New paradigm science provides an understanding of how complex adaptive systems like people, families, and communities change over time. Although scientists have a new paradigm understanding of the way human systems achieve sustainable change, the process called self-organization remains a mystery to most non-scientists. This means we still have classrooms, social service programs, and mental healthcare approaches that are following a map based on an old paradigm scientific worldview.
Challenges produced by today’s scientific paradigm shift have been compared to the use of ancient maps that warned sailors to beware of dragons or to take caution because they were sailing close to the edge of the world. It has been a confusing time for many students, teachers, and mental health practitioners, because that ancient map metaphor accurately represents just how well old and new paradigm science fit together. We now know that sustainable outcomes are only achieved through complex adaptive system self-organization and that is rarely the same approach recommended by old paradigm practitioners.
Complex adaptive system self-organization occurs through interconnected patterns or simple rules that work together and not against each other. The number of old paradigm approaches that worked against each other are many. For example, some psychotropic drugs work against psychotherapist goals while others support them. Few of us have felt confident to challenge other healthcare practitioners who have opposing views regarding the way two very different interventions work together.
When we make a single change inside a complex adaptive system, it changes everything about the system, but changes can be subtle. For example, we are now beginning to understand that some pharmaceuticals support psychotherapeutic treatment goals because they increase mental flexibility. Increased mental flexibility supports habit change through new adaptive learning. It took time for us to discover that, and that is the same with treatment in a multi-sensory environment. MSE effects are used to promote flexibility in the brain and a practitioner–who is mindfully aware of how neuroplasticity occurs–facilitates the change.
So now you might ask, what does this have to do with the topic of promoting oneness. Paradigm shifts have always been followed quickly by movements that have promoted unity and a sense of oneness. That is partly because our brains have a negative response to feelings of exclusion when social turbulence is high and divisive. This is partly because our brains have a positive response to feelings of inclusion when we have an opportunity to once again find our “tribe.” These might be thought of as amygdala memories that interconnect us with other animals. The power of inclusion-exclusion dynamics is a neurobiological reality that we see in horses, cows, and dogs. It is a characteristic of all social mammals.
Oneness is a human system state that honors the social mammal in all of us while supporting our next step in neurobiological system evolution. Nondual patterns that allow us to overcome good vs. bad perceptions are unheard of in other social mammals through no fault of their own. We don’t expect a horse or cow to overcome their need to herd. We don’t expect a dog to overcome its need to follow pack rules. However, it is time for humans to overcome unconscious perceptions that we all tend to have that tell us, “if we are doing or wanting what is good, someone with opposing motivations must be bad.” Simple Rule #3 is to promote sustainable outcomes because overcoming the divisive force of the feeling of exclusion is an outcome that must last longer than our next need to find our tribe.