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PARADIGM PARALYSIS The Swiss for most of the 20th century were pioneers in the trade of watch making They dominated the industry no other country produced watches that were more in demand However due to a simple yet remarkable innovation this changed The innovation of Quartz as a means of keeping track of time would become the most common method used to construct watches in the modern era The inventor was a Canadian born engineer named Warren Morrison When he presented his ideas to the Swiss watch making industry it was completely rejected His idea did not receive any recognition until he presented it to a Japanese group representing a company called Casio Ever since the dominance of the Swiss watch making industry was lost simply due to their inability to think beyond their current model of what a watch should be This is a classic example of the effects of a phenomenon known as paradigm paralysis In a scientific context a paradigm is an accepted perspective that sets limits to an individuals perceptions of a particular branch of knowledge However in a more general context a paradigm can also be a shared set of assumptions that dictate how we perceive our world Paradigms are very helpful because they facilitate the development of expectations about ones life based on these assumptions However concepts or ideas that exist outside the scope of a paradigm such as using Quartz are usually rejected completely If something cannot be taken into account within the paradigm then this creates a threat to the legitimacy of the idea To avoid this conflict one must implement a change in his or her belief-system concerning that issue Change however is not something easily fulfilled thus the easier alternative is to reject the validity of the new concept This intellectual or psychological inertia represents the paralysis of the paradigm The ideas presented in Barry Commoners essay Unraveling the DNA Myth
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