which is actual, then it is a duality. In all possible inventive contrivances, if Time is other than the nondual whole in any way, or incomplete in itself, as past and future times are the incompleteness of our naive understanding of linear time, it is a duality, multiplicity, and separateness. Thus, the new paradigm is defective in whole.

Second, the problem of Presence, which is alternately called Mind, Consciousness, or Awareness. If Presence is a faculty, entity, or fundamental aspect of an otherwise independent existent nature, or is the existent nature, and thus other than that which is natured, then it is nothing more than an abstract conceptualization of a character of the experience of what is. If it is merely reflective — of inner and outer, self and other, observer and observed — then it is, like time, duality, multiplicity, and separateness. If Presence is all there is, that is to say, that Presence presents itself, it creates an explanatory void that was once filled with our affect — the visceral nature of our experience, that arises from the spontaneous recognition of manifest forms, which is our fundamental validation of the world, and our experiences of it, and this is lost because Presence has no form. Thoughts, ideas, and concepts are not viscerally felt. If Presence is all there is, then there is nothing more than that — except, of course, Time is still needed, for what would presence without duration mean? If any of these faults holds, the paradigm thus implicates a necessary synthesis at a higher level, and therefore shows itself to be incomplete and invalid in and of itself.

Third, the problem of paradigmatic systems of understanding our experience of the world. The problem here is that in order to veridically establish a new paradigm, it cannot be explained by, contain, or be qualified by the old paradigm. But these paradigms are structural in our reasoning, and structure our understanding and experience, and so, although we may see the faults of the current paradigm, we cannot easily escape its structuring of our understanding, and our thoughts.

A new paradigm cannot arise in the place of one already there. We can tweak what is integrated into our comprehension all we want, but the fundamental structuring of our thoughts, ideas, and experiences of the world will not stray far from that paradigm. For example, substituting idealism for physical realism, results only in an adjusted vocabulary in which ideas are presented as as if they are real because they are causal, filling in for physical objects that were considered to be real. Even this last assertion will seem to be empty of meaning to one that hasn’t yet left the old paradigm behind, because “real” still has its old meaning, so what could that assertion be possibly saying? It’s saying the old conceptualization of “real” is the problem, not what is called real, which is ultimately just vocabulary.

This is simple to observe in the way that Mind, which is the necessary entity of idealism, even if it is not presented as personal, is not seen to require explication, but is held to be a fait accompli. But the only way to move to another paradigm is to completely empty the current authoritative paradigm — that structures one’s experiences and cognitive reasoning — of any validity at all. What seems obvious in the old paradigm, and perhaps ingenious in the new one, will never stray far from the present paradigm. This can only be accomplished by seeing through the unsubstantiated assumptions and unexplained faites accomplies of one’s existing paradigmatic understanding, and that, traditionally, is only possible by wielding profound meditative and contemplative practices that have been shown to be effective in accomplishing just that.

Simply thinking about things, ruminating at length, doesn’t budge anything, because thing-hood is the problem. While this understanding, in various forms, is central to a number of spiritual traditions, of which Buddhism’s “Emptiness” is the most well-known example, quantum-level phenomenon have challenged the idea that there are substantive things that are self-existent. David Bohm, the American physicist, posited that there is an implicit and an explicit physical order, where the explicit is what we naively take to be real substantial things, but which are only impermanent manifestations of a deeper, non-substantial implicit order.

But this central insight of Buddhism is not its crown jewel. It is, rather, the paradigm of the Great Perfection, that replaces thing-hood with a different way of seeing and understanding the world — as simply coherent responsive activity, absent any actor — that is the crown jewel, and to get there, you must first deconstruct and destroy everything you thought you knew about reality. But even here, the confusion between old vocabulary and new meaning, which presents itself in every popular description of the Great Perfection, ensures that its true perfection is lost on most people who read those descriptions without doing the practice to reach a direct experience of what is being described in terms that do not adequately fit the context.

One final point needs to be made regarding any proposed new paradigm: for it to be veridical in its description of the functioning of reality, its mode of functioning must be necessarily and universally the case. If any part of the proposed mode of functioning is superfluous, or mutable into a variety of possible ways of functioning, then the paradigm is incomplete as described, because it relies on some unstated principle that determines function, and is invalidated by this fault. If it fails to universally explain all phenomena, then it is incomplete as is, and is similarly invalidated by this incompleteness. But note well: an incomplete paradigm can be useful in the restricted range to which it applies, but usefulness is not evidence of validity. The Geocentric Model was useful for thousands of years, but it wasn’t true.

Today’s plethora of theories regarding various aspects of the physical model of reality is prima facia evidence that the physical model is not veridical, but merely useful.

These then, are the insurmountable obstacles to veridically escaping from the inculcated physical realism that undergirds our every experience and thought, unless we undertake the difficult path of first recognizing and then anathematizing the remnant structures within our experience and conceptual understanding that are the continued presence of the old paradigm.

ཨེ་མ་ཧོ། ཕན་ནོ་ཕན་ནོ་སྭཱཧཱ།
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