We make meaning through increasing complex patterns of ideas that are linked together. At first, a concept sits alone, but then it gets connected to others. And a web of deeper understanding starts to form.
These webs are referred to, by some neuroscientists, as 'inference networks'. Arthur Koestler, in his book _The Act of Creation_, called them 'matrices of thought'.
In Latin, matrix means 'womb'. A meaning matrix is a pattern of connected concepts, a matrix, from which meaning is birthed.
Meaning matrices form our Schema - our plane of consciousness. As long as that schema operates with others that are similar in form (based on shared culture and experiences) it remains relatively stable.
But, when there is an intersecting of alternatively configured schemas, or when there is new learning that doesn't fit the existing schema, there is a disruptive reconfiguration of that meaning matrix of our schema. Something that is called a Paradigm Shift.