A very preliminary rough draft as of Thursday, 24 September 1998 10:59:24 South Australia

(Meaning: Paradigm Paranoia)

This area is in a revisionist stage

Meaning has become such a diversional concept that we have come close to losing the meaning of meaning. What the Internet provides is a multi-voiced, constantly reinvented construct of meaning accessible and interpretable by all. Meaning is no longer the sole domain of religion, philosophers, scholars, or the self-chosen chosen; the elite in society who for thousands of years have been predominantly men.

This area is in a revisionist stage

It seems to be fashionable to be paradigm spotting of late. Though "...it is foolish to try and pound a square pegged paradigm into the round hole of debate (Rowland, 1982a, p. 140). There are the metaparadigms, Integrity Paradigm (Rose, Benking, - The Integrity papers), yesterday's, tomorrow's, shifting paradigms, The New Evolutionary Paradigm" (Loye 1990), Cognitive Critic Metaparadigm, Feminist paradigm (Spender), Transient Decision Making Paradigms and on and on.

NOTE: since 1998 when I was writing this most of the links have been deleted --- a lot to say about how important these folks are.

Everyone wants to either come up with the new model or be the one who perfectly combines models. We live in the cloning age. Chop and change, a thought molecule here and a visional molecule there. Link and clone - that is the new paradigm. A hybrid model that does away with the old and unworkable and clones the best bits. From Dolly the cloned sheep to http the cloned metaparadigm.

Will there be a Nobel Prize or an Oscar for the paradigm that will save life on this planet? Is it science or is it an act? So many words, so many concepts, so few results. How about a paradigm terrorist who blows up the paradigms, leaving us to pick up the pieces and start anew. Excuse me, I strayed from my original thesis; that dealing with meaning.

But firstly, a slight time-mapping to how we got to where we are, here, in this space, so desperately seeking the new paradigm.

This area is in a revisionist stage

The story must and will be changed. The Internet will change literature. We will no longer be served myths for our sustenance. Now is the time to link to the truth. The influence of the Internet on humanity hopefully will be to break down the control structures of the past. The stories of the past are fine, as long as we pass on to our children that they are based on superstitions. The stories are just metaphors. When people did not know the answer they created a myth to explain it. Meaning must change for our survival. One-half of the population can no longer dispense meaning for all to swallow.

Until women are given equal voice, this planet does not stand a chance of making it into the next millennium. As long as one-half of life is discounted all life is threatened. The balance of power must change to become the balance of power. For thousands of years the balance of power has been the domain of one gender, one social grouping - in other words there has not been a balance of power for thousands of years.

This area is in a revisionist stage

I am neither the mouthpiece for my feminist-atheist-girlfriend or a follower of any particular political-religious-philosophical group or a flag waver of the new-age baby boomers.

This area is in a revisionist stage

I am not rebelling against anything, except, for the occasional times I rebel against my two-teenagers, after they have rebelled against the Terrell-paradigm I have created so carefully for them.

I am just an observer of life who would like to see a real change. However, with all these folks I do share a very strong common bond - that of the significance of meaning and how to use meaning to save life on this planet.

The Internet can become a sobering-cyber-soapbox for anyone to tell their story in the way they perceive it.

This area is in a revisionist stage

The web takes away control: that which religion, Western culture and men have for so long enforced on the seemingly weaker voices in society: women, poor, non-whites, so called uneducated (uneducated is another word with qualifying meaning. The fact that I am doing a Ph.D. does not mean I am educated. A person who dropped out of school in year seven could easily be more educated than I could be. Education is about experience, perceptions, understanding and extracting knowledge from life. Many 'educated' folks have never had an original thought - they spend their life quoting others.)

If our understanding of meaning is based on how we interpret narrative then it should be a priority in discourse to know the origins of the speaker of the words we are dealing with. The basis of linguistics should have several pre-selected criteria understood before interpretation is attempted:

1. Knowledge of the speaker (narrator) and their masks (identity or social constraints): In astrological lore, the Ascendant, the sheath that surrounds the Self, our projection to those who do not know us. The narrator is constrained by the following:

a. Culture; religion, beliefs and ideology of one's social upbringing - very few break from their cultural background before the age of 28 (Saturn Return). And those who do not break free rarely ever do after the age of 28. By this point in the individual's life cultural implantation has so incapacitated self-exploration that the individual is encapsulated within their upbringing and there is virtually no escape without a cataclysmic event.

There is the rebellious inchoate-socials of teenageship we all pass through but the cultural markings are still prominent. When people never break from their social roots difficulty in discourse can occur. This is evident in the daily news: Between Israel and the Palestinians; Moslems and Christians, Catholics and Protestants; blacks and whites; between the previous generation and the next generation and on and on. Sexism and racism are the first victims of cultural patterns.

Cultural patterns have their roots in ethnic, religious, social structures. The United States was to be the great melting pot. A quick glance over our shoulder will confirm this is not true. Australia is suppose to be one of the most ethnic diverse cultures, but it still suffers from its treatment of its indigenous people just as the United States does.

This area is in a revisionist stage

The Internet, another great Western colonizational concept, which left to proceed in its present state, will Americanise and McDonaldize the planet and bring more destruction than the Industrial Revolution ever did. The Internet is a predominantly male tool, many studies have shown this (Spender, 1995). It supports the sexist language that has been with us always.


This area is in a revisionist stage

What is needed is a balance. A balance between the feminine and the masculine principals.

All new inventions have the potential for either good or bad and sometimes both at the same time. The Internet has the potential for bringing together many people of many different backgrounds and beliefs. The fact that ".the Internet is now the choice medium for distributing information to the public," (http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/98/09/biztech/articles/12/internet.html) according to the chairman of the Centre for Democracy and Technology, Jerry Berman, raises many concerns. The good is that the interpreting of the material put onto the Internet is up to those who view it. However, do those who view the material presented have the capacity to decipher the material? It goes back to the concept of do we believe what is in the newspapers or on the news? Anyone can say anything in any medium and they do. Even in the "Great Debate", of 13 September, 1998 here in Australia (the electoral debate between John Howard and the opposition leader Kim Beasley - Australian Federal Elections slated for 3rd of October), the Prime Minister, John Howard, said they he has "always been honest to the Australian people" but he did admit "to exaggeration at times". If our leaders consider exaggeration as telling the truth, just as Clinton does not consider oral sex as sex, how is the public to interpret what is placed on the Internet by various governments?

The other issue that is often raised is the accessibility of the Internet. It is still a predominantly Western tool. As has been so often the case for so long, it is the few dominating the many. The United States dominates the Internet. Look at any news service, it is the United States news first most of the time. Just as we see Clinton on the front page of our Australian papers too much of the time (Australians really do not care where he sticks his penis) we are constantly saturated with American news. The Internet is the latest device to colonize the world. Ethnic diversification has every chance of now dying out. The English language will continue to dominate and spread. I must apologize for not knowing any other language, and do appreciate the many scholars, especially the Germans, who communicate in English, so we can dialogue.

It is this submission to something else that challenges us all. Whose meaning are we taking on board? Who are we submitting to? Do we follow the Stoic philosophers (336-264 BC) founded by Zeno of Citium, believing that happiness and virtue can be attained only by submission to destiny and the natural law? Do we follow Mohammed, Budda, Jesus, The Spice Girls

This area is in a revisionist stage

The same thing can be said in many ways and still mean the same thing.

"Pull your finger out and get to work"

"it is to your advantage to apply yourself"

"If any would not work, neither should she eat"

"the bloody job ain't goin' do itself"

"high self-esteem is based on a job well-done"

"Rome wasn't built in a day"

"A man would do it..."

Almost any thought or concept can be said in many ways. Is there a right way to say anything? An example is how the United States can call one group 'Freedom Fighters' and another group 'Terrorists', depending on how it best serves her interests (I am not anti-American; especially as I am a duel citizen American/Australian - just using this as an example). Whose meaning are we following?

This area is in a revisionist stage

 As far as I have gone in this rough rough thingie AS OF Tuesday, 22 September 1998



  • Allan, Bonnie, The Construction of Gender in Early Childhood, Curriculum Corporation, Carlton, Victoria. 1995.


  • Daly, Mary. Beyond God the Father, Beacon Press, Boston. 1973.
  • Rowland, R.C. (1982a). Standards for paradigm evaluation. Journal of the American Forensic Association, 18, 133-140.
  • Spender, Dale. Nattering on the Net: Women, Power and Cyberspace, Spinfex Press Pty Ltd., North Melbourne, Australia, 1995.
  • Spender, Dale. Man made language, Routledge, London. 1980.
  • Spender, Dale. Women of Ideas - And What Men Have Done to Them, Pandora, London. 1982.
  • Spender, Dale. & Lyne Spender (eds), "Gatekeeping: The Denial, Dismissal and Distortion of Women", Women's Studies International Forum, 6, 5. 1983.

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