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