Karma and Compassion: Bridging the Cultural Divide, pt. 9

This is the ninth of an 18-part series that explores our deep cultural divide and offers 10 suggestions about how we can contribute to bridging the divide.

By Dr. Denise R. Ames

09.1 karmaSuggestion #6: Karma and Compassion

Compassion is one of the most important of the six moral foundations, since it is valued by all groups of people. It is embraced by traditionalist, but it is especially important among progressives. When understanding today’s left-right divide it is essentially a battle between the law of karma and the principle of compassion.

Jonathan Haidt in his book The Righteous Mind explains that conservatives generally want to live in a world governed by karma—the ancient Hindu philosophy in which people reap the fruits of their actions, both good and bad. Karma is usually thought of as a law of the universe, like the law of gravity.01.3 Righteous Mind

Conservatives have historically opposed the growth of the welfare state or government supported programs to help those at the lower rung of the economic ladder. Part of the reason for this opposition, as Haidt explains is “the belief that it grants people a sort of karmic exemption, allowing those who are lazy or irresponsible to draw resources from those who are more industrious.”

The right believes that the left has used government programs to indiscriminately redistribute money, Haidt continues, thus creating an entitlement society in which almost half of the people “are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”

Conservatives conclude that society would work better if people helped themselves instead of getting a handout, and unsuccessful people failed. This also includes unsuccessful businesses, such as the auto industry which received government-backed loans in the 2009 recession.

09.2 compassionProgressives, in contrast, would prefer to live in a world ruled by compassion. They are more likely to give people second and third chances, sometimes even more. They are eager to create government programs to help people to, in their view, succeed. For example, many progressives are enthusiastic about passing legislative programs such as Medicare for All, forgiving student loan debt, granting free college tuition, expanding food stamps, enlarging Social Security, and providing a basic income for all people. Generally, conservatives scorn these policies.

For a well-functioning society both karma and compassion are necessary pillars. Haidt concludes, “Conservatives are right that a world in which the law of karma applies tends to work better than one in which it doesn’t. Results from experimental games show that cooperation rates skyrocket when cheaters expect to be punished. But it is cruel and unfair to apply karmic thinking in an unkarmic world.”

09.3While the idea that unemployed people are lazy may sometimes be correct when the unemployment rate is very low, in an economy with a high unemployment rate that insinuation is not justified. In capitalist societies, hard work pays off much better than laziness, yet illness, disability, unemployment, and other kinds of bad luck can hit anyone. Capitalist societies can be unforgiving at times. Karma and compassion don’t balance themselves; that’s a job we must do.

 

01.2 DeniseAbout the Author: Dr. Denise R. Ames

Dr. Ames’ varied life experiences—scholarly research, teaching, reflections, and extensive travels—have contributed to her balanced and thoughtful perspectives. Earning a doctorate in world history education, she has taught secondary schools, universities, a community college, professional development trainings, and lifelong learners. In 2003, Dr. Ames founded the educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, developing globally-focused books and educational resources. She has written seven books, blogs, lesson plans, articles, newsletters, and teaching units for the non-profit and clients.

Dr. Ames is now developing a program called Turn—transformative understanding and reflection network—that encourages life-long learners to see things with new eyes, shift perspectives, and understand the balance in all things. She teaches classes and writes about cross-cultural awareness, indigenous wisdom, a transformative worldview, learning from the past, a mythic journey, and transforming travel.

Divided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate TheDivCover-dsm has just been released!

Divided addresses the question on the lips of every American: why can’t we get along? The cultural divide is threatening our democracy and destabilizing our country. Divided looks at the deep cultural divide through the lens of five colliding worldviews—indigenous, traditional, progressive, globalized, and transformative. This approach helps us make sense of our deep divisions and suggests ways of bridging them.

It is urgent that we understand and bridge the cultural divide. Bridging the divide is dependent upon first understanding it. Gaining an understanding of the five worldviews enhances our success of arriving at sensible solutions and increasing civil conversations. If not, rancor and intractability ensue.

Divided is one of nine books written by Dr. Ames and the Center for Global Awareness, check out their offerings! Global Awareness Books  

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We Aren’t All WEIRD: Bridging the Cultural Divide, pt. 8

This is the eighth of an 18-part series that explores our deep cultural divide and offers 10 suggestions about how we can contribute to bridging the divide.

By Dr. Denise R. Ames

Suggestion #5: We Aren’t All Weird

Many Weird (Western, Educated, Individualized, Rich, and Democratic) people, especially progressives, believe people in the United States and throughout the world share their values. Weird societies think of humans as autonomous atoms, whose morality can be reduced to avoiding harm. Morality in the contemporary West—at least08.1 Weird among the educated—tends to be centered on individuals in which anything that does not hurt someone else is acceptable.

Other people have moral codes that groups, relationships, institutions, and traditions are more important than individuals, and anything that gives priority to the individual is considered dangerous. But not all Western people are Weird.

08.2

Beige Weird, darker reds, non-Weird

Non-Weird morality thrives among many less-educated people, poor whites, and some African-Americans in the U.S., recent immigrants to the West, and those living in Eastern Europe, who are less likely to have lost racial or ethnic consciousness. Haidt notes, “They are more likely to think that certain things—homosexuality, incest, blasphemy, drug-taking, miscegenation, and prostitution, for example—are inherently bad whether they hurt anyone or not.”

It is ironic that many on the left who value multiculturalism and diversity are blind in many ways to the insularity of their own group consciousness. The progressive worldview is mostly based on Weird values, which often clash with the groups they believe are oppressed or who they are trying to “help.” In general, conservatives have a broader set of moral foundations than progressives.

08.3 choirAlthough conservatives care about individuals and subscribe to fairness, they also value the authority, loyalty, and sense of sanctity that groups need. For many traditionalists, their greatest gratifications come from losing their individual identity and cooperating full tilt with the team, platoon, congregation, dance group, or choir. Altruism, devotion, and heroism cannot exist without groups.

01.2 DeniseAbout the Author: Dr. Denise R. Ames

Dr. Ames’ varied life experiences—scholarly research, teaching, reflections, and extensive travels—have contributed to her balanced and thoughtful perspectives. Earning a doctorate in world history education, she has taught secondary schools, universities, a community college, professional development trainings, and lifelong learners. In 2003, Dr. Ames founded the educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, developing globally-focused books and educational resources. She has written seven books, blogs, lesson plans, articles, newsletters, and teaching units for the non-profit and clients.

 

DivCover-dsDivided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them has just been released! $14.95

Divided addresses the question on the lips of every American: why can’t we get along? The cultural divide is threatening our democracy and destabilizing our country. Divided looks at the deep cultural divide through the lens of five colliding worldviews—indigenous, traditional, progressive, globalized, and transformative. This approach helps us make sense of our deep divisions and suggests ways of bridging them.

It is urgent that we understand and bridge the cultural divide. Bridging the divide is dependent upon first understanding it. Gaining an understanding of the five worldviews enhances our success of arriving at sensible solutions and increasing civil conversations. If not, rancor and intractability ensue.

 

Divided is one of nine books written by Dr. Ames and the Center for Global Awareness, check out their offerings! Global Awareness Books 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Finding Commonalities: Bridging the Cultural Divide, pt. 7

This is the seventh of an 18-part series that explores our deep cultural divide and offers 10 suggestions about how we can contribute to bridging the divide.

By Dr. Denise R. Ames

Suggestion #4: Finding Commonalities: Emphasizing Similarities More Than Differences

07.1 commonalitiesWhen bridging the divide between two or more worldviews, a goal is to uncover universal commonalities that all people share. The process of discovering commonalities is also a way to build bridges.

A few of the universal commonalities that we all share include the need for dignity and respect, the right to advocate for a point of view without fear of violence or reprisal, love and acceptance, security and safety, protection, incremental progress that improves lives, and many more. The universal enjoyment of music, sports, entertainment, dance, place, and family is a shared interest that goes beyond differences and is a good topic for stories and conversations with those we perceive as different.

We have more that binds us together than divides us. Jonathan Haidt notes in his book The Righteous Mind that the key to making any group work better is to “increase similarity, 07.2 diamond marketnot diversity, because people trust people who are like themselves.” For example, culturally similar Orthodox Jews run extremely profitable diamond markets efficiently and honestly because they trust each other.

 

Members of the armed forces bond as a group because of their shared circumstances, despite ethnic or racial differences. 07.3 army marchingGroups that sing songs or march together feed the notion of similarity and this increases trust. Haidt even says “There is nothing special about race. You can make people care less about race by drowning race differences in a sea of similarities, shared goals, and mutual interdependence.”

01.2 DeniseAbout the Author: Dr. Denise R. Ames

Dr. Ames’ varied life experiences—scholarly research, teaching, reflections, and extensive travels—have contributed to her balanced and thoughtful perspectives. Earning a doctorate in world history education, she has taught secondary schools, universities, a community college, professional development trainings, and lifelong learners. In 2003, Dr. Ames founded the educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, developing globally-focused books and educational resources. She has written seven books, blogs, lesson plans, articles, newsletters, and teaching units for the non-profit and clients.

04.4 DividedDivided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them has just been released! $14.95

Divided addresses the question on the lips of every American: why can’t we get along? The cultural divide is threatening our democracy and destabilizing our country. Divided looks at the deep cultural divide through the lens of five colliding worldviews—indigenous, traditional, progressive, globalized, and transformative. This approach helps us make sense of our deep divisions and suggests ways of bridging them.

It is urgent that we understand and bridge the cultural divide. Bridging the divide is dependent upon first understanding it. Gaining an understanding of the five worldviews enhances our success of arriving at sensible solutions and increasing civil conversations. If not, rancor and intractability ensue.

 

Divided is one of nine books written by Dr. Ames and the Center for Global Awareness, check out their offerings! Global Awareness Books 

Posted in awareness, bridging the cultural divide, cultural divide, Uncategorized, worldviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Morality Binds and Blinds: Bridging the Cultural Divide, pt. 6

This is the sixth of an 18-part series that explores our deep cultural divide and offers 10 suggestions about how we can contribute to bridging the divide.

By Dr. Denise R. Ames

Suggestion #3: Morality Binds and Blinds

Morality binds and blinds. As we saw in Suggestion #2, Intuition, Not Reason, Drives Moral Judgments, moral arguments rarely change people’s minds. Jonathan Haidt in The Righteous Mind points out, “This is not just something that happens to people on the06.1 morality binds and blinds other side. We all get sucked into tribal moral communities. We think the other side is blind to truth, reason, science, and common sense, but in fact everyone goes blind when talking about what they hold sacred.”

Both liberals and conservatives are convinced they are trying to do the right thing, but their beliefs prevent them from recognizing the other side’s good will. Usually we think the other side has ulterior motives, but usually this is an error.

Haidt suggests that if you “really want to open your mind, open your heart first. If you 06.2 friendly conversationcan have at least one friendly interaction with a member of the other group, you’ll find it far easier to listen to what they’re saying, and maybe even see a controversial issue in a new light.” That is the way the moral mind works. But to the extent arguments do work, they have to reach the emotions first.

About the Author: Dr. Denise R. Ames

01.2 DeniseDr. Ames’ varied life experiences—scholarly research, teaching, reflections, and extensive travels—have contributed to her balanced and thoughtful perspectives. Earning a doctorate in world history education, she has taught secondary schools, universities, a community college, professional development trainings, and lifelong learners. In 2003, Dr. Ames founded the educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, developing globally-focused books and educational resources. She has written seven books, blogs, lesson plans, articles, newsletters, and teaching units for the non-profit and clients.

 

DivCover-dsDivided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them has just been released! $14.95

Divided addresses the question on the lips of every American: why can’t we get along? The cultural divide is threatening our democracy and destabilizing our country. Divided looks at the deep cultural divide through the lens of five colliding worldviews—indigenous, traditional, progressive, globalized, and transformative. This approach helps us make sense of our deep divisions and suggests ways of bridging them.

It is urgent that we understand and bridge the cultural divide. Bridging the divide is dependent upon first understanding it. Gaining an understanding of the five worldviews enhances our success of arriving at sensible solutions and increasing civil conversations. If not, rancor and intractability ensue.

Divided is one of nine books written by Dr. Ames and the Center for Global Awareness, check out their offerings! Global Awareness Books  

 

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Intuition, Not Reason, Drives Moral Judgments: Bridging the Cultural Divide, pt. 5

This is the fifth of an 18-part series that explores our deep cultural divide and offers 10 suggestions about how we can contribute to bridging the divide.

By Dr. Denise R. Ames

Suggestion #2: Intuition, Not Reason, Drives Moral Judgments, pt. 2

Most of the time, says Jonathan Haidt in his book, The Righteous Mind, “…if you want to change people’s minds, you’ve got to talk to their elephants, and you don’t do that with01.3 Righteous Mind reason. You do it by showing yourself to be a warm, attractive person. When you draw someone in emotionally, his elephant begins to lean your way, and the rider starts paying attention to what you say.” It is rare, but occasionally someone uses reason and arrives at a conclusion against her initial intuitions. However, “intuitions can be shaped by reasoning, especially when reasons are embedded in a friendly conversation or an emotionally compelling novel, movie, art, or news story.”

Moral reasoning is not about figuring out the truth. Haidt explains that if you do think this you will “be constantly frustrated by how foolish, biased, and illogical people become when they disagree with you. But if you think about moral reasoning is a skill we humans evolved to further our social agendas… and to defend the teams we belong to—then things will make a lot more sense. Keep your eye on the intuitions and don’t take people’s moral arguments at face value.”

05.1 Great DivideThe conclusion Haidt reached about reason and intuitions can be applied to today’s political divide. In 1950, the American Political Science Association, attempting to avoid sharp polarization, presented clear policy choices from two different perspectives. Regrettably, as the political parties developed differing values and lifestyles, they also developed opposing facts.

Republicans and Democrats believe different things about history, the Constitution, science, and economics. Explaining this dilemma Haidt states, “The main reason Republicans and Democrats can’t agree on basic economic facts is that people—including politicians and economists—seek out the facts required by their values.” When faced with difficult or unclear evidence, human reasoning does not ask about the truth but asks what evidence can I find to support this conclusion. Usually, we can find such evidence. Even when an overwhelming amount of reliable research points the other way, just one study supporting your side will seem totally persuasive, and you’ll find all kinds of reasons to discard the reliable science.

05.2 divideThe fact that emotions rule over reason has important ramifications for the cultural divide. When we believe our side is right and we find reliable facts to support our conclusion, it is usually an illusion we are chasing. Our emotions are ruling and the other side sees their side as equally right because they draw on a different set of facts to support their conclusions.

01.2 DeniseAbout the Author: Dr. Denise R. Ames

Dr. Ames’ varied life experiences—scholarly research, teaching, reflections, and extensive travels—have contributed to her balanced and thoughtful perspectives. Earning a doctorate in world history education, she has taught secondary schools, universities, a community college, professional development trainings, and lifelong learners. In 2003, Dr. Ames founded the educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, developing globally-focused books and educational resources. She has written seven books, blogs, lesson plans, articles, newsletters, and teaching units for the non-profit and clients.

DivCover-dsDivided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them has just been released! $14.95

Divided addresses the question on the lips of every American: why can’t we get along? The cultural divide is threatening our democracy and destabilizing our country. Divided looks at the deep cultural divide through the lens of five colliding worldviews—indigenous, traditional, progressive, globalized, and transformative. This approach helps us make sense of our deep divisions and suggests ways of bridging them.

It is urgent that we understand and bridge the cultural divide. Bridging the divide is dependent upon first understanding it. Gaining an understanding of the five worldviews enhances our success of arriving at sensible solutions and increasing civil conversations. If not, rancor and intractability ensue.

Divided is one of nine books written by Dr. Ames and the Center for Global Awareness, check out their offerings! Global Awareness Books  

 

 

Posted in awareness, bridging the cultural divide, cultural divide, Uncategorized, worldviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Intuition, Not Reason, Drives Moral Judgments: Bridging the Cultural Divide, pt. 4

This is the fourth of an 18-part series that explores our deep cultural divide and offers 10 suggestions about how we can contribute to bridging the divide.

By Dr. Denise R. Ames

Suggestion #2: Intuition, Not Reason, Drives Moral Judgments, pt. 1

Ever since Plato, Western thinkers have argued that reason is superior to the emotions. Jonathan Haidt notes in his book, The Righteous Mind, “Almost all the greatest

04.1 human nature

Human Nature

philosophers—Karl Marx, Franz Boas, Margaret Meade, Steven Jay Gould, and almost every social science department in the U.S.—have gone farther and claimed there is no such thing as human nature. Thus we can reason our way to utopia. …Radical reformers have to believe the mind is a blank slate if they are to write their fantasies on it.” But science has found that the mind is not a blank slate. Humans are guided by fear, disgust, anger, affection, sympathy, and loyalty in ways that have been sharply defined by evolution. Reason is a new arrival in our human history.

People do reason, but primarily to prepare for social interaction, not to seek the truth. 04.2Haidt has found that our intuitions actually rule over reason. His research helped shift moral psychology away from rationalist models that dominated in the 1980s and 1990s to an understanding of morality from an intuitive level.

To explain intuition Haidt devises an elephant-rider metaphor. Intuition drives the elephant’s emotional processing. Thinking is the rider, affect is the elephant—the rider 04.3 elephant and rideroccasionally tells it where to go. The rider has the ability to reason and think about the future so he is useful to the elephant, but the elephant—like other animals—runs mainly on instinct.

The rider is also, according to Haidt, “skilled at fabricating post hoc explanations for whatever the elephant has just done, and it is good at finding reasons to justify whatever the elephant wants to do next.” One of the most important functions of the rider is to make the elephant look good. Our instincts are immediate and the rider cobbles together moral justifications only afterwards.

The social aspect of moral reasoning is crucial. Moral reasoning, Haidt maintains, is “part of our lifelong struggle to win friends and influence people.” The real purpose of morality is to justify our own actions to others and to set up rules to compel them to act as we believe they should.

04.4 dog wagging tailArguments are unproductive. Haidt continues, “Moral reasoning is like a dog’s tail: You can’t make a dog happy by forcibly wagging its tail. And you can’t change people’s minds by utterly refuting their arguments.” If your arguments ever convince anyone, it is only after you have taken the trouble fully to understand what he or she feels and thinks. Haidt believes it is such an obvious point, yet few of us apply it in moral and political arguments because our minds so readily shift into combat mode.

01.2 DeniseAbout the Author: Dr. Denise R. Ames

Dr. Ames’ varied life experiences—scholarly research, teaching, reflections, and extensive travels—have contributed to her balanced and thoughtful perspectives. Earning a doctorate in world history education, she has taught secondary schools, universities, a community college, professional development trainings, and lifelong learners. In 2003, Dr. Ames founded the educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, developing globally-focused books and educational resources. She has written seven books, blogs, lesson plans, articles, newsletters, and teaching units for the non-profit and clients.

DivCover-dsDivided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them has just been released!  $14.95

Divided addresses the question on the lips of every American: why can’t we get along? The cultural divide is threatening our democracy and destabilizing our country. Divided looks at the deep cultural divide through the lens of five colliding worldviews—indigenous, traditional, progressive, globalized, and transformative. This approach helps us make sense of our deep divisions and suggests ways of bridging them.

It is urgent that we understand and bridge the cultural divide. Bridging the divide is dependent upon first understanding it. Gaining an understanding of the five worldviews enhances our success of arriving at sensible solutions and increasing civil conversations. If not, rancor and intractability ensue.

Divided is one of nine books written by Dr. Ames and the Center for Global Awareness, check out their offerings! Global Awareness Books  

 

 

 

 

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Understanding Others: Bridging the Cultural Divide, pt. 3

This is the third of an 18-part series that explores our deep cultural divide and offers 10 suggestions about how we can contribute to bridging the divide.

By Dr. Denise R. Ames

Suggestion #1: Understanding Others, pt. 2

Awareness of worldviews can be a seedbed from which understanding new, shared meanings emerge. There are several ways to help express one’s worldview: examining or 03.1 sharing storiescreating new or personal stories, designing new rituals, discovering common myths, and finding inclusive metaphors. Similarly, sharing stories of heroes and heroines helps people glimpse what is important to others and uncover values they share. In doing so, all parties reveal information about their identity, what they find meaningful, their ideas about life, and relationships.

By listening deeply to other stories, individuals find it harder to sustain negative images of others, discovering instead commonalities that had previously been missed. From this base of empathy, individuals are able to explore shared values with more ease, while not03.2 losing sight of the values they do not share. As we positively engage with each other, we can learn deeply about group identities (who they see themselves to be) and meanings (what matters to them and how they make meaning). As we go through this process of discovery, places of connection and divergence become clearer.

Prejudice may be reduced as one learns and understands more about different groups of

Stereotypes

people. Prejudice is a direct result of generalizations and oversimplifications made about an entire group of people based on incomplete or mistaken information. If one has the opportunity to deeply communicate with different people, both parties are better able to understand and appreciate different points of views. However, the quality of interaction not mere contact is key to bridging the cultural divide, since it is difficult for everyone to eliminate preconceived stereotypes and shift entrenched mindsets.

Mingling with one another in an informal and personal way and having long enough contact situations allows different groups to feel comfortable with one another. Without this interaction they learn very little about each other and cross-group friendships do not occur. But if people at different points on the divide use contact situations to trade insults, argue, resort to physical violence, or discriminate against each other, then contact cannot be expected to reduce inter-group conflict. To obtain beneficial effects, the situation must be positive. If a positive experience occurs, prejudice often diminishes.

01.2 DeniseAbout the Author: Dr. Denise R. Ames

Dr. Ames’ varied life experiences—scholarly research, teaching, reflections, and extensive travels—have contributed to her balanced and thoughtful perspectives. Earning a doctorate in world history education, she has taught secondary schools, universities, a community college, professional development trainings, and lifelong learners. In 2003, Dr. Ames founded the educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, developing globally-focused books and educational resources. She has written nine books, blogs, lesson plans, articles, newsletters, and teaching units for the non-profit and clients.

DivCover-dsDivided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them has just been released!

Divided addresses the question on the lips of every American: why can’t we get along? The cultural divide is threatening our democracy and destabilizing our country. Divided looks at the deep cultural divide through the lens of five colliding worldviews—indigenous, traditional, progressive, globalized, and transformative. This approach helps us make sense of our deep divisions and suggests ways of bridging them.

It is urgent that we understand and bridge the cultural divide. Bridging the divide is dependent upon first understanding it. Gaining an understanding of the five worldviews enhances our success of arriving at sensible solutions and increasing civil conversations. If not, rancor and intractability ensue.

Divided is one of nine books written by Dr. Ames and the Center for Global Awareness, check out their offerings! Global Awareness Books  

 

 

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Understanding Others: Bridging the Cultural Divide, pt. 2

This is the second of an 18-part series that explores our deep cultural divide and offers 10 suggestions about how we can contribute to bridging the divide.

By Dr. Denise R. Ames

Suggestion #1: Understanding Others, pt. 1

Understanding worldviews is a resource for empathy and analyzing conflicts when fundamental differences divide groups of people. I put this as the number one way in2.1 Empathy which we can bridge the cultural divide and this blog series is dedicated to that goal. It is fundamental to have a deep and personal understanding of others before progress can be made. However, it is difficult.

Our innate behaviors make it easy for us to communicate and connect with others in our immediate group, but when we talk with those outside our comfort group we may be on guard or uneasy about the situation. Practicing the 10 suggestions in this blog series may help us feel more comfortable and capable as we navigate bridging the cultural divide.

What kind of dog do you want or own? If you are on the liberal end of the political spectrum you are more apt to like dogs that are gentle and caring while conservatives 2.2 doglike dogs that are loyal and obedient. This makes sense, since liberals score high on the caring foundation and conservatives score high on loyalty. This is just one example of understanding differences. The world would indeed be dismal if everyone owned the same kind of dog.

Other differences abound as well. Liberals are more open to new experiences—people, food, music, travel, education—while conservatives prefer things that are more familiar to them. Jonathan Haidt notes in his book The Righteous Mind, “Liberal professors give a narrower range of grades whereas conservative professors accept inequality, and give high grades to good students and flunk the worst.” He has also found that conservative and liberal traits are inherited: “About half the variation in this trait is heritable in men and somewhat less in women.”

01.3 Righteous MindProfessor Haidt and his colleagues gleaned much of their research materials from their website, YourMorals.org. Website visitors answer questions about their moral foundations preferences from which Haidt has found that “conservatives understand the morals of liberals, but liberals do not understand those of conservatives. When conservatives are asked to answer questionnaires as if they were liberals, they generally get the motives right. But when liberals pretend to be conservatives, they attribute incorrect, evil motives. This is not surprising; liberals think conservatives are not just wrong; they are moral inferiors.”

This is not a very empathetic attitude to have if one’s goal is to bridge the cultural divide!

01.2 DeniseAbout the Author: Dr. Denise R. Ames

Dr. Ames’ varied life experiences—scholarly research, teaching, reflections, and extensive travels—have contributed to her balanced and thoughtful perspectives. Earning a doctorate in world history education, she has taught secondary schools, universities, a community college, professional development trainings, and lifelong learners. In 2003, Dr. Ames founded the educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, developing globally-focused books and educational resources. She has written seven books, blogs, lesson plans, articles, newsletters, and teaching units for the non-profit and clients.

Dr. Ames is now developing a program called Turn—transformative understanding and reflection network—that encourages life-long learners to see things with new eyes, shift perspectives, and understand the balance in all things. She teaches classes and writes about cross-cultural awareness, indigenous wisdom, a transformative worldview, learning from the past, a mythic journey, and transforming travel.

DivCover-dsDivided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them has just been released!

Divided addresses the question on the lips of every American: why can’t we get along? The cultural divide is threatening our democracy and destabilizing our country. Divided looks at the deep cultural divide through the lens of five colliding worldviews—indigenous, traditional, progressive, globalized, and transformative. This approach helps us make sense of our deep divisions and suggests ways of bridging them.

It is urgent that we understand and bridge the cultural divide. Bridging the divide is dependent upon first understanding it. Gaining an understanding of the five worldviews enhances our success of arriving at sensible solutions and increasing civil conversations. If not, rancor and intractability ensue.

Divided is one of nine books written by Dr. Ames and the Center for Global Awareness, check out their offerings! Global Awareness Books  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in bridging the cultural divide, cultural divide, perspectives, Uncategorized, worldviews | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bridging the Cultural Divide: A Difficult Endeavor, pt. 1

This is the first of an 18-part series that explores our deep cultural divide and offers 10 suggestions about how we can contribute to bridging the divide.

By Dr. Denise R. Ames

Do you ever think or say: “Why don’t they see that ______ (fill in the blank), it is so obvious to everyone?” It is difficult for us to see how and why another person acts, thinks, and responds the way he/she does. In other words, it is difficult to “walk in 01.1 walk shoesanother person’s shoes.”

But walking in another person’s shoes is exactly what we must do to help bridge the deep and treacherous cultural divide that threatens to tear us apart (even more) as a nation. We often wistfully talk about bridging the divide but actually doing so is more difficult than we imagined. We are often ridiculed or ignored for pointing out another person’s point of view, especially if that person is considered “the enemy” by the group you are with. When cultures are vastly different, or if people are opposed to such exchange, the cultural divide may prove difficult to bridge.

01.2 bridgeBridging the cultural divide can be beneficial. The chances of bridging the divide increase if we are able to develop astute cultural awareness, increasing our openness to dealing with major cultural differences. Improving one’s openness requires both humility when learning from others, curiosity, and deep reflection. It takes time and reflection to resist automatically filtering information and events through our own processing system. It is so easy to impulsively think and act as if our way is the best way. We need to develop cues that signal to us that it is time to step back and “walk in another person’s shoes.”

To help us bridge the cultural divide, I have outlined ten suggestions or “cues” that I have found are important in enhancing our cultural awareness and bridging the cultural 01.3 Righteous Minddivide. Improving one’s cultural awareness helps one to deal better with the stress, cultural shocks, and tension that invariably arise from interacting with people who hold other worldviews. I also draw on the insightful work of moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt who wrote the best-selling book, The Righteous Mind.

Rather than practical tips, these ten suggestions are more philosophical adjustments to our ways of thinking and behaviors that I have found helpful in understanding and opening us up to cultural and philosophical differences. Please join me in this 18-part blog series.

01.2 DeniseAbout the Author: Dr. Denise R. Ames

Dr. Ames’ varied life experiences—scholarly research, teaching, reflections, and extensive travels—have contributed to her balanced and thoughtful perspectives. Earning a doctorate in world history education, she has taught secondary schools, universities, a community college, professional development trainings, and lifelong learners. In 2003, Dr. Ames founded the educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, developing globally-focused books and educational resources. She has written seven books, blogs, lesson plans, articles, newsletters, and teaching units for the non-profit and clients.

Dr. Ames is now developing a program called Turn—transformative understanding and reflection network—that encourages life-long learners to see things with new eyes, shift perspectives, and understand the balance in all things. She teaches classes and writes about cross-cultural awareness, indigenous wisdom, a transformative worldview, learning from the past, a mythic journey, and transforming travel.

DivCover-dsDivided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them has just been released!

Divided addresses the question on the lips of every American: why can’t we get along? The cultural divide is threatening our democracy and destabilizing our country. Divided looks at the deep cultural divide through the lens of five colliding worldviews—indigenous, traditional, progressive, globalized, and transformative. This approach helps us make sense of our deep divisions and suggests ways of bridging them.

It is urgent that we understand and bridge the cultural divide. Bridging the divide is dependent upon first understanding it. Gaining an understanding of the five worldviews enhances our success of arriving at sensible solutions and increasing civil conversations. If not, rancor and intractability ensue.

Divided is one of nine books written by Dr. Ames and the Center for Global Awareness, check out their offerings! Global Awareness Books  

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Are We Tipping to a Transformative Worldview? Seeing the World through Corona Eyes, pt. 7

By Dr. Denise R. Ames

In the previous blog post (#6 in the series), I described the negative aspects of a consumer society. What can replace it? This concludes the blog series.

Physically, America is on lockdown to prevent the virus from spreading, but our moral, ethical, psychological, and spiritual patterns are not on lockdown, they are evolving, trying new expressions, while individuals and families are reconsidering them. Perhaps 7.1 consumer lifestylein this time of heightened inter-reflection and amplified anxiety, we can reflect on how the consumer lifestyle—spoon-fed to us through the ubiquitous advertising industry—needs to be carefully reassessed and refashioned. What will our way of life be like if the economy, the main designer of our lifestyles, either collapses or is rendered severely diminished.

Perhaps, in the Global Wave, the transformative worldview will prevail. This worldview emphasizes ecological balance, social fairness, local economies, participatory democracy, 01.3 Turn imageand psychic-spiritual connections. It is a worldview that I envision as enhancing global and personal well-being, as well as the well-being of our non-human neighbors in the natural world.

If change is going to occur that triggers the transformative worldview to prevail in the Global Wave, I find that the moral/ethical, spiritual, and psychological patterns need to be the driver of pushing the other patterns into a coherent and balanced wave of human development.

I see glimmers of this change in the opening-up I sense in the people I encounter (at a 7.2safe six-feet distance). Will it be enough to spark a change in the economic, political, social, cultural, and technological patterns, which will in turn push us to the transformative worldview eventually becoming the overriding worldview in the Global Wave.

It is a far cry from seeing more openness on some people’s faces to catalyzing a different wave of human development. Instead, we hang in a waiting game. Unsure about what the future holds but knowing that our old way of life is slipping out from underneath us. We are tottering from here to there all the while trying to seek a balance that is sustainable.

01.2 DeniseAbout the Author: Dr. Denise R. Ames

Dr. Ames’ varied life experiences—scholarly research, teaching, reflections, and extensive travels—have contributed to her balanced and thoughtful perspectives. Earning a doctorate in world history education, she has taught secondary schools, universities, a community college, professional development trainings, and lifelong learners. In 2003, Dr. Ames founded the educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, developing globally-focused books and educational resources. She has written seven books, blogs, lesson plans, articles, newsletters, and teaching units for the non-profit and clients.

Dr. Ames is now developing a program called Turn—transformative understanding and reflection network—that encourages life-long learners to see things with new eyes, shift perspectives, and understand the balance in all things. She teaches classes and writes about cross-cultural awareness, indigenous wisdom, a transformative worldview, learning from the past, a mythic journey, and transforming travel.

Divided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them has just been released! $14.95

DivCover-dsDivided addresses the question on the lips of every American: why can’t we get along? The cultural divide is threatening our democracy and destabilizing our country. Divided looks at the deep cultural divide through the lens of five colliding worldviews—indigenous, traditional, progressive, globalized, and transformative. This approach helps us make sense of our deep divisions and suggests ways of bridging them.

It is urgent that we understand and bridge the cultural divide. Bridging the divide is dependent upon first understanding it. Gaining an understanding of the five worldviews enhances our success of arriving at sensible solutions and increasing civil conversations. If not, rancor and intractability ensue.

Posted in awareness, coronavirus, Uncategorized, worldviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment