Thursday, November 14, 2013

Anomalies: keys to the emerging paradigm

Marginalizing anomalies ensure that we remain stuck, hung up, suspended.

In the process of learning and observing, we will necessarily come upon anomalies—elements of experience and observation that don’t fit our current working hypothesis. Anomalies show up in academic studies as all of the data that don’t fit the expectations of the experiment or study. 

Anomalies show up in advertisements for legal drugs as disclaimers as to “side” effects. A drug has effects. A particular drug has effects the pharmaceutical company wants to market and make money on and it has effects that will make it less likely that the company will make a lot of money. It is this second group that they call “side” effects. They wish to marginalize these effects, to make them less important, to say they don’t matter. These are anomalies that don’t fit their making-money-hand-over-fist-no-matter-what-it-does-to-people paradigm.

Over time, anomalies grow in number and importance. At some point, our working paradigm will require that these anomalies be dealt with. Honesty and humility require that we keep an eye toward the anomalies, to those data that do not currently fit our working hypothesis; for, in those anomalies are answers for questions that we currently have, are in the process of formulating, or have yet to formulate.

Marginalizing anomalies ensures that we will remain exactly where we are. As long as we maintain our hypotheses despite growing evidence that change is needed, we ensure that our hypothesis will go from being a working hypothesis to an ineffectual one.

The mind likes clean, crisp lines, but the fact is, experience is full of data that doesn't fit our current conceptions.

When we go from having a working hypothesis to believing that what we have is absolute truth, we ensure that what we now hold to be true will at some point result in alienation of ourselves, both from the truth and from living effectively. We ensure a growing sense that we are light and all the rest of the world is wrong. We ensure that it will require “faith” in the edicts of an outside source, acquiescence to an external authority—text, institution, or deity. We ensure that what we want to call the “truth” is nothing more than an oppressive paradigm that likely does very little good in the lives of its adherents. We ensure that our only hope is the arrival of information that mercilessly (or mercifully, from a certain perspective) levels our machinations.

The Tower Card from the Thoth Deck -- signifies the abrupt arrival of paradigm-shifting information.

In a deck of Tarot card, The Tower Card, one of the Major Arcana, reveals that upheaval is coming. This disruption is in the form of realizing that all that one has believed is wrong, flawed, misguided, or just plain credulous. The Tower Card invites us to look at our view of the world, our view of ourselves and be open to change as we come into deeper and more expansive perspectives of all that is.

A spiritual journey is a road to transformation, one of a thousand and one paradigm shifts that get us closer and closer to knowing our Authentic Self and where we fit in the universe. To embark upon a spiritual journey is to adopt the notion that what I currently hold to be truth is nothing more than a working hypothesis. If we are honest and humble, we soften the blow of those times foretold by the Tower Card, when all of the anomalies we’ve been holding at bay crash in and require that we modulate our hypothesis. If we are open, we come to find a deeper, wider, more expansive sense of what is true, and maximize our relationship to that expanding reality.