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6.31: Current Shift in Self-Concept

The major paradigm shift of our times is that from a mechanical model of our various systems to an organic model. Time after time, various thinkers in various fields, using their various languages, have argued for the need for such a shift.11

Like all important ideas, it was viewed initially as preposterous and will be viewed eventually as obvious. In its current transitional stage (no longer preposterous but not yet obvious), it is beginning to have an impact on public policy. By the end of the century, it will be obvious to all, and will have had a profound impact on policy. The major retarding factor will, of course, be the resistance of those with vested interests in the old paradigm.

The general consensus is that the great success of Newtonian physics caused other scientists to emulate the mechanistic model. The other natural sciences (that is, the study of the ecosphere), the social sciences (that is, the study of the sociosphere), and, most bizarre of all, the study of the person in the centre, looked at their subject matter as if it were part of the technosphere. Ironically, as all those disciplines followed in the footsteps of the physicist, the physicists themselves - for example, Fritjof Capra, David Bohm - have been among the leaders of the swelling movement to shift to organic models.12

The shift in psychology can be characterized as that from a behaviouristic concept of the person to a humanistic concept or the person. Those two concepts of the person are summarized in Figure 6-3 as two sets of five interrelated statements, each of which implies the next. Note that each statement within the humanistic concept of the person denies the corresponding statement within the behaviouristic concept.

11   For example:
Hamilton, Harold J., The evolution of societal systems. Los Angeles: Centre for Futures Research, Graduate School of Business Administration, USC, September 1984.

Henderson, Hazel, Creating Alternative Futures. New York: Putnam, 1978.

Skolimowski, Henryk, Eco-philosophy: Designing New Tactics for Living. Boston: Marion Boyers, 1981.

Markley, O. W. & W. W. Harman [Editors], Changing Images of Man. Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1982.

12   Fritjof Capra, The Turning Point: Science, Society, and the Rising Culture. Toronto: Bantam, 1983.

Bohm, David, Wholeness and the Implicate Order. London: Arc Paperbacks, 1980.