The Modern Worldview, Part 11

One of the most destructive things that’s happening in modern society is that we are losing our sense of the bonds that bind people together – which can lead to nightmares of social collapse. … Alexander McCall Smith

Why can’t we just get along? This is a question that I have been working on in my new book, Divided: Colliding Ways We See the World. In the next several posts in this blog series I am looking at the Modern Worldview. I would like to share with you some ideas that I have been exploring.

In the next several blogs, we are exploring the ideological, philosophical, scientific, religious, political, environmental and economic characteristics of the modern worldview.

Modern Society, Part 1

The modern worldview profoundly changed society and family patterns. The section below highlights changes that have occurred in middle class, modern families from the nineteenth century onward.

In many middle class homes in the nineteenth century, a small nuclear family became the expected norm. The economic role of the middle class family shifted from one

03k consumerism

Consumerism, a department store in London

centered on production of basic necessities to one focused primarily on consumption of material goods. Along with consumption, the modern family’s responsibilities included reproduction, socializing children, fulfilling psychic and emotional needs, instilling societal values, providing affection to all family members, guiding children’s personality development, and encouraging and guiding school and career decisions for children. However, these middle class family functions did not necessarily apply to the working class, peasants, or the elite.

The nuclear family decreased in size as children were accorded greater parental affection, while incidences of divorce increased as women became more independent. The family no longer served as the center of economic activity.

Modern middle class marriages shifted from an arranged economic or political alliance to one based on individual choice. Sexual and psychological attraction, affection, and personal satisfaction became important criteria in selecting a spouse, and more 03kemotional interaction between middle class men and women resulted. Marriage was carried out primarily to fulfill personal desires for home and children and to enhance personal happiness. Western Europeans socially and legally disapproved of polygamy. Monogamy, the normative marriage form in the West, expressed democratic, egalitarian ideals in reaction to inequalities and hierarchies often found in polygamous marital societies.

About the Author

Dr. Denise R. Ames is a long-time educator, grade 7-university, author of seven books, and president of an educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. CGA provides books, resources, and services with a holistic, global- focused, and perspective-taking approach for their three programs: Global Awareness for Educators, books and resources for educators and students grade 9-university; Gather, Global Awareness Through Engaged Reflection, a self-organizing study and conversation program for adults focusing on seeing different perspectives of pressing global issues; and their most recent program Turn, Transformative Understanding and Reflection Network, which encourages lifelong and transformative learning to help us arrive at a place of personal and global well-being using a seven “path” approach.

Please email info@global-awareness.org or visit www.global-awareness.org for more information.

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For more about worldviews see Dr. Ames’ book Five Worldviews: How We See the World. $9.95

 

 

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The Modern Worldview, Part 10

One of the most destructive things that’s happening in modern society is that we are losing our sense of the bonds that bind people together – which can lead to nightmares of social collapse. … Alexander McCall Smith

Why can’t we just get along? This is a question that I have been working on in my new book, Divided: Colliding Ways We See the World. In the next several posts in this blog series I am looking at the Modern Worldview. I would like to share with you some ideas that I have been exploring.

In the next several blogs, we are exploring the ideological, philosophical, scientific, religious, political, environmental and economic characteristics of the modern worldview.

The Environment in the Modern Worldview

The big problem of our modern society is that we feel that we are separated from nature. But it’s just the opposite. We are interrelated and our DNA is the same.”…
Marina Abramovic

With the modern worldview, the capitalist system calculated an economic price for nature’s bounty. This economic thinking meant that nature was not regarded as a sacred source of beauty, awe, inspiration and reverence but as a supplier of resources, an

03f Alberta_1890s_fur_trader

Trapping in the 18th and 19th Centuries

economic commodity. Although probably unintentionally, Westerners tampered with the world’s ecosystem by introducing new species into colonial areas and by over-hunting, overgrazing, and deforesting vast stretches of land, which reduced, altered or exterminated the diversity of life.

 

Today’s environmental devastation is largely a result of seeing the environment through the modern worldview lens. Resources are extracted from what is seen as inanimate

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Overgrazing 

nature in a detached and mechanistic way. Nature is an object, separate and inferior to human extractors. Often environmental damage is not experienced immediately but at some time in the future, yet the unseen, long-term consequences are conveniently ignored or postponed to a vague future date. Nature’s purpose in this worldview is to provide the materials necessary for “progress” to be achieved by human beings.

 

About the Author

Dr. Denise R. Ames is a long-time educator, grade 7-university, author of seven books, and president of an educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. CGA provides books, resources, and services with a holistic, global- focused, and perspective-taking approach for their three programs: Global Awareness for Educators, books and resources for educators and students grade 9-university; Gather, Global Awareness Through Engaged Reflection, a self-organizing study and conversation program for adults focusing on seeing different perspectives of pressing global issues; and their most recent program Turn, Transformative Understanding and Reflection Network, which encourages lifelong and transformative learning to help us arrive at a place of personal and global well-being using a seven “path” approach.

Please email info@global-awareness.org or visit www.global-awareness.org for more information.

wviewscover

 

For more about worldviews see Dr. Ames’ book Five Worldviews: How We See the World. $9.95

 

 

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The Modern Worldview, Part 9

by Dr. Denise R. Ames

 One of the most destructive things that’s happening in modern society is that we are losing our sense of the bonds that bind people together – which can lead to nightmares of social collapse. … Alexander McCall Smith

Why can’t we just get along? This is a question that I have been working on in my new book, Divided: Colliding Ways We See the World. In the next several posts in this blog series I am looking at the Modern Worldview. I would like to share with you some ideas that I have been exploring.

In the next several blogs, we are exploring the ideological, philosophical, scientific, religious, political, environmental and economic characteristics of the modern worldview.

Modern Political Changes, Part 2

As mentioned in the previous blog, the liberal form of government, (not to be confused with the liberal/conservative division in the U.S. today) which advanced written constitutions and representative government, was adopted as a preferred form of political structure by many nations. But not all nation states in the modern era developed a liberal, representative type of government. Some nations have held to the monarchy as a form of political rule; some have ceremonial monarchs such as in the United Kingdom, and others have active monarchs such as in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, and Kuwait.

Also part of the modern worldview, some nations turned to authoritarian types of government, most dramatically in the twentieth century. For simplicity there are three main types of authoritarian rule found in the modern era: communism, fascism, and dictatorships. The values held by authoritarian regimes are obedience to authority,

03i coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, 1953

protection of the “mother land,” strong masculine images, and patriarchal attitudes. Men defend the family against outside aggression, while women remain in the home. Honor, resolve, courage, valor, obedience, and vindictiveness are commonly held values.

 

Emerging out of the modern worldview is communism. It is a form of authoritarian rule based on a theory of social organization in which all property is held in common by the state. The Soviet Union, the first communist nation, was formed in 1917, when a revolution led by Vladimir Lenin overthrew the Russian monarchy. The Soviet Union continued as a communist form of government until its collapse in 1991. Pockets of communist rule still exist around the world, although mostly in a hybrid form in China, Cuba, Vietnam and North Korea.

Fascism is a radical and authoritarian nationalist political ideology that enforces an extreme loyalty to the state. Germany (Nazis), Italy, and Japan were fascist governments

03i HitlerMussolini, June 1940

Fascist leaders, Hitler and Mussolini, 1940 

leading up to and during World War II. Dictatorships are often established through a military coup after which the government is ruled by an individual dictator. Dictatorships have been common throughout the twentieth century but are now outnumbered by republican forms of government.

The twentieth century witnessed the darker side of the modern worldview. Two horrific world wars, fought over national competition, colonial acquisitions, and the struggle for world supremacy, exalted armed conflict as the chosen method for resolving differences. The Soviet Union and the United States challenged each other’s ideologies in a Cold War

03i Soviet tanks

Production of Soviet Tanks, World War II 

(1945-1991). Although the two nations never came to blows, numerous proxy wars were fought, such as in Korea, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and others. Although still severe, these Cold War battles were smaller in scope and fewer people killed than World War II, perhaps reflecting the acknowledgment that our planet cannot survive the nuclear, environmental, and human devastation of another world war.

Even though the lessons of the two wars are readily apparent, some people today still cling to an authoritarian stance reminiscent of the oppressive rule imposed by many empires of the past and the totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century. Forms of authoritarian rule—dictatorships, monarchies, neo-fascist and anti-fascist movements,

03i Antifa Movement

Anti-Fascist (Antifa) movement on the political left

and communist rule—continue to survive, while pockets of militia activity are found in parts of Europe and the United States. Although a controversial addition, some people argue that large multi-national corporations, run by corporate oligarchies, are a form of authoritarian rule, since they extend their non-democratic reach into every corner of the world.

About the Author

Dr. Denise R. Ames is a long-time educator, grade 7-university, author of seven books, and president of an educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. CGA provides books, resources, and services with a holistic, global- focused, and perspective-taking approach for their three programs: Global Awareness for Educators, books and resources for educators and students grade 9-university; Gather, Global Awareness Through Engaged Reflection, a self-organizing study and conversation program for adults focusing on seeing different perspectives of pressing global issues; and their most recent program Turn, Transformative Understanding and Reflection Network, which encourages lifelong and transformative learning to help us arrive at a place of personal and global well-being using a seven “path” approach.

Please email info@global-awareness.org or visit www.global-awareness.org for more information. For more about worldviews see Dr. Ames’ book Five Worldviews: How We See the World. $9.95

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The Modern Worldview Part 8

by Dr. Denise R. Ames

One of the most destructive things that’s happening in modern society is that we are losing our sense of the bonds that bind people together – which can lead to nightmares of social collapse. … Alexander McCall Smith

Why can’t we just get along? This is a question that I have been working on in my new book, Divided: Colliding Ways We See the World. In the next several posts in this blog series I am looking at the Modern Worldview. I would like to share with you some ideas that I have been exploring.

In the next several blogs, we are exploring the ideological, philosophical, scientific, religious, political, environmental and economic characteristics of the modern worldview.

Modern Political Changes, Part 1

The Enlightenment of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries contributed to shaping the political aspects of the modern worldview. It was an intellectual movement that created the concept of political liberalism, celebrated the wonders of the scientific

03h Age of Enlightenment

Age of Enlightenment

method and reason, challenged the religious thinking of the time, extolled the dignity of the individual, and defied the notion of absolute political authority.

The Enlightenment philosophes argued for rational, written constitutions to limit monarchs’ power and to ensure certain individual rights and equality before the law. They revered, above all else, reason, progress, objective thinking, and the optimistic idea that humans could be perfected through state-sponsored education and a rational society.

Some philosophes, such as John Locke, advanced the merits of private property and the improvement of that property for monetary gain. The philosophes’ ideas were

03h John Locke

John Locke

particularly popular among the rising Western middle class who profited from their ideas, especially the concept of private property.

The Enlightenment philosophes posited the concept of political liberalism and rejected the absolute authority of the church and monarchs. As a result, by the nineteenth century many countries in Western Europe and the United States had adopted some form of representative government guided by a written constitution. Although these were not direct democracies, this was a marked change from the days of absolute monarchical rule.

Those represented in government expanded over the years from the common man—as long as he was male, white, over twenty-one, and a property holder—to all individuals over the age of maturity. With this move to a more inclusive political system, the idea of freedom and liberty for the individual, in the political sense, emerged. The idea of individualism and human rights became a new political value.

Another political change in the modern worldview was the reconfiguration of political rule. For thousands of years, people lived in large empires, small states or city-states, or in decentralized territories ruled by feudal lords. With the modern worldview, there was

03h American Independence

American Independence

a shift from those kinds of political rule to the nation-state as the preferred political structure. Great Britain, the United States, and later France pioneered the new political entity called the nation state. As new nation-states were formed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the question remained: what kind of government would these new nation states embrace?

About the Author

Dr. Denise R. Ames is a long-time educator, grade 7-university, author of seven books, and president of an educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. CGA provides books, resources, and services with a holistic, global- focused, and perspective-taking approach for their three programs: Global Awareness for Educators, books and resources for educators and students grade 9-university; Gather, Global Awareness Through Engaged Reflection, a self-organizing study and conversation program for adults focusing on seeing different perspectives of pressing global issues; and their most recent program Turn, Transformative Understanding and Reflection Network, which encourages lifelong and transformative learning to help us arrive at a place of personal and global well-being using a seven “path” approach.

Please email info@global-awareness.org or visit www.global-awareness.org for more information.

For more about worldviews see Dr. Ames’ book Five Worldviews: How We See the World. $9.95

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The Modern Worldview Part 7

One of the most destructive things that’s happening in modern society is that we are losing our sense of the bonds that bind people together – which can lead to nightmares of social collapse. … Alexander McCall Smith

Why can’t we just get along? This is a question that I have been working on in my new book, Divided: Colliding Ways We See the World. In the next several posts in this blog series I am looking at the Modern Worldview. I would like to share with you some ideas that I have been exploring.

In the next several blogs, we are exploring the ideological, philosophical, scientific, religious, political, environmental and economic characteristics of the modern worldview.

The Modern Economy, Part 2

In a capitalist system private parties make their goods and services available in an open market and seek to make a profit on their activities. Private parties own the means of production. There are two variations of capitalism: free market capitalism, often called laissez faire, and managed or regulated capitalism. Adam Smith is credited as the founder of free market economics, in which the “invisible hand” of the open marketplace would set prices according to the principles of supply and demand.

03g AdamSmith[1]

Adam Smith

This economic thinking emerged out of the liberal political traditions discussed below. Generally, Smith and free market capitalists are against the government’s interference in the marketplace and argue that property should be privately or individually owned. They believe that tariffs (taxes on imported goods) should be eliminated in order to foster efficiency and competition in trade. Managed or regulated capitalism came about with the Great Depression in the 1930s and continued into the 1970s in the U.S. and other European countries. Supporters say that government should play an active role in regulating the economy in order for wealth to be somewhat equally distributed to a greater number of people than under free market capitalism in which wealth tends to concentrate in the hands of the wealthy.

In 1980, the U.S. economic policy shifted to a version of capitalism called laissez faire capitalism, also called neoliberalism or free market capitalism. In this version of capitalism, government regulations and tariffs were lifted. The result has been lower prices for imported goods in the U.S., since many of products are now made in China, which has a lower cost of labor and production. But it has also resulted in a decline in 03g shippingthe number of well-paid American manufacturing jobs, since many of these jobs have gone to nations where labor costs are low.

Communism and socialism are also economic systems of the modern worldview. Karl Marx, a nineteenth century economic theorist, reasoned that human history advanced through stages of development from a feudalistic past, to the middle stage of capitalism, and then finally to communism, the pinnacle of human achievement. Under a communist economic system or command economy, there is no private ownership.

Instead of private ownership, the state collectively owns property for all. In theory, this economic form would avoid the exploitation of the common person by the wealthy elite who have amassed wealth in a capitalist system. The communist system was implemented in the Soviet Union in 1917 and continued for over seventy years, but in the end it failed miserably. Instead of a capitalist wealthy elite, a communist wealthy elite emerged who wielded governmental power and controlled the collective property of the citizenry.

03g Soviet

Soviet promoting communism

Socialism is an economic system in which the government owns and operates large industries such as military, education, transportation, health care, utilities and others, while small businesses are privately owned and operated and citizens can own private property. Many Europeans employed a socialist/capitalist mixed economy after the end of World War II.

Placing the different economic systems on a continuum, the differences of each system become apparent. Communism is considered on the far left of the continuum, while laissez faire, free market capitalism (neoliberalism) is considered to be on the far right. Socialism is placed to the immediate left of center, while managed capitalism is place to the immediate right of center. Many different economies around the world generally fall at some point on this continuum.

About the Author

Dr. Denise R. Ames is a long-time educator, grade 7-university, author of seven books, and president of an educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. CGA provides books, resources, and services with a holistic, global- focused, and perspective-taking approach for their three programs: Global Awareness for Educators, books and resources for educators and students grade 9-university; Gather, Global Awareness Through Engaged Reflection, a self-organizing study and conversation program for adults focusing on seeing different perspectives of pressing global issues; and their most recent program Turn, Transformative Understanding and Reflection Network, which encourages lifelong and transformative learning to help us arrive at a place of personal and global well-being using a seven “path” approach.

Please email info@global-awareness.org or visit www.global-awareness.org for more information.

For more about worldviews see Dr. Ames’ book Five Worldviews: How We See the World. $9.95

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The Modern Worldview Part 6

by Dr. Denise R. Ames

One of the most destructive things that’s happening in modern society is that we are losing our sense of the bonds that bind people together – which can lead to nightmares of social collapse. … Alexander McCall Smith

Why can’t we just get along? This is a question that I have been working on in my new book, Divided: Colliding Ways We See the World. In the next several posts in this blog series I am looking at the Modern Worldview. I would like to share with you some ideas that I have been exploring.

In the next several blogs, we are exploring the ideological, philosophical, scientific, religious, political, environmental and economic characteristics of the modern worldview.

The Modern Economy, Part 1

European exploration or exploitation (depending upon your point of view) contributed to the formation of a modern worldview. The Renaissance era of excitement and possibilities translated into more explorations by famed early explorers, such as 03c Christopher ColumbusChristopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespuci, Ferdinand Magellan, Francis Drake, Hernán Cortés, and many others. The reasons for this explosion of outward exploration are significant in shaping the modern worldview.

One of the reasons was the relative poverty of Western Europe at the time compared to other regions of the world, especially Asia and the Middle East. Their material poverty stimulated expansion by their only option: the sea. Europeans imported more goods from Asia than they exported to them; therefore, they had a trade imbalance that needed to be remedied.

Asians were quite self-sufficient and did not want or need any of the poor quality goods

03f Chinese procelain

Chinese vase, Ming Dynasty, 16th century

made by Europeans. But Europeans coveted China’s luxury imports and spices from Southeast Asia. Exploration also signaled prestige, glory, and strength, attributes that Western Europeans craved. Hence, they invented or adapted from others technologically sophisticated weaponry which propelled them to become “gunpowder empires.” Their new technological inventions gave the West an edge in killing and intimidation around the world.

Accompanying Western exploration was the expansion of a capitalist economic system, another important reason in shaping of the modern worldview. Wealth poured into Western European banks in London and Amsterdam from the production of cash crops, such as sugar, tobacco, and cotton, as well as the fur trade, the mining of silver and gold, and the slave trade. 03f Alberta_1890s_fur_traderAfrican slaves, indigenous peoples, and indentured servants provided cheap and coerced labor necessary for conversion of these raw materials into valuable commodities traded on the world market.

An emerging middle class or bourgeoisie of bankers, merchants, financiers, and entrepreneurs secured this new-found wealth for themselves. They acquired a taste for sugar, furs and many other luxury products that spurred a consumer frenzy. With the modern worldview, two main economic forms developed: capitalism (managed and free trade) and socialism/communism.

About the Author

Dr. Denise R. Ames is a long-time educator, grade 7-university, author of seven books, and president of an educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. CGA provides books, resources, and services with a holistic, global- focused, and perspective-taking approach for their three programs: Global Awareness for Educators, books and resources for educators and students grade 9-university; Gather, Global Awareness Through Engaged Reflection, a self-organizing study and conversation program for adults focusing on seeing different perspectives of pressing global issues; and their most recent program Turn, Transformative Understanding and Reflection Network, which encourages lifelong and transformative learning to help us arrive at a place of personal and global well-being using a seven “path” approach.

Please email info@global-awareness.org or visit www.global-awareness.org for more information.

For more about worldviews see Dr. Ames’ book Five Worldviews: How We See the World. $9.95

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The Modern Worldview Part 5

by Dr. Denise R. Ames

One of the most destructive things that’s happening in modern society is that we are losing our sense of the bonds that bind people together – which can lead to nightmares of social collapse. … Alexander McCall Smith

Why can’t we just get along? This is a question that I have been working on in my new book, Divided: Colliding Ways We See the World. In the next several posts in this blog series I am looking at the Modern Worldview. I would like to share with you some ideas that I have been exploring.

In the next several blogs, we are exploring the ideological, philosophical, scientific, religious, political, environmental and economic characteristics of the modern worldview.

Modern Thought, Part 2

Starting in 1517 with Martin Luther’s break from the Catholic Church, several fervent Protestant religious sects broke away from the all-powerful Catholic Church during the Protestant Reformation.  These new religious sects set up their own denominations and

03c Martin Luther, Protestant Reformation

Martin Luther, the Protestant Revolution

celebrated religious beliefs that, in part, justified an emphasis on wealth acquisition.

Protestants rejected traditional Catholic beliefs, which, at least in theory, regarded poverty as akin to the life of Jesus. Instead, many Protestants, especially Calvinists, preached that material wealth was a favorable sign from God and should be embraced and not shunned. These new beliefs justified the new attitude that wealth and its accumulation were respectable and in accord with Christian principles. These new ideas accompanied the expansion and lure of a capitalist economic system.

Around the 1500 time frame, the scientific revolution and the subsequent Enlightenment challenged the religious thinking of the time and, instead, celebrated the wonders of the scientific method and reason. The modern worldview is often called the Newtonian or mechanistic worldview, since many of its characteristics are derived from the famed

03e Sir_Isaac Newton

Sir Issac Newton

English scientist Sir Isaac Newton. He depicted the universe as a giant machine operating in a predictable, orderly mode; once the parts of the machine were individually analyzed, the whole machine could be explained. In Newton’s universe, definable laws acted uniformly on objects that behaved predictably and consistently. Scientists busily set about classifying, dividing, and analyzing everything from plants and animals to human behavior. Nothing escaped their curious reach to examine and explain the planet scientifically.

Nineteenth century scientists continued their quest for scientific certainty. The French philosopher Auguste Comte postulated that all intellectual activity progressed through predictable stages: first, the theological or fictitious; second, the metaphysical or abstract;  and finally the highest stage, the scientific or positive. One of the most famous scientists of the modern age, Charles Darwin, theorized that humans were not divinely created, as the Christian world had confidently assumed for centuries but had evolved from simple to complex organisms through stages of natural selection.

03e Darwin

Charles Darwin

The advancement of science contributed immensely to the formation of the modern worldview. Scientific discoveries ushered in a change in values from religious values that were based on faith and miracles to scientific values based on evidence, reason, efficiency, rationality, order, and analysis. Although the vast majority of Europeans, including many scientists, held to their religious faith during the Scientific Revolution, religious beliefs were starting to be devalued as unscientific, irrational and superstitious.

About the Author

Dr. Denise R. Ames is a long-time educator, grade 7-university, author of seven books, and president of an educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. CGA provides books, resources, and services with a holistic, global- focused, and perspective-taking approach for their three programs: Global Awareness for Educators, books and resources for educators and students grade 9-university; Gather, Global Awareness Through Engaged Reflection, a self-organizing study and conversation program for adults focusing on seeing different perspectives of pressing global issues; and their most recent program Turn, Transformative Understanding and Reflection Network, which encourages lifelong and transformative learning to help us arrive at a place of personal and global well-being using a seven “path” approach.

Please email info@global-awareness.org or visit www.global-awareness.org for more information.

For more about worldviews see Dr. Ames’ book Five Worldviews: How We See the World. $9.95

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