Paradigms and Movements
Social movements are very organic things, they just sort of happen as people come together with a variety of shared beliefs. We call these shared beliefs a paradigm. Paradigms are fairly loose things, often defying concrete definitions. Most of the time, as in the New Thought Movement, the movement is sparked by an assortment of characters expounding and exposing distinct yet similar beliefs (paradigms) usually with commonly held elements.
For clarity's sake; every movement is bound to have an assortment of leaders within it teaching similar, yet distinct version of the same thing. The common elements held by all of these teachers make up the paradigm itself. These common elements when taken together make up the paradigm of the movement, regardless of the core concepts themselves.
The reason this is important to understand is that the New Thought Movement has gotten really big all over the world in the last 150 years. In fact it's gotten so big and has so many well recognized leaders each offering their own versions of the same thing that it's become pretty difficult to separate the forest from the trees and pin any sort of definition on it at all. If you ask ten people what New Thought is, you'll get ten different answers.
The Common Elements
What if we really did ask ten different people what the core New Thought Concepts are? Each of them gives a unique answer, but are there elements common to the them all?
The New Thought Movement, like most other social movements has a tendency to both congeal, and defy congealment. Here's what I mean, organizations like INTA (International New Thought Alliance), AGNT (Association for Global New Thought), and ANTN (Affiliated New Thought Network) have all emerged and sought to become the central body of the movement.
Each of these organizations seeks to present a common, unified face of the movement to the global community. However, like those ten people who each offers us a different definition, the same thing happens across these massive international organizations. Three central groups, three different Declarations of Principles.
This is all very natural and happens in any movement of sufficient size. The problem is that with so many groups attempting to define the same thing in different ways, there's a tendency for the static to become overwhelming. So instead of looking at what makes them different, let's look at what they all hold in common, we'll call these common elements, "The Core Concepts of the New Thought Movement."
That's it. Add anything and you add the potential for disagreement. Those two core concepts form the cornerstone of the movement and I say with confidence, "Are held in common by at least 95% of New Thought Proponents." Where it get's fun is the fact that based on these two simple concepts, New Thought leaders have: Founded America, Freed the Slaves, Secured Women's Right to vote, and much much more...