A New Paradigm
by Richard Lang
The Hierarchy of Heaven and Earth
A new diagram of man in the universe
Douglas Harding (first published 1952)
I make videos about the Headless Way. Some years ago I made a leap from a basic video editing program to an advanced one. At first it was confusing and I considered dropping the idea and going back to the simpler program. But I could see the potential in the advanced one, so although I felt like giving up, I persevered. I was glad I did, for in the mastering of it things became possible that I hadn’t even dreamed of. Then a couple of years ago the software company brought out a new version. This wasn’t yet another upgrade of the existing program, a tinkering with a detail here or there. After ten years with the old system, having learned a great deal from the experience and with new technology at their fingertips, they went back to the drawing-board and completely re-designed the software. It was a whole new way of organizing and doing things, a paradigm shift in video editing. Looking at the new program I wondered whether to make yet another leap into yet another system. It was clear it would take time and energy to master and I wasn’t sure I had enough patience. But then I realized I didn’t really have a choice. The new system was the future. No doubt the old system would remain in use for a while, but gradually it would be left behind, increasingly outdated and redundant. So I made the leap and now, a year or two down the line, I’m happy I did. What a difference it makes. So much more is possible. Though it was confusing to begin with, it’s now second-nature. And now the previous model looks clumsy and old-fashioned.
‘The Hierarchy of Heaven and Earth’ by Douglas Harding is ‘a new diagram of man in the universe’. In this book Harding didn’t just tinker with our existing model of the universe. He went back to the drawing-board and produced a whole new paradigm - with an emphasis on ‘whole’ as well as ‘new’. It was the result of more than ten years work. Drawing on science and guided by original insights of his own, Harding presented a modern view of our place in the universe. As well as bringing together into one system the objective estimate of things at different levels, Harding placed our subjective point of view firmly in the centre of the picture. Of course, when you first look at this ‘hierarchical’ model your heart might sink because it’s so different from our current model. Do we really need a new one? Isn’t the old one working well enough? Well yes, the old model works, after a fashion… But this new model, by including the presence of the observer, is a truer picture of how the universe is organized and works. And one of its many benefits is that it provides answers to important puzzles that the old model was unfit to solve.
But I should warn you: a deep understanding of this new paradigm only comes from long and patient study. And as well as demanding that you think in a new way, it necessitates a change of heart. You have to embody the ideas. Just as you learn a new video editing program, say, not simply by understanding the manual but by putting the ideas into practice, using the tools till they feel like extensions of your own body, so this new ‘hierarchical’ universe will only come alive to the degree that you extend into and become it. One glance into this wonderland won’t make you a native. You have to live there.
If you are drawn to the challenge of seeing the world with fresh, modern eyes, and living in that fresh, modern world, this book is for you. It is state-of-the-art, the finest, clearest, most practical, most powerful operating system on the planet! It unveils a universe of such beauty, order and depth, from the atoms within us to the stars beyond us, as will take your breath away. I, for one, having made the leap into this new, living, many-levelled universe, will not be going back to the old, dead, flat one!