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What Is A Cultural Paradigm?

Last updated on July 10, 2020

What Is A Cultural Paradigm?

The brain processes an insane 0.1 quadrillion instructions per second.

With that much going on, it’s no wonder they have adapted a couple shortcuts. For example:

  • Habits. At 3 pm I drink coffee.
  • Thought Patterns. i.e.; I am the sum of others’ opinions of me.
  • Classical Conditioning. I don’t drink tequila because one time it made me sick.

The brain is a fascinating and complex machine.

Even humans with superior, highly intelligent brains don’t fully understand how it works.

With that much responsibility — .1 quadrillion instructions per second — it makes perfect sense why some behaviors need to be run on auto-pilot.

But isn’t auto-pilot another word for unconscious?

In other words, it’s not actually great when we aren’t conscious of our feelings, actions, life and patterns.

For example, I don’t need coffee everyday and would love to kick this habit.

What Is a Paradigm? 

The auto-pilot, unconscious mode of the brain can also be called a paradigm.

A paradigm is a theory about how something should be done, made or thought about.

We often learn about paradigms in regards to personal paradigms.

For example, a guy named Jordan grew up in a bad neighborhood, doesn’t know his dad, and has an alcoholic mom who ignores him. Jordan’s brain analyzes his surroundings and forms his personal paradigm:

I’m poor and from a broken household and will never make it out of the projects. I’ll probably end up selling drugs or going to jail. 

Jordan’s brain unconsciously formed his identity. Jordan now believes he is destined for jail because his brain wanted to move on to other tasks.

Part of being a free human is disjointing you (heart and soul) from the machine (brain).

We are all born free and can be whoever we want, at any time.

In order for Jordan to disassociate himself from the false personal paradigm formed by his brain, he must first become aware of it.

This is what I mean:

Let’s say by 16 years old, Jordan is going down the wrong path (skipping school, petty crime, etc.). One day he meets a guy who designs clothes. With no warning, Jordan’s heart swells and he’s excited and curious to learn more.

Jordan discovered an authentic desire that stemmed from his soul.

This pivotal moment will expose Jordan’s false personal paradigm for the first time. It may take years, but the veil has been lifted and Jordan will learn that life and who we are is a choice.

Related Reading: What is Spiritual Healing?

How to Be Your Authentic Self

Authentic desires stem from the soul, not the brain, and are the catalysts often needed to become aware of limiting personal paradigms.

It is the obligation of each and every human to align with our souls, recognize its authentic desires, and honor them.

Do you love to paint?

This desire and pure enjoyment is not the outcome of your brain perceiving your surroundings and forming an identity for you.

This passion to paint is the longing of your soul.

Because we share a collective soul, it’s imperative you honor your soul which then honors my soul and humanity can evolve together.

Some souls love to dance, bake, build companies, be parents, design clothes or write.

No authentic desire or passion comes from the brain. The brain is a machine that only has thoughts and is not capable of feelings.

To illustrate the difference between the brain and the heart:

  • Kate longs to be a mother and can feel this desire deep in her chest.
  • Sarah wants to be a mother because she thinks it will bring her closer to her husband.

The soul feels desires seemingly out of nowhere and having no motive.

The brain thinks of desires and formulates how they can serve a purpose in that person’s life.

Related Reading: How to Connect with Spirit Guides

What is a Cultural Paradigm?

I reviewed the brain’s knack for shortcuts and the phenomenon of personal paradigms to

So if a personal paradigm is just a way the brain saves time…what is a cultural paradigm?

100% the same.

Cultural paradigms are also theories of how something should be thought about. However, they are slightly different because the purveyors of a cultural paradigm benefit from their adaption.

If you don’t think you’re worthy because you didn’t go to college (personal paradigm), it’s only you who suffers.

But does anyone benefit from you believing the sun orbits the Earth? If this were 500 years ago, the answer is yes, the Catholic Church.

Galileo presented heliocentric evidence to the Catholic Church only to have his publication banned for 200 years.

Maintaining the cultural paradigm, i.e., the Catholic Church’s power, outweighed the distribution of knowledge to individual humans.

Cultural Paradigm Examples

The sun orbiting the Earth isn’t the only time we’ve been tricked on a collective level.

Cultural Paradigm Purveyor/Beneficiary
Black people are inferior to white people. Enslaving them is fine. Slave owners
Fat causes heart attacks. Eat low-fat processed foods instead. Sugar industry
Women aren’t equal to men, and thus their place is in the home. Men

The American Dream is Dead. 

Cultural paradigms prevent individuals from discovering their authentic desires and becoming conscious of their personal paradigms.

Take a look at today’s brainwashing cultural messages:

#1. Do You Need a College Degree?

According to the media and the government, yes, a college degree is necessary to succeed.


A college degree will enslave you in debt in what are the most precious years of your life.

It fucking breaks my heart that kids unconsciously give up their freedom and options in life so they can work mind numbing jobs in order to pay back their student loans.

Look, it’s a dark subject but it needs to be said: This cultural paradigm was put in place to maintain control over the trajectory of the American people.

The message started out innocent enough, but quickly greed and power took over and stripped freedom away from millions of America’s young people.

Who has time to explore authentic desires and connect with one’s soul when hefty student loan bills are coming in each month?

Related Reading: The Untold Story of the Student Loan Crisis

#2. Is Buying a House Worth it? 

Definitely not.

Well, I should re-phrase this and say that buying a home using a 30-year mortgage is not worth it.

I say this because I own property myself, but resisted the massive economic machine that says I must use a mortgage to buy a home.

It turns out when you buy something you can afford, you don’t need to take on 30 FUCKING YEARS OF DEBT!

Because what does debt do? It enslaves you. Robs you of your freedom.

It’s not easy to align with your soul and express your authentic desires when you’re chasing paychecks to pay the bills.

The cultural paradigm in America dictates that owning a home is the American Dream. The government, the banks and a whole plethora of financial institutions need you to keep believing that homeownership is a sign of success.

Related Reading: Why the 30-Year Mortgage Sucks

#3. Investing for Retirement is the Responsible Thing to Do

Is it?

Investing for retirement in the stock market, which most people don’t understand, really that responsible?

Is trusting the government to uphold the tax benefits they tout for tax-sheltered accounts really that responsible?

Do they not realize we know they are trillions of dollars in debt? Do I really think they will keep their word?

Investing for retirement in tax-sheltered accounts like an IRA or 401(k), which primarily own stocks, is a dangerous cultural paradigm.

And clearly not one that benefits you.

A person can retire off whatever types of assets they want. Buy rental properties, start a business, buy land, do absolutely anything besides putting all your eggs into the stock market which is owned and operated by Wall Street.

Just common sense if you ask me.

Socking your money away for 30, 40 years, in one asset class and be forced to pay a penalty for touching your own money is absurd. Wall Street profits from this paradigm, and the government is off the hook (Social Security didn’t exactly work out).

Related Reading: Five Ways Retirement Accounts Are a Scam

In Conclusion

This article was an introduction to show how complex the brain is and how often it takes the lazy way out.

The laziness on the individual level, by way of personal paradigms, extends to a macro level, through cultural paradigms.

It makes me sad to meet people who don’t know the world is their oyster. Who don’t realize they are completely free to be whomever they like.

They fell into the traps the government set up for them and can’t figure out why they aren’t happy. Kids at fucking 18 years old are taking out loans and going to college because as a culture, we’ve lied to them and said that is how to succeed.

I hate seeing people buy homes they can’t afford and having no one around to explain the emotional and financial consequences of being in debt for 30 years. Let alone the math!

And don’t get me started on investing for retirement. Telling Americans to invest in an asset class they couldn’t explain to a 5th grader is immoral.

Consciousness is on the rise. More and more of us understand our emotional selves, our triggers, our fears, and how to overcome them. What I want to do is take the conversation to higher level.

The same manipulation our brains have over our lives, our “rulers” have over our brains.

Their objective may have started as control and greed, but the sad consequence is denied individual freedom.

We are born free and are free, but cultural paradigms have blinded people to their own truth.

One Comment

  1. Daniel Martin Daniel Martin February 25, 2020

    Hello Elizabeth,
    I was redirecting a student towards my Master’s Thesis, ‘Understanding Cultural Paradigms’, went to google it and see what came up. Surprise! Something was posted two days ago. While we take slightly different positions and stances on cultural paradigms, we also have some things in common.
    Furthermore the differences are something that I am working on in other philosophical papers for journals.

    What I found in my research is that cultural paradigms are unstable forms of knowledge. They do not determine being, and being does not determine them. There is a play, a dialogue, which occurs between being and knowledge. We observe roles being played, encode them with a relative degree of individual bias, which creates personal programs of truth about the cultural role. Then, when cultural existence forces us to assume cultural roles, we appeal to our personal programs of truth and enact our play of roles with our own relative style. This bias and style are subjective openings into the relationship between being and knowledge. In which, as Foucault states, ‘in such a discursive form of knowledge, there is room for enunciation breaks.” Those enunciation breaks are where subjects come in and edit the knowledge, and what is done about it: bias and style. One occurs when knowledge ‘speaks’, the other occurs when being ‘speaks’, those phenomenon are the enunciations in this dialogue between being and knowledge.

    In a sense, you are right that ‘cultural paradigms’ are not objectively true. However, as we interact with them they do become subjectively treated as if they are true (personal programs of truth), as motivation for the type of actions we take to play out our cultural roles. But there is a POTENTIAL, for any subject to say, “no I don’t think that generality is true, and I am going to understand it this way and act on it this way…” Though when subjects are treated like objects, or treat themselves like objects this whole process becomes more as you have described it in this blog.

    I would say that your average persons comprehension of this play in their lives is sub par. I actually started my thesis stating it seems like ‘we use cultural paradigms constantly, but that they are so common that they have become mundane, and not one really looks into them deeply enough’. Where I disagree with you is mostly in the tone of some rhetoric about lies, and trying to control brains. I mean, in some senses you are not wrong, but I am not sure its 100% as loaded as it sounds in reading the emotional tone of your words. Though I understand anger and frustration with the world, its order, and how people play along. But that is what I am getting at about my next stage of research…

    What you describe here is true, in that cultural paradigms are forced at times, and that the populous is not well enough educated to understand any of the process of how they are coming to conclusions or how they come to take certain actions. The problem in my new stage is that, my thesis takes something for granted; it takes active subjectivity for granted. But what happens when a culture forces paradigms? Tries to act like knowledge does determine being, that because of some idea, you a person must…. It destroys the growth process of cultural evolution.

    What brings it back to life, is what Nietzsche would call ‘life affirmation’, or seizing the potential of life, of subjectivity of creativity, imagination, and individualism which all can inspire healthy changes and new growth to the project of humanity which we are all embarking on. And subsequently, on the projects of culture which are subsections to that overall project of ‘becoming human’.

    So in a sense, I understand your frustration, when we are treated like objects, really slave units for capitalistic slavery, it appears as though cultural paradigms are evil. What I am suggesting is that they are not evil, they are necessary, but best left as an overture for subjectivity, and not oppressing subjects into objects and telling them who they have the potential to become. On one last note of agreement, just so that you don’t think I am against you, but genuinely trying to sort out how this ‘seemingly mundane article of humanity’, which is critical but overlooked, and what it could mean for us if we understood it more fully, I would say that cultural paradigms do not create laziness, however, someone who is lazy will likely do do an awful job of interacting with cultural paradigms as a subject.

    Anyways, super cool that you are taking an interest in this topic, it is incredibly fascinating. If you care to see what I wrote about cultural paradigms you can view my work on my universities repository for free. The link is below. Also feel free to contact me if you wish.

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