Paradigms Beyond Civilisation
No paradigm is ever able to imagine the next one.
It’s almost impossible for one paradigm to imagine that there will even be a next one. The people of the Middle Ages didn’t think of themselves as being in the “middle” of anything at all. As far as they were concerned, the way they were living was the way people would be living until the end of time.
Even if you’d managed to persuade them that a new era was just around the corner, they would’ve been unable to tell you a single thing about it—and in particular, they wouldn’t have been able to tell you what was going to make it new. If they’d been able to describe the Renaissance in the fourteenth century, it would have been the #Renaissance. We’re no different. For all our blather of new paradigms and emerging paradigms, it’s an unassailable assumption among us that our distant descendants will be just exactly like us.
Their gadgets, fashions, music, and so on, will surely be different, but we’re confident that their mindset will be identical—because we can imagine no other mindset for people to have. But in fact, if we actually manage to survive here, it will be because we’ve moved into a new era as different from ours as the Renaissance was from the #Middle Ages—and as unimaginable to us as the Renaissance was to the Middle Ages.
Also published on Medium.