Pour La Dignité de la Femme

Pour La Dignité de la Femme

Paradigm Shift in Society par Ingrid Lindemann

Paradigm Shift in society

By Ingrid Lindemann, President WFWP-Germany


The term “paradigm shift” has found uses in many contexts – In humanities paradigm shift represents a major qualitative change in a certain thought-pattern – a radical change in personal beliefs, complex systems or organizations, replacing the former way of thinking with a radically different way of thinking.

In humanities and arts, paradigm shifts are also described as turns.

There are many examples of paradigm shifts especially in natural sciences.  Darwin’s theory of natural selection changed not only the scientific but also the philosophical view of life. Now we see the next paradigm change through neuro biology, showing that man is made to cooperate. This again will change the view of our world tremendously. Peace is possible!

A marvelous example of paradigm shift which deeply affects us as women has been described by Elisabeth Moltmann Wendel in her book “Man and women, ancient roles, new values”.

In the story of the woman of Samaria, who meets Jesus, the Jewish rabbi. At the well, Jesus develops a complete unusual image of man and especially of womanhood, unusual for the time of Jesus and usual for us today.

The woman of Samaria comes to the well with a jar to fetch water. Jesus, while talking to her refers to the symbolism and tells her that through the word that he is giving her, she can become a well, a fountain of independent, creative life. This is a revolutionary promise, because only God Himself so far had been seen as the fountain of life.

The woman is so exited hearing these words from Jesus that she leaves her jar behind, in those times the symbol of femininity, and runs back to her community to share her experience with her people.

Jesus implements a radical paradigm shift. Before seen as jar to receive water of life, the woman becomes the fountain of the water of life.

I am sure there are similar statements of other great teachers, philosophers and founders of religions.

Let`s have a look at our situation today.

Women have fought for equality and recognition and experienced that no one would roll out a red carpet for them.The external paradigm shift has been carried out throughout the last centuries, more or less complete, especially thanks to the influence of the women’s movement.

Freed for education, studying, work, positions in the different parts of society, women here in Europe and other continents now have to face an inner conflict, an internal disruption between the traditional image of womanhood, still alive in society and the new challenges, they have to meet. Even though we are not living in the beginning stage, still we stand in the midst of the balancing act between woman, wife, mother and working world. Who of us didn’t experience the physical and mental exhaustion in trying to accomplish all our commitments?

Not much time is left to consummate this paradigm shift, to renew the image of womanhood in ourselves.

But this is exactly what we need to do.  Mahatma Gandhi said: “If you want to change the world you have to be the change you want to see in the world.”

Only if the paradigm shift is consummated in ourselves, if we change our self-consciousness from “Jar” to “Fountain”, then the final internal paradigm shift can happen in society and especially in man. Let us be aware that as well as woman’s role also man’s role has changed. Also men need to review the traditional image of manhood. Creating this new anthropology and woman-and manhood will be the crucial alliance for the culture of peace.

We have to be aware that we are living in a unique situation and that because of the historical background and living in this century we have a special historical chance and commission.

In order to find ourselves and to bridge the conflict between traditional and modern challenges we need a shift in our consciousness right now, more than anything else, because, as Einstein said, “No problem will ever be solved at the level of consciousness in which it was created.”

Changing our consciousness will help us to become women capable to create the Culture of peace. This means to change from “fighting against an antiquated image of woman” to “creating an image of women building the culture of peace”. As long as we fight we remain trapped in the era of violence.

How can we attain this new level of consciousness?

Paradigm shift in the self image of woman takes place once we discover our dignity within us; once we allow our dignity to spring like an internal fountain. We uncover this fountain once we let go of antiquated paradigms, traditional concepts, prejudices and religious dogmata which devaluate woman.

Still today we find degradation and devaluation of woman in our society. Just think about rape, pornography, prostitution, trafficking and sexualized advertisement. If, indeed, we wish our men partners and society to complete the paradigm shift, one requirement has to be met – that of creating awareness of woman´s dignity and discovering, nourishing and valuing this dignity within ourselves.

Dignity is an immanent nature, an innate character of humans, independent from any other characteristics such as age, intelligence, abilities and sex. The philosopher Immanuel Kant spoke of the universal dignity within each human being.

This means that it is important to grant dignity first to myself and to be free of any doubt concerning it.

According to the Renaissance-philosopher Pico della Mirandola, man is free to determine his nature in accordance with his own will. He emphazised man`s freedom and God given ability to rise to the vision of the deepest secrets of the universe. Literally, he says: “what an enormous and admirable happiness of the human being, to whom it is given to have what he desires and to be what he wishes to be”.

Being aware of our dignity is equal to the creative aspect in man, which is in Jesus’ words, being the fountain of life.

The first steps are to understand who we are, to feel free to think and to act.

Sometimes this includes saying no, no to whatever we don’t really want to do. Then we can come to know where we really want to invest ourselves.

We only can discover our own value when we stop to depend on the appraisal of others.

A further step is becoming aware of our specific feminine qualities.

Women have often seen the difference between themselves and men as a hindrance. However, this also leads to a reduction in the value of the very qualities which are special in women, both in the biological field and the mental/spiritual field. These qualities must be rediscovered and consciously implemented in our lives.

Now is the time to learn to cherish ourselves, to realise that we possess special values, capabilities and talents which our society so desperately needs.

Many milestones have to be set on this new path.

Discovering our own value we find our dignity, vitality, the fountain of love. Everything exists in us in abundance, as in nature everything exists in profusion.

The fountain of love, joy and wisdom is deep in our soul. Throughout history the fountain has been buried within us. Therefore we always looked for external fountains and went as a jar to receive the water of life.

Let us take home all the wonderful inspirations of these days together to complete the paradigm change within us and help create the awareness that we are the fountain of life.

This paradigm shift will change society and together with the scientific paradigm shift that peace is natural for both man and woman we will create the culture of peace and heart. Thank you.


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