Perplexing Paradigms Over Which You May Ponder or The World Is Flat- Part 2

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COLUMBUS on his journey of discovery
COLUMBUS on his journey of discovery

TBH (social media slang for ‘to be honest’), until I commenced my studies at University, I didn’t have a complete understanding of the meaning of ‘paradigm’. The 4th definition in the Oxford English Dictionary describes paradigm as ‘a conceptual or methodological model underlying the theories and practices of a science or discipline at a particular time: (hence) a generally accepted world view’. The other important thing I discovered was understanding the meaning of ‘in context’ and as Clay Shirky says ‘information without context is meaningless’.

As I was reflecting upon the paradigms in the context of our modern technological era, Christopher Columbus came to mind. Crazy I know, however I believe he had a lot to do with discrediting the world is flat paradigm. I’m sure that he would be flabbergasted to discover that we are looking once again at a flattened global model in the new technological age. Thomas L. Friedman explains how in his book The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century. Friedman discusses his theory in an interview with WIRED in May 2005:

Several technological and political forces have converged, and that has produced a global, Web-enabled playing field that allows for multiple forms of collaboration without regard to geography or distance – or soon, even language.

In Castells’ Afterword-Why networks matter he discusses the development of the network society and links its rapid emergence to the ‘development of microelectronics and software-based communication technologies’. He points out that ‘without specific technologies some social structures could not develop’. Columbus would have networked in his own society however the desire to connect with unknown parts of the world, to discover and understand, is hardwired into our DNA. It is possible that the drive to overcome the tyranny of distance has enabled us to reach the position of today’s technological achievements. Friedman propels his theory into ‘real’ time when he says:

When I was growing up, my parents told me, “Finish your dinner. People in China and India are starving.” I tell my daughters, “Finish your homework. People in India and China are starving for your job.”

I think the flattened globe is a paradigm that will be with us for some time to come.



Siegel, E 2011, ScienceBlogs, weblog, accessed 20 August 2014,

Pink, D H 2005, ‘Why the World Is Flat’, Wired, Issue 13.05, viewed 20 August 2014,

Castells, M. (2004) ‘Afterword: why networks matter’. In Network Logic: Who governs in an interconnected world? (pp. 221-224) Viewed 20 August 2014,