Challenging the Paradigm



Sometimes we forget why we do things the way we do. The bad thing about this kind of rut is that we are less able to adapt to change.

Challenging the Paradigm

Challenging the Paradigm

Yes, most of us do it.  We get stuck in ruts, whether those ruts are habits, methods, or ways of thinking.

The Trails We Have Broken

There’s usually nothing wrong with following the trail we have already broken.  The reason we form habits is so that we can cut down on the number of decisions we have to make each and every day.  It also keeps us from having to actively remember everything we have to do.  We know that we get out of bed at a particular time, eat lunch at a particular time, and feed the animals at a particular time.

But sometimes we forget why we do things the way we do them.  We just plant seeds on a particular day or give the chickens a particular ration because, well, that’s what we do.

The bad thing about being stuck in this kind of rut is that we are less able to adapt to changing conditions.  Suppose we have a late frost—those seeds we just planted aren’t going to like the change in weather!

Therefore, it’s not a bad idea to stop and take a look at our methods and theories every once in a while to make sure that they still make sense:

  • We might know a little more now than we did when we first started out.
  • We might have new demands on our time that need to be incorporated into our schedule.
  • We might have a new breed of goat that needs to be managed in a slightly different way.
  • We might even want to add a new project to our to-do list!

The Absolutes

Of course, some things never change.  Besides Biblical principles, there are also the laws of nature.  Creation always operates on a pattern.  The law of gravity is still in place after all these years, the four seasons come around on a regular basis, and nutrients do the same things that they have always done, even before scientists figured out what that was exactly.

If we all allowed our farms to be guided by absolutes 100% of the time, we would probably find that things would run pretty smoothly.  Of course, we are human, and therefore we always think we can outwit nature.  At best we just blunder along, not really understanding what the absolutes are or how they work.

Questioning Ourselves

Therefore, we need to question ourselves a little bit.  We need to keep reviewing the facts and making sure our theories and methods line up with the absolutes.  We need to make sure we understand why we do what we do, and not just drift along in our rut all the time.

Probably one of the best ways to do this is to expose ourselves to information:

  • Read a wide range of views on agriculture, and see what make sense to us.
  • Learn about nature and how it works.
  • Constantly challenge ourselves and our paradigms, always trying to go from good to better and from better to best.

We will not gain anything by mindlessly accumulating information, however.  When we read, we need to read with purpose, constantly comparing what the book says to the facts.  We cannot just jump onto an ideological bandwagon, or all we have accomplished is moving from one paradigm to another.  We must think for ourselves.

After all of our reading and thinking, we may decide not to change a thing.  We may discover that what we are doing is good enough, based on the knowledge available to us.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  The point is that we have taken the time to pause and reflect, to know the why and the wherefore of our methods and theories.  We have stepped out of our rut and have begun to learn.