Where does your paradigm come from?

I’m hoping that this post can be an interactive one.  I know the whole premise of blogging implies the opportunity for interaction, but this one in particular needs it.  The purpose of this post is not for me to share what follows, but to induce others to share, creating a collective conversation that is greater in depth, breadth, and quality than any individual contributor could produce.

Paradigms….these are the frameworks, conscious and unconscious, that we use to make sense of our world.  They are the lenses that we see everything else through.  The ideas that guide our thoughts, distort or even create our perceptions.  From our perceptions comes our experience, which further informs our ideas about the world.  It is perfectly circular.  This circle can be sublime or tortuous, or most likely a bit of both, depending on the day. 

I firmly believe in consciously creating your own paradigms.  I reject out of hand that these things are inherited, pre-created, and culturally derived.  That may be for people who sleepwalk through life, but not for me and not for anyone else that dares to take up the reigns of guiding their own evolution.

That being said, I did not create my current incarnation of my constantly evolving paradigm in a vacuum.    Ideas from great thinkers, writers, artists, philosophers, and some everyday people have all contributed raw material to this structure that I’ve built.  So I’m going to attempt to list the top 10 sources of raw material for my paradigm.  As I write this sentence, I have no idea which of the many influences from my life search are about to make this list, but I am about to take the time to hash it out.  I will try and provide a brief intro to each of the items in this list without getting to lengthy. 

Again, the idea is for people to share persons, ideas, books, songs, movies, or any other kind of source that has deeply impacted or informed their personal paradigm.   There is no need to come up with at least ten, or to limit yourself to ten,  it’s merely an arbitrary number I picked for myself to give some structure to this post. 


Ok, I’m back.  This is what I came up with.  These are in no particular order (ranking these things seemed to be a futile exercise)

  • An infomercial for self hypnosis tapes that aired in 1984
    • This was my first exposure to the idea that human potential exceeded what the majority of people displayed in ordinary life.  (I was 6 years old)
  • The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy
    • I found this book when I was 7 years old, and it was really the beginning of my love affair with the genre of books associated with human potential, development, and ultimately spirituality.
  • Louise Burrell-Christe
    • My grandmother taught me about devotion, spirituality, and that the Divine is not just something to talk at, but also something that will talk back if you listen.
  • Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch
    • These books helped me to heal a schism that had formed in my young mind.  I had deep spiritual experiences associated with the ‘G’ word, but so much dogma and rules attached to the word “God” that I couldn’t reconcile the two.  This series of book helped me to re-conceptualize what the Divine is in such a way that it worked well for my evolving paradigm.
  • Integral Life Practice by Ken Wilber, et al
    • This is really just my favorite of a long list of books about the integral theory.  It is about putting integral theory into practice, integrating mind, body, spirit, and shadow.  The AQAL framework does a great job of holding all sorts of things and showing the relationships amongst them.
  • Simplified Magic by Ted Andrews
    • I had always been drawn to the meditative science of the Qabala, but this was the first work that seem to demystify the mystical enough for me to finally be able to understand why I was drawn to it.
  • The Ancient Secret of the Flower of Life (Volume I and Volume II) by Drunvalo Melchizedek
    • Probably  the weirdest book on the list, but one of my favorites.  It is possibly the most complete information I’ve ever found in a single source about Sacred Geometry.  
  • The band Tool. 
    • Maynard James Keenan’s lyrics speak to my path, what I’ve been through, how I’ve gotten where I am, and the kind of bizarre spirituality that I’ve carved out along the way.
  • The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene
    • A simplified explanation of string theory that solidified the foundation left in my consciousness by The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra.
    • My Big Picture Theory of Everything (My Big TOE) by Thomas Campbell
      • Helped to smooth the edges in my consciousness between my scientific and spiritual tendencies. 


I could go on.  The list is actually very, very long and continually growing.  And here’s the not so hidden agenda behind this (hopefully) interactive post:  I’m always looking for something new to add to this list, something that will send me reeling in a whole new direction the way each of these ten did.  So please, share.


merkaba33 is a contributing writer for projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.



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4 responses to “Where does your paradigm come from?

  1. The works of Albert Camus, especially “The Rebel” in regards to the power of “NO.”

    A piece of hematite and conversation with a witch at the age of 14 in a metaphysical shop.

    The music and sounds of Jimi Hendrix.

    The animated feature of “The Last Unicorn” that I saw as a child set me on a path that I frequently visit if I am not walking it at the time.

    The scientific method utilized in the clinic as well as academic science.

    The films of Alejandro Jodorowsky.

    “God and the New Physics” by Paul Davies. “The Red Queen” by Matt Ridley. “Imajica” by Clive Barker.

    Lessons from social networks constructed in undergrad as well as a more recent attempt. One big question that was never explicitly discussed was the interaction of the group mind with the individual: how much of the individual was retained and self-possessed verses how much of it was excised, dissipated, absorbed or sacrificed for the group. We were trying to break boundaries before we actually knew where they were and why (the deep why as well as the surface why). Roles within the group were assumed rather than agreed upon. That which we fought against we had become. In these experiences, I came to understand more of my nature of an individual and how I, specifically, work within a group setting and how I perceive individuals within a group setting. Much to some of their dismay, certain traits of mine that were unsavory to them became a valuable asset to me. The experience allowed me to reclaim my eyes (and I’s) as mine.

    Absurdist philosophy, Buddhism (Vajrayana), the art of Penny Slinger, Alex Grey, Escher and Man Ray.

    My experience with lucid dreaming and automatic writing.

    Numerous conversations with close friends and mentors.

    I could go on, too, but that would be as rude as talking to listen to my own voice. If you’ve made it this far in reading my response, thanks :)

  2. Philosophers: Frederich Wilhelm Nietzsche, Socrates, Diogenes the Cynic, Alan Watts, Wang-Bi

    Teachers: Steven Howell, Doug Engelhart, Matt Jordan

    Musicians: Anthony Kiedis, Trent Reznor, Varg Vikernes (though I condone neither racism nor the burning of churches), David King

    Assorted Others: My aunt Regina Brett, who is one of the nicest people I know despite having been through inordinate amounts of hardship and suffering, and an undergraduate crush named Megan, who at the time struck me as the wisest human being on the planet.

  3. kevinkmjr

    Again, in no particular order…

    Star Trek, Star Wars, and Sci-Fi in general: I do not consider myself a hardcore Trekee, I do not own any memorabelia outside of the movies themselves, but these TV shows and movies have definately been an influance on my life. They taught me to think above and beyond what what visably avialable and possible.

    Ecclesiastes 3:1: “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…” This taught me, early in life, to take the good with the bad. It is also the only verse in the bible that I know, lol.

    Kevin Siembieda, Gary Gygax, & Dave Arneson: These men were responsable for creating the role playing games of RIFTS & AD&D. I learned how to act, problem solve, work with a team, stratagise, and think outside the box through these games.

    G.I.Joe: because knowing really is half of the battle.

    My Wife: being married gives you lessons for the remainder of years with your partner, wether you want the lessons or not.

  4. Po

    Nirvana – This is the first band that really resonated with my young self. It opened the doors to musical exploration, learning guitar, lyric writing, and ultimately being in a couple of bands. I’ve since moved on to less angsty more cerebral music but the band still remains very dear to me.

    Sports – I’ve played them all of my life but high school football was the most significant to me. It taught me the value of teamwork and that I have the ability to push through both physical and mental pain. It was a “commitment to excellence” that Aristotle would haven been proud of.

    College Friends – They introduced me to philosophical wisdom and teachings. After meeting them my starved mind grew by leaps and bounds. Thank you.

    Drugs – I experimented with MJ for about two years in college. I used the drug to think unconventionally and conduct the occasional thought experiment. It marked the beginning of a certain philosophical break through. I also took psilocybin on one occasion and it still remains one of the most profound “spiritual experiences” I have undergone. It consisted of partial ego-loss and a certain almost indescribable feeling of oneness with the cosmos. In sequence this experience led me to consider Eastern Philosophy for the first time in my life.

    The teachings of Siddhartha Gautama – Buddhism were my first introduction into spirituality. It taught me to think beyond pure materialism (something I still have trouble with). I’ve read dozens of books based on his teachings, particularly ones with a more modern touch to them. I’m very fond of Alan Watts.

    Poker – I’ve spent the better part of four years dedicating myself to becoming a highly successful poker player. The game still remains a huge part of who I am and I’m now making more money playing it (by far) than I do with my measly corporate salary. I suspect in the future the game will allow me the financial freedom to follow through with my dream of owning a small business.

    The essay ‘Animal Liberation’ by Peter Singer – I now give all animals’ ethical consideration and thus I refrain from eating meat.

    My girlfriend Sara – She taught me how to love again after being in relationship hell with a malicious and psychologically wounded person.

    Media – I identify with the following media:
    Films by Kubrick, art by Salvador Dali, books by Herman Hesse, music by Wilco, Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes and more, the philosophical teachings of Nietzsche, Sartre, Buddha, Watts, Mills, and now I’m starting to get into some new-age stuff… only time will tell if I incorporate it into my paradigm.

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