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Showing posts from November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Paradigm Shift

Thanksgiving Day and paradigm shifts. I got to thinking about the connection between the two when I read the following sentence: “Do you realize that OK looks like a little stick figure man, sideways?” At first I didn’t know what the writer was talking about; I’d never seen OK as a sideways stick figure before. But sure enough, if you stare at it long enough and think, “sideways stick figure,” something in your brain shifts and bam, all of a sudden the stick figure appears. Except of course it doesn’t appear…it’s always been there. It’s just that my brain, in 48 years, had never seen it that way before. And now each time I see OK I see a little stick figure man on his side. That’s called a paradigm shift. The term “paradigm shift” has suffered from overuse, but it’s an important concept with solid roots: I remember hearing it for the first time in a philosophy class in college, when we were studying Thomas Kuhn, who coined the term. Kuhn’s argument was that advances in science are not