A revised concise definition of a worldview is ‘the set of beliefs about fundamental aspects of Reality that ground and influence all one’s perceiving, thinking, knowing, and doing.
In simpler terms, this is our explanation and interpretation of the world we live in; we use it as a yardstick in attempting to understand the complex geo-political, philosophical, scientific and religious aspects of contemporary life. Of course this also includes those who don’t subscribe to any religious belief, their non-belief being factored into their worldview, the physical (world) being the only evidence for them in the absence of the transcendent, or entertaining the possibility that we might inhabit a type of simulated reality,( a matrix) so for them philosophy and its abstract concepts, as well as personal morality feature as substitutes.
Another succinct and more understandable definition is provided by Walsh and Middelton
A worldview provides a model of the world which guides its adherents in the world”
Anyone who denies they have a worldview is naïve, and anyone who insists that it does not affect their thinking and actions, must acknowledge that their behavior is then impulsive, reflexive, or emotional at best, or ignorant or irrational at worst.
A crude form of our worldview begins in childhood, with good and bad experiences shaping it, as well as the lifestyles and examples (or lack of it) of our parents.
If one was intimidated as a child and taught that you were either going to be in control or be controlled, it would make some sense that you would choose control, and devote your life in getting and staying in charge over others. Of course this message might have also been conveyed by some hardship or experience, and this has been adopted as a coping mechanism.
Our outlook broadens on completion of our formal education, with new experiences and perceptions added to the mix along the way.
In adulthood, our beliefs are predominately determined by those who control our access to information, such as learning institutions and especially the media. Our worldview is then shaped by our favorite news channel or newspaper, where a simplified reality is presented, as well as defining who constitutes the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ guys on the world stage, without there ever being any grey areas in between.
It’s no wonder therefore that our worldview can become one dimensional with truth being the casualty.
The bald-faced lie the media presents as being merely a mirror that reflects and represents society, instead of actually dictating and disseminating its values, and being the sole custodian of information via its economic and political control system.
Of course it’s possible for those of a religious persuasion to share a particular geopolitical worldview with others who do not subscribe to any beliefs, or with those of another religious belief system, as realpolitik then becomes the common denominator. The same can apply to scientific worldviews. So we can share views of the world and its systems without sharing a religious framework.
The point of departure then is between philosophies versus religions.
Of course our worldview can also be diametrically opposed as well.
A prevailing worldview of the 21st century is one in which war is considered viable, not to mention profitable and necessary, as well as for strategic self -interest purposes, that starvation is inevitable for some, and it is acceptable for a minority to tax and control others against their will.
It is also necessary to consider the motivation and funding sources of those who shape our worldview, be they news sources, role models, scientific and religious organizations, employers, schools etc.
Vested interests play a vital role in this phenomenon.
People can and do change their worldviews, as they become more aware of reality, mainly through observation and research or through an unexplained prompting to examine reality, which leads one to the same conclusions.
Here are some interesting questions to consider in creating a personal profile in attempting discovering one’s worldview.
Who am I?
Where does my consciousness arise from?
Can I think for myself and trust my direct experience or knowledge
What gives meaning to my existence?
What is my purpose and the purpose of life?
What are basic human rights?
What is freedom?
Which is more primary in finding our way, the rights of the individual or the opinion of the majority.
Is our reality bounded or open?
Is the universe basically trustworthy or not
Is there such a thing as good and evil?
What is integrity, and does it matter to the quality of life
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy
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