Seminal thinkers in our century in increasing numbers have pointed out that escape from the current self-destructive trajectory of human evolution will require a “paradigm shift” from the mechanistic and reductionistic paradigm of dominant Western thought to an ecological paradigm which directs thought and reality definition in such a way as to prevent impending ecological disaster and to promote and support the evolution of a world-wide community of differences. As family therapy has been exploring the nature of paradigm shift since such a shift resulted in its emergence as a domain of thought, it would seem that family therapists may be able to make a meaningful contribution to the search for such a transformation of thought/reality. This paper is a report on a project designed to explore the nature of the Western paradigm and to develop a nonmechanistic nonreductionistic paradigm to be “shifted to” by exploring the epistemological transformation which has been taking place in twentieth-century science. The possibility of a contribution from family therapy is critiqued in this context. If our species survives its current self-destructive tendencies, it seems likely that the twentieth century will be known by future generations as a century
of transformation. As an evolutionary outcome of the technological explosion created by Western science, most humans now share a vantage point which provides a view of what is going on throughout our planet. I think you will agree that the panorama thus exposed to all of us is disquieting. This global scene stimulates visions of a world-wide harmonious connected community, while simultaneously exposing how disconnected we have become, and how unwilling or unable most of us are to accept certain of the differences among us.