In graduate school, I read parts of Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. At the time, I found the book fascinating. To a certain degree, Kuhn argues that science contains a relative perspective when, in reality, we wish to perceive science as the new god—the omniscient interpreter of the universe.
Kuhn is not interested in arguing against scientific laws; he provides instead a logical progression of science. Sometimes better forms of science arrive to explain the universe, whereas the former laws are displaced or are no longer as useful. He calls this idea a paradigm shift.
I like the book because if we remain in one paradigm of knowledge, then how do we explore new ideas?
When discovering the various terms in Buddhism, I find that skepticism is first and foremost a foundational experience for growth. In Tibetan Buddhism, the “script” is too often mechanical and mundane for me to flourish as a Buddhist.
Step 1. Contemplate your Precious Human Life.
I grew up Protestant, and even the childhood songs I remember singing in church were scripted. At some point, I sat alone in my treehouse and wrote my own scripts. I did not change the script that much from the original, but unless we can script our own message, I don’t see much opportunity to contemplate the deeper questions of our reality.
Tibetan Buddhism is an oral and written tradition, and like many religious institutions, one follows the steps. However, to face the paradigm shift in reality that Kuhn engages, we must crack open the traditional script and find our path through the help of a teacher, a spiritual friend, and through our steps.
I am still reading the script because I have yet to transcend the script. In the past month, I have gone through many opportunities to crack the code of me. I lost my grandmother and uncle to old age and disease and had the opportunity to contemplate death and my precious life. Life is impermanent; I see it in the corpses of my relatives! Also, I have started a new life, so to speak, without my family’s home. We lost our home to the whims of the owners, and now we stand beyond our traditional comfort zone.
With no zone to feel confident, we are forced to realize confidence in self-expression by standing proud and recognizing this entire existence represents a minor illusion or daydream in the grand scheme of our lives and the universe.
To conclude, Thomas Kuhn writes,
The crises of our time, it becomes increasingly clear, are the necessary impetus for the revolution under way. And once we understand nature’s transformative powers, we see that it is our powerful ally, not a force to feared our subdued.
Let’s wake up to the transformative power of selflessness. Let’s shift our paradigm to an evolving creature when the material world seems too powerful. In the end, we die. We leave our toys behind. And we rise toward a new birth and revolution of spirit that we cannot identify until we arrive there. Let’s spread our wings and get ready to engage the paradigm shift.
Ready, set, go!