"Paradigms slow to accept
(from his column, 'Hard Regard')
It seems that whenever I begin to feel a little smug about my college education along comes a little bit of information that turns my previous understanding upside down.
Recently, I had an ephinany that was like a slap in the face.
What was astounding about this bit of information was not just that I had never heard it before, but after hearing it I began to think that maybe something it was something I should have known all along.
Instead, the hearing of this information altered my world view -- upsetting one of my historical paradigms.
Mow, maybe you have had a paradigm meltdown, too. Or maybe you know of someone who has had such a thing happen. It happens when some new information suddenly displaces old information like the proverbial "kicking over the apple cart."
One moment you are secure in your well-founded educated world view developed during years of indoctrination inthe American Educational system, adn then one day all that history you worked hard to learn turns out to be wrong.
It's embarrasing and you might feel like an idiot because suddenly it seems that everybody already knows all about it.
A similar experience happened to me when I learneed the truth about Santa Claus. I could hardly wait to tell my budies whjat I had learned, but almost before I could get all the words they were telling me that they aalready knew it.
Galileo provides another example of this kind of experience. During his lifetime the belief that the sun revolved around the earth was questionable. Then, when Galileo trashed the old idea that the sun was the center people got quite disturbed by his paradigm-busting news.
They became so disturbed that he was told to "shut up or die." It seems people either hate the truth or prefer the lie.
The problem is made more difficult because the perpetrators of inaccurate and incomplete information add up to a whole lot of people. In fact, so many people have been perpetuating wrong information for long that untruths have the ability to become believed as the truth.
Hitler was famous for his manipulation of the truth (and people) by simply telling the "big lie" loud and long enough adn peple would eventually begin to believe it in spite of the evidence to the contrary.
Similarly, when it was first suggested that the Vikings were the first outsiders to discover the New World, some people were upset. It upset the paradigm.
However, the evidence was irrefutable and after a while everyone got used to the idea and a new architecture of thought developed. So, I was just getting used to the odea of Vikings first when my new history book tells me that there were "Black Africans" already here waiting for Columbus arrived in 1492. What?
Unfortunately, my cynical side suspects it was not considered worthy information because it was not "white-washed" or "Anglo-cized" enough. Yet it is significant information that doesn't rely solely on Columbus' statement. It is based on archeological evidence as well.
I wonder, if history had always been written so that everyone got their due, do you think it possible that there would be fewer narrow-minded people today?
One truth is certain: there is no greater evil than ignorance.