The Modern Worldview Part 4

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 1

The European Renaissance ushered in changes in European consciousness. Roughly encompassing the dates 1400-1600, a new spirit called the Renaissance swept across Europe among the educated, urban elite. Actually, there were two distinct Renaissances:

03d Michelangelo's David, symbol of the Renaissance

Michelangelo’s David, the Renaissance

first, a change in political, economic, social and religious conditions, and second, an artistic and cultural movement. The Renaissance, meaning “rebirth,” began in Italy and was a renewal of Greco-Roman civilization. Above all, the Renaissance was an age of recovery from the disasters of fourteenth century Europe such as the effects of the Black Death, political disorder, and economic recession.

The Renaissance celebrated a new attitude: the individual was extolled. A high regard for human dignity and worth and a realization of individual potentiality created a new social ideal of the well-rounded or universal person who was capable of achievements in many areas of life. Renaissance enthusiasts despised the Christian tradition of humility and encouraged a new pride in human improvement. An individual’s thirst for fame and a strong desire to put his imprint upon the contemporary world were at the heart of the Renaissance.

Secularism and a focus on the here-and-now affected a person’s acts and thoughts. Early Christians upheld a simple and humble way of life in keeping with the life and the teachings of Jesus, but this view shifted to one in which wealth and the acquisition of riches was respectable. Increasingly, people viewed life as an opportunity for glory and pleasure rather than as a transitory stop on the way to eternal bliss or everlasting damnation.

Man was the measure of what life had to offer. Renaissance entrepreneurs endorsed new business techniques in banking, bookkeeping, trade, and commerce. Highly valued was the pursuit of profit, a departure from Christian values of the Middle Ages. Unlike in 03c Renaissanceearlier Christianity, the merchant was elevated in status to reflect the growing impact of commerce. These Renaissance ideas would pave the way for further intellectual, scientific, political, economic and religious changes in the sixteenth century and beyond.

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 3

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.

Historical Origins of the Modern Worldview

The modern worldview traces its historical origins back more than 500 years to the expansion of Western European power and its influence and ultimate dominance around the world. This view has been especially powerful over the last two centuries

03c Christopher Columbus

Columbus “discovering” America

and has expanded to the farthest reaches of the world. “Modern” means relating to the present and recent time and not ancient, remote, or obsolete.

The modern worldview has ushered in a host of astonishing achievements such as the equality of women, medical breakthroughs, educational progress, and advancement of human rights. However it has also introduced appalling failures such as rampant consumerism, cut-throat competition, unlimited economic growth, the disintegration of community, military force to resolve conflict, and subjugation of nature. One of the challenges of the twenty-first century is how to draw on the achievements coming from a modern worldview and rethink or discard the darker elements.

Around the watershed date of 1500, a number of interrelated factors started shaping a modern worldview: the Renaissance, European exploration, the unleashing of

03c Martin Luther, Protestant Reformation

Martin Luther, the Protestant Revolution

capitalism, the scientific revolution, family structures, and the Protestant Reformation.

From these origins, the modern worldview evolved and morphed as different factors continued to shape its characteristics, ideology, and traditions. As a result of the coalescing of these various factors, powerful forces emerged that sparked changes in the way of life for people in Western Europe.

These changes were unevenly diffused at various times and places around the world. Of course, the introduction of a modern worldview around the world was not uniformly assimilated by those it encountered but was shaped by cultural differences, geography, and many other factors. Some people exposed to the modern worldview eagerly accepted the changes while others violently resisted it.

03c Renaissance

The Renaissance

Let’s next turn to a look at the ideological, philosophical, scientific, religious, political, environmental and economic characteristics of the modern worldview in more depth.

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 2

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.

The Modern Worldview

The ushering in of modernization around 1500 was a monumental shift in how people saw and acted in the world. In this 500 year period modernization has magnified and grown to spread its tentacles around the world. I have called this profound turning point in my holistic world history the Modern Wave. From 1500 onward a modern worldview has taken shape that eventually has dominated across the world. It is a profound occurrence, yet we are unaware that we are shaped by its impact.

03b changing worldviewsA worldview is an overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world, a set of simplifying suppositions about how the world works and what is seen and not seen. It is an internal collection of assumptions held by an individual or a group that are firmly believed to be self-evident truths. These assumptions shape an individual’s beliefs, ideas, attitudes, and values, which, in turn, affect behaviors and actions.

A worldview is a paradigm, a fundamental way of looking at reality which functions as a filter. When people look out through a filter, such as a pane of colored glass, they usually see through it, rather than seeing it—as with worldviews. It admits information that is consistent with our deeply held expectations about the world while guiding us to disregard information that challenges or disproves these expectations. A worldview acts as a built-in “operating system.”02c Subconscious Mind

Each of us has a worldview. It develops in part because we seek some understanding of our own significance. People desire certitude by which to live their lives. Through the lens of our worldview an individual is able to answer universal queries. These include notions of the existence or nonexistence of the supernatural and a deity or deities; the origins of the universe and of human life; the source of morality and values and identification of what is good or evil; how to live one’s life; the meaning of life and of death; and so on. To greater or lesser degree, people are able to obtain reassurances from worldview coherence.

The five worldviews—indigenous, traditionalist, progressive, globalized, and transformative—have emerged from or have been influenced by the worldview of the Modern Wave. Before going further into explaining the five worldviews, it would be helpful to describe the Modern Wave and the worldview that accompanies this profound shift in world history.

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 1

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.

The Modern Worldview

The ushering in of modernization around 1500 was a monumental shift in how people saw and acted in the world. In this 500 year period modernization has magnified and grown to spread its tentacles around the world. I have called this profound turning point

in my holistic world history the Modern Wave. From 1500 onward a modern worldview has taken shape that eventually has dominated across the world. It is a profound occurrence, yet we are unaware that we are shaped by its impact.

 

A worldview is an overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world, a set of simplifying suppositions about how the world works and what is seen and not seen. It is an internal collection of assumptions held by an individual or a group that are firmly believed to be self-evident truths. These assumptions shape an individual’s beliefs, ideas, attitudes, and values, which, in turn, affect behaviors and actions. A worldview is a paradigm, a fundamental way of looking at reality which functions as a filter. When people look out through a filter, such as a pane of colored glass, they usually see through it, rather than seeing it—as with worldviews. It admits information that is consistent with our deeply held expectations about the world while guiding us to disregard information that challenges or disproves these expectations. A worldview acts as a built-in “operating system.”

Each of us has a worldview. It develops in part because we seek some understanding of our own significance. People desire certitude by which to live their lives. Through the 02c Reading Glasseslens of our worldview an individual is able to answer universal queries. These include notions of the existence or nonexistence of the supernatural and a deity or deities; the origins of the universe and of human life; the source of morality and values and identification of what is good or evil; how to live one’s life; the meaning of life and of death; and so on. To greater or lesser degree, people are able to obtain reassurances from worldview coherence.

The five worldviews that I mentioned in chapter two—indigenous, traditionalist, progressive, globalized, and transformative—have emerged from or have been influenced by the worldview of the Modern Wave. Before going further into explaining the five worldviews, it would be helpful to describe the Modern Wave and the worldview that accompanies this profound shift in world history.

Part 2 of this blog series will be posted on Thursday, March 21

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

Posted in awareness, cultural divide, differences, diversity, History, perspectives, Uncategorized, worldviews | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

What are Worldviews? Part 10 

by Dr. Denise R. Ames

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 rest of the blogs in the blog series on what are worldviews, I would like to share with you some ideas that I have been exploring.

Bounded Assumptions in the Five Worldviews

Each worldview has many unquantifiable, bounded assumptions or finite reference points. An assumption is something that is accepted as true or as certain to happen without proof. The assumption or finite reference point is bounded within the meaning, 03adefinitions, and actions of the group perpetuating the worldview and gives the group meaning and guides its development.  (see blog on Monday, March 11 for indigenous and traditionalist) Below are a few of the bounded assumptions that people in each of the five worldviews unconsciously promote and exhibit:

  1. Progressive
  • Classic liberals believe that science is neutral and facts speak for themselves and should be sought after for validation of ideas.
  • Literal interpretation of events.
  • Humans are basically good and can become better through education and government help.
  • The educated elite are morally superior to others and because of their education they have the best ideas for non-elites.
  • Progressives degrade religious beliefs as superstitious, delusionary, and many are atheists.
  • They decry U.S. imperialism and attribute m37ost problems around the world to U.S. actions.
  • They see oppressed groups—women, people of color, LGBTQ, immigrants, Muslims—as victims and should be given preferential treatment.
  • White males have wielded power for centuries and now this should be reversed.
  • They believe radical change is necessary, and morally superior progressives will enact change, since they know the best strategies.
  • Cosmopolitanism.
  • Society, not the individual, bears ultimate responsibility for success and failure.
  • Compassion extends around the world, and many advocate for open borders.
  • Equity, not just equality, should be enacted.
  • The environment is in crisis.
  • The centralized state, run by progressives, should enact and enforce their agenda.

 

  1. Globalized
  • Globalizers believe that competition leads to the best outcomes if left to the free-market.

    gold

    gold

  • Economic growth and consumer choice are the highest goals of all societies and pursued at all costs.
  • Individuals are responsible for their own luck.
  • Consumer choice and an array of material goods lead to happiness and fulfillment.
  • Indulge all desires through the market place of consumer goods and services.
  1. Transformative
  • Transformers believe that compassion, love, and kindness are the highest ideals.
  • They promote a diversity of people and thoughts, in which all worldviews are appreciated without judgment or retribution. 38
  • They recognize that our human behaviors are rooted in our evolutionary past, and are not always rational or benign, but we progress as best we can.
  • Communicating in a civil manner in which all parties’ needs are met is ideal.
  • Earth is our home and must be treated with reverence for our continuation as a species.
  • Individuals have rights as well as responsibilities.
  • Participation in local communities and family, and a spiritual (although not necessarily religious) connection are the pathways to happiness.

___________

I have concluded that no worldview has gained dominance at this time. If this is so, it means that it will behoove us all to understand and learn to negotiate with people holding different worldviews in order to have a more peaceful, tolerant and viable future. We all have a voice and a critical stake in the future outcome.

Thanks for following my series on worldviews!

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 information about worldviews see Dr. Ames’ book Five Worldviews: How We See the World.

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What are Worldviews? Part 9 

by Dr. Denise R. Ames

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 rest of the blogs in this blog series on what are worldviews, I would like to share with you some ideas that I have been exploring.

Bounded Assumptions in the Five Worldviews

Each worldview has many unquantifiable, bounded assumptions or finite reference points. An assumption is something that is accepted as true or as certain to happen without proof. The assumption or finite reference point is bounded within the meaning, definitions, and actions of the group perpetuating the worldview and gives the group meaning and guides its development. 03a

I take the position that each worldview has many assumptions or finite reference points that followers unconsciously cling to and perpetuate. Although many will deny this fact, many of us cleave to these bounded assumptions that underlie and give meaning to our worldview. All of us presuppose certain things to be true without absolute proof, and arguments fall back on this point or points when an argument exhausts other evidence supporting it. Below are a few of the bounded assumptions that people in each of the five worldviews unconsciously promote and exhibit:

  1. Indigenous Worldview 36 Village in Mexico, photo Denise Ames
  • Mother Earth is a powerful force in which spirits permeate all material and nonmaterial elements
  • The Universe is omniscient and beyond the knowing of ordinary humans.
  • Communal ownership is better than private property and the community is superior to the individual.
  • Loyalty to the tribe or group is indisputable, while outsiders are viewed with caution.
  1. Traditionalist
  • Christians believe in a personal God and the way to heaven is through faith in Jesus. There are unquestionable absolute truths such as good and evil. Scripture, as written in the Holy Bible, is derived from God and is the ultimate Truth.
  • Those on the populist right revere a “strong man” who can most effectively make decisions for them. 22 Local business, Buckhannon, West Virginia
  • Science and facts can be manipulated and have limited value at times.
  • Stories, with lots of hyperbole, are a way to communicate in a nonliteral way.
  • Patriotism to the tribe or nation is a virtue.
  • The educated elites and science cannot be trusted all the time.
  • Liberty, freedom, and individual choice are cherished.
  • The individual bears responsibility for success or failure, not society.
  • They honor customs, traditions, and rituals of the past and those associated with their religion.
  • Family is of utmost importance and a supportive entity.

The blog series on worldview will conclude this Thursday, March 14.

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 information on worldviews see Dr. Ames’ book Five Worldview: How We See the World…

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What are Worldviews? Part 8

by Dr. Denise R. Ames

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 rest of the blogs in the blog series on what are worldviews, I would like to share with you some ideas that I have been exploring.

Altering a Worldview

Worldviews influence how we see ourselves and others and how we make meaning of our lives and relationships. Since resolving conflict and negotiating through a multi-cultural, complex world necessarily involves some kind of change or accommodation, it is essential to understand the operation of worldviews.02c Subconscious Mind

When people are asked to change their worldview, identity or what they find meaningful, they will often resist. Worldviews keep our lives coherent, giving us a sense of meaning, purpose, and connection. Conflict resolution processes need to help people look into each other’s worldviews without trying to change them. It is possible to uncover shared values without fundamentally changing worldviews.

A worldview is susceptible to alteration. An adult’s worldview may, but need not, remain consistent. As a person goes through life there may be events that compel a radical reformation of outlook. For example, exposure to new ways of thinking through education may induce a changed perspective. Vivid experiences or persuasive encounters may cause a dramatic shift in outlook. Exposure to 03b changing worldviewsdifferent cultural practices, mores, geography, living circumstance, or significant tragedy or success, may change one’s way of thinking about life and meaning.

Purposeful attempts to modify another person’s worldview may not be successful. Stress and internal conflict (for the one who is the target) may show up. For example, when an educator teaching evolution challenges a student who believes in creationism, the student may resist the imposition. Even a person intimidated or persecuted to change their worldview may resist. Presenting facts that reinforce a particular worldview does little to persuade others to change their worldview to the one that is perhaps more factually accurate.

Our blog series on worldviews continues. Stay tuned!

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

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