Grand Paradigms

Completely contrasting the classical paradigm which described a clear purpose of life and placed god (or gods at the top of  the hierarchy of importance and power. The postmodern paradigm removes the connections to god and fate from our perception of the world. The uncertainty and ambiguity that are the basis of the thinking of this paradigm is simultaneously freeing and horrifically daunting: for many, the idea that their life is not predetermined or constantly judged by a greater force is liberating, to others, amputating the idea that we all hold divine duty within the bigger picture makes them feel lost. The postmodern paradigm rejects the idea that we are capable of producing objective knowledge. It is interesting to contemplate when, or why the postmodern paradigm will begin to collapse, and some suggest it’s already in the process of. The term coined a ‘fake news’ highlights a major issue currently experienced worldwide: with such a large flow in of information, we often cannot determine what is true and what is not. With such a large outpour of incorrect information it is not uncommon for people’s conclusions to be made of incorrect premise. To make matters worse, we have become aware of the increase in fake news leaving us sometimes in situations of radical uncertainty. In these instances where our theories and personal experiences cannot even guide us (as we don’t know which fact or alternative fact to believe or not believe), we do nothing. A clear example of this phenomenon is the climate change crisis, where many don’t know what to do or who to believe, so they make no change.

CU: Paradigms

#1 CU: The ability to identify and understand multiple paradigms, does not challenge the paradigm we hold if it doesn’t align with our individual values, or call for reason.  

At the end of last year’s softball season, the team was informed that we would be retracting our participation from the annual SEASAC event as it was hosted at an international school in Yangon, Myanmar. The country, packed with a myriad of different ethnic groups, has been under international attention since late 2017 for the ongoing atrocities committed against the Rohingya minority group through the local military’s large-scale campaign of ethnic cleansing. The climate in Myanmar opened up discussion and debate within the College over whether it was appropriate for staff, students and supporting parents to visit Myanmar. Looking back at the situation, I am able to highlight certain paradigms that arose. The values that outline the culture and attitudes of the UWC movement were interpreted various ways, lending itself as closely to remaining engaged as it does to standing up against atrocity. In short, there was not one standing definition as what was the ‘correct’ thing to do.The first is a very egocentric paradigm which showcased a sense of close mindedness towards the other perspectives simply because their own desires were jeopardized. This paradigm was concerned with the short term, individual consequences and believed that participating in the trip would not affect or help the Rohingya crisis diminish. The individual’s background and cultural upbringing may have influenced them to develop a paradigm which reasoned for personal gain over communal or societal gain. Personally I interpreted this paradigm as saying “no matter what we do our actions won’t make a difference to the greater issue.” The second Paradigm held was one that believed to see change we must set the example, and was more of a utilitarian perspective (the desire to withhold from travelling to Myanmar was the more favourable perspective within the international UWC community). Individuals with this second paradigm were still able to understand and empathise with those who held the first, but were not challenged to switch paradigms as the basis of which that paradigm was justified on was not aligned to what they valued. 

#2 CU: Not all paradigms are equally valid, as it a paradigm requires logical consistency even when challenged with new arguments. 

Reflective Statement 2

As I gathered an abundance of literary journals and academic papers, I found it overwhelming and time consuming to filter out and pick information I would specifically use in my writing. I used textbooks, journals and online academic papers to source research done by professors and authors. The expert opinions and perspectives I applied, strengthened the claims I made in my writing. As disability studies deeply interested me, I often caught myself writing off tangent and straying away from the focus of my paper, thus my supervisor advised me to minimise this habit by prioritising information and referring back to my plan of the structure of my essay. My supervisor thinks I must embed more research and context in my first few paragraphs where it has been overpowered by analysis. This is to ensure the purpose of my essay is clear and understood from the beginning.