Why are We Divided?  The Purpose of This Blog Series (Part 3)

The 2016 presidential election was a turning point for me. I woke up the fact that I was living in a “bubble,” like many other liberal voters. We were stunned when there was a backlash among half of the voters against Clinton’s liberal worldview in which minority rights were supported, preserving the environment was a priority, and a professional class of experts, not just billionaires, would help shape governmental policy. This dramatic and far-reaching electoral backlash exemplified the opposing ways in which half of the electorate saw issues through one lens while the other half saw issues very differently.

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2016 Presidential Election:  Red, Republican, Donald Trump, Blue, Democrat, Hillary Clinton

I am determined to understand the multifaceted reasons for our deep cultural divide in the United States. What is driving us apart instead of together as a nation? This divide threatens our democracy and the vitality of our country. It leads to hostility, incivility, and intractable stalemate in our government.

Why do we need to be aware of others’ perspectives? It is more comfortable to reside in our own bubble with people around us who think the same, while our ideas and actions go unchallenged. But large, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and diverse countries like the United States, and increasingly many other countries around the world, are not homogeneous entities, and this requires their citizens to engage with others to 17c bubbleuphold democratic processes and peaceful co-existence. Citizens cannot remain in their own insulated bubble and still have a vibrant democracy. We all need to make an effort to gain understanding and skills to navigate a more diverse world, which includes people from different lands as well as those who are our fellow citizens but live in a different state or zip code.

We recognize that there is an intractable cultural divide increasingly intensifying in the United States and throughout the Western world. The big question is what can we do about it? Although there are many well-meaning groups that have sprouted up after the 2016 election that encourage people to have conversations with people different from themselves, I believe we need to go deeper than just  conversations. What are we going to talk about? We can’t assume that in a conversation with someone different from us we will be able to persuade them to think as we do just because we feel confident that we have the moral high ground. We are bound to be disappointed if this is our approach.

17c candidates

I believe, and it is the purpose of this blog series, that before meaningful conversations can take place, we need a deep understanding of ourselves as well as those who are different from us. What are the values that guide us, our experiences, our traditions, upbringing, geographic location, and basic personality? What makes each group feel the way they do about various issues, events, and future direction of this country and the world. I believe this is the first step in untangling the cultural divide, while also healing the divisions threatening to pull us asunder.

…………………………….

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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Why Are We Divided? Part 2

Second part of the Why Are We Divided blog series

An Unsustainable American Dream

Actually, the American Dream, like a giant Ponzi scheme, has always been unsustainable and untenable. It has finally reached the point where it can no longer pay out the riches it has implicitly pledged. Once the American Dream’s veil of illusion has been pulled away to reveal the reality of its deception, confidence among those subscribing to the American Dream has crumbled. Those who have fallen to the back of the line of achieving the American Dream are now suspicious of those who are succeeding or those they perceive as succeeding. The result is a feeling of suspicion, distrust, and despair among many.

Can the American Dream be resurrected? Can it once again be melded into our national narrative, a goal that unites us in the common pursuit of a way of living that is distinctly American? As a candidate, President Trump promised to “Make America Great Again” and restore the American Dream. However, it has proven difficult. 17a Statue of Liberty Iconic Symbol of the American Dream

In my estimation the American Dream, as fantasized in popular imagination, is no longer a possibility. And I believe that its usefulness as a national narrative is past. The question is what should replace the American Dream narrative. The current narrative is embedded in economic growth and expansion. There is always something more to be obtained, a bigger TV or the latest technological gadget. But this narrative is unsustainable economically and psychologically. The bonds of community have frayed in many places contributing to the cultural divide.

In absence of a strong and realizable national narrative the stories of different “tribal” groups have gained traction and attention.  Different groups of people—white working class, people of color, the poor (lower thirty percent of incomes), recent immigrants, middle class, upper twenty percent, the upper one percent, liberals (left) and conservatives (right)—have asserted their own values and narratives. These narratives are often in conflict with each other and are fraying America even further.

Weaving together a new national narrative is essential to renew our shaken democracy. But what shall the national narrative be? One has not yet coalesced. Instead we have fragmented narratives from different groups that reflect our tribal mentality. In keeping with our focus on the cultural divide between liberals and conservatives, the following are their respective narratives.

The Liberal Narrative
   At one time, the vast majority of humans lived in societies that were unjust, corrupt, repressive, and oppressive. These traditional societies were unacceptable because of their entrenched inequality, exploitation, and superstitious traditions. But humans have always yearned to be free, equal, autonomous, and prosperous and they have honorably struggled against the forces of despair and tyranny. Eventually, and with great sacrifice, humans have succeeded in founding modern, liberal, democratic, capitalist, and social-welfare societies. While modern societies hold the possibility to make best use of the mechanisms to assure individual freedom and pleasure of all, there is still much work remaining to undo the entrenchment of the powerful who perpetuate inequality, exploitation, and repression for their own benefit. Dedicating one’s life to achieving this mission of a good society in which individuals are equal and free to follow their self-defined happiness, is a noble and worthwhile struggle.

17b liberation

Women’s Liberation March, 1970

This heroic narrative, with slight variations according to regions, is a recognizable story line among leftists around the world. It’s a valiant and epic liberation narrative that calls for the victims of oppression to break the chains of tradition, authority, power, and hierarchy in order to free their noble aspirations.

The Conservative Narrative

America was once a shining beacon on a hill. It was a land of freedom, industry, personal responsibility, and achievement. Then liberals decided to intervene and built a colossal federal bureaucracy that shackled the invisible hand of the free market. They undermined our traditional American values and besmirched God and faith in the process. Instead of valuing the act of working for a living, they took money from 17a flaghardworking Americans and gave it to drug addicts and welfare queens. Instead of following traditional American values of family, loyalty, and personal responsibility, they encouraged a feminist agenda that weakened the traditional family. Instead of saluting America’s strength and goodness around the world, they cut military budgets, belittled soldiers, disrespected the flag, and chose negotiation and multilateralism. Conservatives have had enough and are taking back our country from those who seek to demean and emasculate it.

Watch for part 3 of this series.

______________________________

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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Why are We a Divided Nation? Part 1

Why can’t we get along? As a nation we may be torn apart because we cannot answer this question. Along with our environmental tragedy, I believe this is the most pressing issue we are facing. It behooves all of us to contribute to fostering more civil relationships with people who are different from us.  This blog series delves in the issues surrounding this question. I will be posting regularly, please follow the conversation.  … Dr. Denise R. Ames

Why Can’t We Get Along?

Do you feel that the country is irretrievably divided along political and cultural lines? Are you feeling that there are so many different ways of interpreting the same events or information it can be overwhelming? Sometimes when another person voices an opinion on a controversial topic, such as gun control, you make think, “Is this person from another planet! Why do they think the way they do.” Do you have difficulty expressing yourself at a family get together because you are afraid you will offend someone?

Why does an experience or situation, such as building a wall between Mexico and the United States, elicit so many different responses? Proposals to demolish a decrepit building in the middle of a town can create a firestorm of reactions or the building of a Wal-Mart on the outskirts of town can raise the blood pressure of the entire community. Even harmless leash laws about constricting dogs from romping through the park can let loose a torrent of emotion. Obviously, there is more to understanding these differences than is seen at a superficial level. Our national narratives tell us a story about why we are not getting along.

17a flag

National Narratives
   Everyone loves a good story, and our nation is no exception. For many years we had a cohesive American narrative about “we the people” and where we were going as a nation called the American Dream. These national narratives are usually simplified and selective stories of the past, and not necessarily true. They are often an idealized vision or goal of the national future. Even though these national narratives are in part fabrications, they still influence citizens’ confidences, behaviors, and aspirations. Our national story is one of those intangibles that unite a disparate country like the United States.

The American Dream: A National Narrative

The American Dream is a national ethos, guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize the United States. This set of ideals includes democracy, human rights, liberty, opportunity and equality. Each American is instilled with freedom to pursue opportunity for prosperity and success through hard work with few barriers hindering that success. Upward social mobility is the reward for their hard work. The American Dream is rooted in the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims that “all men are created equal” with the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

17a Statue of Liberty Iconic Symbol of the American Dream

Statue of Liberty, Iconic Symbol of the American Dream

The American Dream motivated many Americans to work hard and pursue material riches in the marketplace and to achieve a standard of living that met and even exceeded basic needs. It worked well for my aunt who grew up in poverty in the hills of Tennessee during the Great Depression without running water, electricity, or enough food. She married my uncle who worked for forty years in a factory in Rockford, Illinois, and they raised four children in a small house. She was proud of her house and she kept it immaculate. Although there continues to be poverty, very few Americans live as my aunt did many decades ago. She believed in the American Dream and it worked for her.

The American Dream is an implicit contract with all Americans in which each generation will make steady progress and become more prosperous than the previous one. The fruits of American society—a comfortable, middle class way of life—await those who “work hard and play by the rules,” according to former President Bill Clinton. But the promise of the American Dream has proven to be more difficult to attain for the current generation and has been disrupted as a unifying national narrative.

The blog series continues on Wednesday, December 5, 2018

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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Respecting Mother Earth: A Plea from the Teyuna People, Part 3

by Denise R. Ames

This is the last installment of a blog about the Teyuna mamos and zagas, spiritual leaders of the Arhuaco, Kankuamo, Kogi and Wiwi people of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta region of Colombia. They were known as the Guardians of the World, and were featured in several documentaries, including Aluna. They visited Albuquerque, New Mexico in August and I attended their presentation. Below are my thoughts:

Teyuna 2

My Take Impressions from the Teyuna Presentation

  1. Relationships
    As Westerners, it is common to think of Earth as an object, as separate from us, and something for humans to exploit for their own needs. However, the Teyuna people don’t regard the Earth as an object, they have a relationship with the Earth, it is part of them. They give her love and when Earth is healthy humans are healthy. It is a relationship, not an object.
  2. Work
    Someone in the audience asked if we could work together to heal the Earth. However, the interpreter pointed out that the word work is a foreign concept to the Teyuna people. Work to Westerners is an act of changing an object to a different form of existence. Once again, they see Westerners as regarding the Earth as an object to be molded into a different context. They want to have a relationship with the Earth and not work to change it.
  3. Reading
    To Westerners we read written text to gather information that helps shape our views of a particular issue. However, the Teyuna people have a different interpretation of what to read. Instead, they “read” nature to gather hidden messages from the natural world. For example, the river born high in the mountains flows down to the ocean, all the while giving messages to the rest of the ecosystem. If we listen carefully, we can learn to read what nature and the spiritual world is telling us.
  4. Animistic Spirituality
    Much of the world follows a type of universal “religion” such as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Greek rational thought, or others. Animistic religions (using the term broadly) offer a different meaning. They see nature as alive, and not dead and inert. The mountains, streams, rivers, water, and sky are all alive with spirit and meaning. The Teyuna speakers explained that the Earth’s rivers are like veins and if dams are erected to stop the flow of rivers it is like cutting one of our veins. This is not respect. Therefore, we need to treat Mother Earth with the respect she deserves.
  5. Wisdom of the Ancestors
    The ancestors provide a great deal of wisdom for the younger generations to follow. Their wise council is respected and carried out. The Teyuna speakers explained that the ancestors say how we think is how we see and how we act. It is an integrated system of thoughts and actions; therefore, we must think before we act. They told the story of when one of them toured New York City, he wondered what was the thinking of the people who built the high-rise buildings. They had to displace nature in doing so. The ancestors would say that we need to understand the limits of our mind and be guided by messages from nature.
  6. Questions
    Another bit of wisdom that the Teyuna speakers shared with their captive audience was a commentary by one of the speakers about the type of questions that the audience asked. One speaker stated that when asking questions there is a sense that you know part of the answer already. He wondered why we do that. Could it be the ego wanting attention? He told us to reflect on that.
  7. Prayer
    As the presentation was wrapping up, I wondered what they would want us to do to realize their goal of respecting Mother Earth. Perhaps, we would be asked to sign a pledge, write our Congressional representatives, join a campaign to resist exploiting resources, or other strategies of resistance. But they asked for none of these. Instead, the closest word I can think of to describe their plea of respect was to pray. They wanted us to change our attitude from one of exploitation to one of gratefulness and respect. This is a powerful request. Perhaps through a collective concentration of spiritual consciousness, Westerners would be able to shift our awareness to one that comprehends that there is a powerful relationship connecting the Earth and humans. It is a prayer worth our effort and understanding.

Teyuna 3

_________________

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 develops books and materials with a holistic, global focus 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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Respecting Mother Earth: A Plea from the Teyuna People, Part 2

by Denise R. Ames

This post is the second installment of the Teyuna mamos and zagas, spiritual leaders of the Arhuaco, Kankuamo, Kogi and Wiwi people of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta region of Colombia. They were known as the Guardians of the World, and were featured in several documentaries, including Aluna.

…….

Speaker Two

A second speaker thanked us for taking time to listen to him and his group. He stated that as people we circle around “me”or our ego as the ruler of our actions, he says that it is hard to get out of this mindset. But they are living, thinking, and feeling in a different way, a different way of being.

Teyuna 1

Teyuna man

While the first dialogue was about respect for each other, he wanted to share with us the law of creation. He noted that between the city and mountains straddles a border of forest that offers a sanctuary for birds living in their own environment. Following the law of creation, the birds also have their own order, language, and way of life.

The Teyuna speakers wanted to share with the audience that the concept of going outside this order has created chaos, disorder, and disrespect. People haven’t followed the law of creation, which has resulted in chaos. For this reason, they have been striving to stay in coherence with the law of creation, which tells them to place importance upon sacred places.

The speaker concluded by emphasizing that the tour has been about respect for all things and the balance of life. Not long ago this message was suppressed by modern people and their belief system, but now it has been respectfully received. Now is an important time to respond to this message.

Third Speaker

Teyuna 4

The third speaker wanted to share ancestral wisdom with the audience. He said that North America is very beautiful and he is happy to see everyone and to share the space with us. But the real reason why they came to North America is because their wise elders have told them about many problems today. For many years they have been told about these problems by their elders.  The reason for the problems is that if we don’t respect the rocks and water, thus they won’t respect us.  If we don’t live in harmony with the Earth, then it results in illness and an imbalance.

The speaker saaid “we now realize what the ancestors were saying a long time ago. Now we are suffering the consequences.” The speaker found that his way of understanding the Earth was very different from Westerners. “You see,” he stated, “the Earth as a separate object and not connected to your feelings.” They see the Earth as sacredly connected to humans and not separate. Even though there are fundamental differences in the two worldviews, they want to engage with us despite these different ways of thinking. They want us to be aware and be activators of a more relationship consciousness. They offer an invitation to us, to embody a mindset or attitude of respect for the Earth.

Will post the final installment of the blog on Thursday, October 11, 2018.

_____________

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 develops books and materials with a holistic, global focus 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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Respecting Mother Earth: A Plea from the Teyuna People

by Dr. Denise R. Ames

This post is dedicated to celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day on October 8, 2018

10 Aluna

This looked interesting! A local interfaith group in Albuquerque, New Mexico was hosting the Teyuna mamos and zagas, spiritual leaders of the Arhuaco, Kankuamo, Kogi and Wiwi people of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta region of Colombia. They were known as the Guardians of the World, and were featured in several documentaries, including Aluna.

The packed parking lot of the host church indicated that I was not the only one who felt that listening to a message delivered by indigenous people who lived so far away would be an enlightening experience.  They were touring particular places in the United States, speaking and praying about water issues, while also offering healing sessions and begging us to act to save the Earth.

As I entered the commons area, I caught a glimpse of three men, along with their interpreter, sitting stoically at the front of the room. Interestingly they didn’t sit on stage, elevated above their audience, but they sat at the same level as everyone else, helping to foster an egalitarian atmosphere. Their off-white colored, wool hats contrasted sharply with their dark, black, straight hair.  As I learned later, the tall hats were as a way to connect them to cosmic energy and give them clear thoughts of the universe.

In this space, I would like to share with you a summary of their presentation and what I took away from the hour-long talk by the three indigenous men and their interpreter.  Others might have learned something different, as we all filter information through our own worldview and mental processes.  The guests were speaking from an indigenous worldview and most of us, I assume, who are reading this are Westerners influenced by a modern worldview.

Speaker One

map

map of Colombia, Teyuna on the northwest coast

The first speaker in a heart-felt fashion greeted us as brothers and sisters of this Earth. After all, he stated, we are all family on this Earth. His message was one of promoting respect, tolerance, and understanding, and for us to connect with the spirituality coming from the Earth. He wanted his message to connect with our feelings and not our minds. He “read” the audience and said we had compassion, courage in our faces, and resolution to go forward with our mission.

The speaker implored us to love each other and walk the path to love Mother Earth. He suggested different ways to express this love, but the basis of this love is respect. Of all the attitudes that we hold as humans, to him, gratitude was very important. The Teyuna people are grateful that they are on the same path as their ancestors in the region and they have a blessed relationship with the sacred mountain. They tap into spirituality connected to the mountain, since the creator has directed them to walk together.

They cannot forget this message from the creator, since it is part of them. The essence or rule of the message is “don’t disrupt the divine order.” This was the mission of the tour, humans cannot jeopardize the order. A balance of all forces is necessary.

The speaker concluded by reaffirming that his group was grateful to be in Albuquerque and to share their thoughts about their animistic religion with the audience. They feel they can “read” nature and the message is within the rocks and mountains; they, in turn, are guardians of rocks, streams, and mountains. The rocks and streams are telling them there is time to save Mother Earth, and that is why they came.

The next installment of this post will be on Friday, October 5, 2018

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 develops books and materials with a holistic, global focus 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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Divided: Colliding Ways We See the World


by Dr. Denise R. Ames

A very troubling discord that was simmering below the surface boiled over in the 2016 election. Deep divides among the American people, and the Western world, were starkly revealed. This blog post will summarize a way of understanding these divides. I feel that before divisions can be mended and solutions worked out a deeper understanding of people who hold different viewpoints than we do are necessary.

It is part of my work as president of an educational nonprofit, Center for Global Awareness, to write and teach about the colliding ways we see the world. I have used Jonathan Haidt’s six moral foundations—care/harm, fairness/cheating, loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, sanctity/degradation, and liberty/oppression—to explain how different groups of people see issues in these six categories differently. Personal experiences, education, geographic location, personality type, and other factors influence how a person can act in and see the world.

I have found in my research, however, that another layer of explanation is helpful in clarifying colliding viewpoints today. I have developed a model to explain how people throughout the world can be clustered into five different worldviews. A worldview is an overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world; a set of simplifying assumptions about how the world works. The five overarching worldviews in the world today are …

1) Indigenous: the ways of life and values of a dwindling number of native people throughout the world.
2) Modern: heralds scientific knowing, materialism, and technological advancement.
3) Fundamentalist: values their own traditions and often religious customs.
4) Globalized: promotes a philosophy of economic growth and prosperity.
5) Transformative: characterized by integrating diverse ideas and fostering collaboration.

Each of these five worldviews has subsets and differentiation. I will elaborate on them briefly.

The indigenous worldview is any ethnic group who shares a similar ethnic identity and inhabits a geographic region with which they have the earliest known historical connection. They have tight-knit social bonds and social mechanisms to reinforce group solidarity, a high-regard for the wisdom of their elders, and clear demarcations between male and female roles (at least in the past). Their religious practices, rituals, and customs are interwoven into their everyday life. “Mother Earth” and sacred geographic locations are integral to their worldview.

The modern worldview started to take shape around 1500 in the West and ushered in tremendous changes in how modern people see the world. The scientific revolution sparked different modes of thinking from religious/spiritual knowing to technical, materialist thinking. In different guises capitalism took shape and transformed the ways of working, living, and being of all people. Political changes swept away monarchies and led to representative governments, although totalitarian fascism and communism made their mark on the political climate as well in the 20th century. The environment was made a commodity, tied to capitalist output and growth. Socially, especially among the middle class, the nuclear family displaced the extended family, while the father became the “breadwinner” and mother assumed domestic duties. Liberalism, as a political philosophy—freedom of speech, press, and religion among others—still forms the bedrock of political systems in Western countries. Even though liberalism seems to be seriously challenged in the 21st century, its fate is far from determined at this point.

Although the modern worldview continues today, a subset—the postmodern worldview—developed in the late 20th and early 21st centuries and has gained more followers in the early 21st century, especially among the educated elite and young people. Some of the characteristics include the concept that boundaries have become more fluid as the distinction between male and female has blurred. Divisions between nation-states are challenged, and some even advocate for open-borders. There is great empathy for the “victims” of oppression—people of color, women, homosexuals, and native people—for what is considered to be the oppressive and colonial policies of modernism. Post-modernists tend to be more politically on the left and advocate for a very active role of the federal government in the realm of social welfare. Many eschew religious traditions and take a more secular, even atheistic, stance.

The fundamentalist worldview also has different subsets and belief systems. Primary in this worldview are those who hold to traditional religions, such as Christianity in the U.S. and Islam in the Middle East. They believe in authority figures and hierarchical structures, summarily dismissed by post-modernists. They believe in the sanctity of their religious beliefs and the primacy of their holy scriptures. Many have strict demarcations between genders. Some in this worldview turn to authoritarian political ideas rather than religious beliefs, such as supporting a strong leader and eschewing democratic customs.

The globalized worldview has emerged out of the modern worldview and taken a commanding stance in the 21st century. Those holding this worldview believe that progress can be realized through more sophisticated technological marvels, connecting the world into an intricate, technological and economic web. Poverty can be eliminated by growing the economy to include more people into prosperity and abundance. Globalization also influences social structures, with an elite, educated class more connected to people who hold a similar worldview around the world than their less-educated, fellow citizens. Culturally, the emphasis on consumer experiences and material wealth is more important than religious connections.

The transformative worldview is developing ideas and actions distinct from the other worldviews. It is about integrating the valuable characteristics of the other worldviews but also creating some unique beliefs. Although technology is important, there is not as much of an obsession with technological fixes as in the globalized worldview. Instead of an over-reliance on a globalized economy, there is an emphasis on the local economy, especially regarding food and the benefits of organic products. Even though multi-culturalism is important, allegiance is given to the nation-state as a viable political structure as well. Though there is recognition of the suffering by victims of past discrimination, there is a renewal of an ethic of personal responsibility to cope with the situation. There is more of a focus on spirituality than organized religion. Although in a nascent stage, this worldview has the potential to blossom into an influential force.

Understanding the characteristics of each of these five worldviews can help in addressing the deep cultural divide in the U.S.

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 develops books and materials with a holistic, global focus 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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