- Education and Science
The Gospel According to Them
What Do You Believe?
A paradigm is a theory or belief system that guides the way we do things. It can be defined as a pattern, habit, or model; a set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitute a way of viewing reality. It’s easy to buy into a paradigm when it makes sense and you know no better. It is not however always the wisest thing to do.
If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got.
Old wives' tales, urban legends, proverbs, superstition, folklore, etc. are often easy to adopt without question, but is it wise to take on new paradigms without fully understanding them?
A tall, old-fashioned glass-faced building in the town of Victim Regis housed the offices of Them. The large conference room was furnished neatly but without taste. The carpet was one shade of green, the walls another. The dark wooden table dominated most of the room and the bookcases and the three or four-hundred volumes in them looked tattered and used.
A large plaque displaying the words, THE ROOM OF THEY stood next to a few aged, skeletal typewriters.
The table was covered in papers. These were being moved around in some kind of logical order so that all appeared at least once before each of the thirty-three committee members sitting around the table making affirmative and often unconscious noises. Most of the papers contained only brief sentences and a few of them, pushed to the extreme left corner, bore twenty, rather messy looking signatures. The walls were decorated with ‘Their’ successes. These were the papers that had been approved and published for distribution and had changed the lives and thinking patterns of people everywhere
All of them were prefaced with the words, ‘THEY SAY THAT…..’
- It's got to get worse before it gets better.
- If there is no pain there is no gain.
- Bad things happen in threes.
- Rules are rules.
- A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
- An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
- Pride comes before a fall.
- Carrots improve your vision.
- You must feed a cold and starve a fever.
- A man who owes no money is a rich man.
- A poor excuse is better than none at all.
- Practice makes perfect.
- You don't need tonsils.
- You don’t need an appendix.
- You should keep your elbows off the table.
- There is a bug going around.
- Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
- You must drink sixteen glasses of water a day to be healthy.
- One day when you grow up….
- You mustn’t swim on a full stomach.
- You must respect your elders.
- Sugar gives you go.
- Men are all the same.
- You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
I’ve taught new tricks to many ‘old dogs’ and laugh at some of the things I used to believe. Some of the affirmations we live by have come to us in the form of quotations, idioms, proverbs, and sayings and we have allowed them to influence and shape our thinking. You can however choose the affirmations that you want to shape your life. How many of the above (and others) do you unconsciously buy into? Do you borrow other people’s thoughts and fears? Are you choosing your thoughts and beliefs consciously? Well, they say that........ No! Wait a minute, there is no They!
Open yourself to new learning by making a habit of challenging your paradigms. Have fun with it. Experiment with questioning your typical routine. Sleep on the other side of the bed. Take a different route to work. The next time you buy a magazine or newspaper, buy one that you wouldn't normally read. You might be pleasantly surprised or at the worst, you might just confirm that the habit is one that works best for you.
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Albert Einstein