Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Frank Kock in Proceedings, the magazine of the Naval Institute.

Two battleships assigned to the training squadron had been at sea on maneuvers in heavy weather for several days. I was serving on the lead battleship and was on watch on the bridge as night fell. The visibility was poor with patchy fog, so the captain remained on the bridge keeping an eye on all activities.

Shortly after dark, the lookout on the wing of the bridge reported, "Light, bearing on the starboard
bow." "Is it steady or moving astern?" the captain called out. Lookout replied, "Steady, captain," which meant we were on a dangerous collision course with that ship. The captain then called to the signal man, "Signal that ship: We are on a collision course, advise you change course 20 degrees." Back came a signal, "Advisable for you to change course 20 degrees."
The captain said, "Send, I'm a captain, change course 20 degrees."

"I'm a seaman second class," came the reply. "You had better change course 20 degrees." By that time, the captain was furious. He spat out, "Send, I'm a battleship. Change course 20 degrees."

Back came the flashing light, "I'm a lighthouse.". We changed course

The A Paradigm Shift is the "a-ha" experience associated with finally perceiving or understanding some aspect of the world (or a circumstance) in a different way. Paradigm Shift experienced by the captain -- and by us as we read this account -- puts the situation in a totally different light. We can see a reality that is superseded by his limited perceptions -- a reality that is as critical for us to understand in our daily lives as it was for the captain in the fog.

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