Just like in the movie “The Matrix,” you don’t have a paradigm for the way the world works… a paradigm has YOU.  Your paradigms determine your patterns of thought & behavior below the conscious threshold. So, what is a paradigm?

A paradigm is a framework that includes all of the commonly accepted views about a subject, a set of values, assumptions, concepts, practices, and ways of viewing reality that a community of people accept and use in common to make sense of the world. It forms a particular vision of reality that is the basis of the way a community organizes itself. Paradigms can be thought of as mental models that are used to interpret the world. They exist in every aspect of life, from science and academia to business and culture. They guide what we see, how we think, and how we behave.

Paradigms can change or shift. These paradigm shifts occur when the dominant paradigm under which normal science operates is no longer capable of explaining new or problematic observations. The resulting changes are usually drastic and have significant implications. For example, in science, a paradigm might be the accepted theories and laws that frame scientific study.  A classic example of a paradigm shift is the change from a geocentric (Earth-centered) to a heliocentric (Sun-centered) model of the solar system in the field of astronomy. It’s easy to see that a heliocentric paradigm results in behaviors that allow modern scientists to, for example, send probes to extraterrestrial planets and that a geocentric paradigm would result in disasters.

Another example is the shift from a paradigm of purely classical physics, to one that incorporates modern physics, special relativity, general relativity, and quantum mechanics. The modern world could not operate the way it does without a deep understanding of modern physics: lasers, GPS, transistor-based computation, etc.

Yet another example of a paradigm shift, and the one that The New Human University is leveraging, is the transition from a purely pathogenic approach to one that incorporates salutogenic concepts. Previously, the dominant paradigm was focused on disease, diagnosis, and treatment, wherein the “treatment” was anti-pathogenic. The salutogenic approach broadens this to include the promotion of health and wellbeing, and the study of health-promoting factors, changing the focus from disease to health.

We believe this seemingly small shift from a pathogenic paradigm to a salutogenic one
promotes a radical shift in the species towards the New Human.

Paradigmatic Influences

In a broader sense, paradigms can influence our patterns of thinking and behaving in the following ways:

  • Perception: Our paradigm acts as a lens through which we view the world. It shapes our understanding of what we consider to be normal, acceptable, and possible.
  • Decision-making: Our paradigm can greatly influence the choices we make, as it determines what we value and what we consider to be important.
  • Behavior: Our paradigm guides our actions. For example, if we believe that success comes from hard work (a paradigm), we will likely put in more effort and persist in the face of challenges.
  • Interaction with others: Our paradigms shape how we relate to others. For instance, if we operate under a competitive paradigm, we might see others as rivals, whereas if we operate under a cooperative paradigm, we would be more likely to seek out collaborative relationships.
  • Change and Adaptability: Our paradigms can influence how we respond to new information or experiences. A rigid paradigm may resist change, whereas a more flexible paradigm might embrace new ideas or adapt more readily to changing circumstances.

The Salutogenic and Pathogenic paradigms are two contrasting ways to view life, wellbeing, illness, and healthy behaviors.

  1. Pathogenic Paradigm: The pathogenic approach is the traditional model of health and illness that most people are familiar with. This model is based on the concept of “disease” (pathos) and focuses on diagnosing, treating, and curing disease. The main purpose of the pathogenic paradigm is to identify the causes of diseases and eliminate them via ANTI-PATHOLOGICAL methods.  It assumes that health is simply the absence of disease and therefore does not acknowledge promotion of salutogenic mechanisms. Most Western medicine is rooted in this paradigm, and it’s evident in practices such as symptom management, pharmaceutical interventions, and surgery.
  2. Salutogenic Paradigm: The salutogenic approach, on the other hand, takes a more holistic view of health. It focuses on factors that support health and well-being, rather than just on factors that cause disease. The term “salutogenesis” comes from the Latin word “salus” which means health, and the Greek word “genesis” which means origin. This approach is concerned with understanding the resources and processes that generate health, and it emphasizes the promotion of positive health outcomes, rather than merely the prevention or treatment of disease. The goal of the salutogenic approach is to enhance people’s health resources, including physical, mental, and social capacities. It is PRO-SALUTOGENICAL while acknowledging anti-pathological methods
The consequences of anti-pathological behavior are not equivalent
to those that are pro-salutogenical…


Paradigmatic Comparisons

So, to summarize, the main differences between the two paradigms are:

  • Focus: The pathogenic paradigm focuses on diagnosing and treating disease, while the salutogenic paradigm emphasizes the promotion of health and well-being.
  • Health Definition: The pathogenic paradigm views health as merely the absence of disease, while the salutogenic paradigm takes a broader view of health, considering it a resource for everyday life.
  • Approach to “Treatment”: The pathogenic approach uses interventions like drugs and surgery to treat disease, while the salutogenic approach looks at ways to strengthen health, including lifestyle changes, mental and social activities, and strengthening of the individual’s ability to cope with stress.
  • Patient’s Role: In the pathogenic model, the patient is generally passive, receiving care from medical professionals. In the salutogenic model, the individual has an active role in maintaining and enhancing their own health.

Keep in mind that these two paradigms are not mutually exclusive. For example, many healthcare systems and providers use a blend of both approaches, recognizing the value in treating illness (pathogenic) but also working to promote overall health and prevent disease (salutogenic).

PraxisAletheia: towards a new paradigm

In the next blog post (Part 2), we’ll explore the consequences of adopting each paradigm and how it plays out at The New Human University and in our training programs. If you’d like to learn this New SalutoGenic ThriveStyle of the New Human, apply for PraxisAletheia!  Watch this webinar, complete and application, and, once approved, schedule an enrollment interview.

Stay tuned for next week’s blog to learn about the consequences of adopting a pathogenic or salutogenic paradigm…