What Are You Talking About?

How can it be that you and I can spend an identical day and, at the end of that day, see our experience in different, perhaps vastly different ways? We can both read and listen to the same news stories, travel identical routes with the same sights and sounds and converse with the same people about the same subjects. Yet, if we give as accurate a report as we can about the events of that day, those reports may sound as if they originated on two separate planets.

We will each have experienced our day through the lens of our unique worldview and the results, although identical from a third-person perspective, will be very different for each of us. It is vitally important to know and to remember this when we find ourselves embroiled in a “difference of opinion” with someone. If another person does not experience the world as I do, how can I expect that other person to agree on a shared experience of that world? I cannot.

*start from – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_view#Development – and follow links

A worldview is an ontology, or a descriptive model of the world. It should comprise these six elements:
1. An explanation of the world
2. A futurology, answering the question “Where are we heading?”
3. Values, answers to ethical questions: “What should we do?”
4. A methodology, or theory of action: “How should we attain our goals?”
5. An epistemology, or theory of knowledge: “What is true and false?”
6. An etiology. A constructed world-view should contain an account of its own “building blocks,” its origins and construction.

NB: Ontology is the philosophical study of the nature of being, existence, or reality, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations. Traditionally listed as a part of the major branch of philosophy known as metaphysics, ontology deals with questions concerning what entities exist or can be said to exist, and how such entities can be grouped, related within a hierarchy, and subdivided according to similarities and differences.

1. An explanation is a set of statements constructed to describe a group of facts which clarifies the causes, context, and consequences of those facts.
This description may establish rules or laws, and may clarify the existing ones in relation to any objects, or phenomena examined. The components of an explanation can be implicit, and be interwoven with one another.
An explanation is often underpinned by an understanding that is represented by different media such as music, text, and graphics. Thus, an explanation is subjected to interpretation, and discussion.
In scientific research, explanation is one of the purposes of research, e.g., exploration and description. Explanation is a way to uncover new knowledge, and to report relationships among different aspects of studied phenomena. Explanations have varied explanatory power.

2. Futures studies (also called futurology) is the study of postulating possible, probable, and preferable futures and the worldviews and myths that underlie them. There is a debate as to whether this discipline is an art or science. In general, it can be considered as a branch of the social sciences and parallel to the field of history. In the same way that history studies the past, futures studies considers the future. Futures studies (colloquially called “futures” by many of the field’s practitioners) seeks to understand what is likely to continue and what could plausibly change. Part of the discipline thus seeks a systematic and pattern-based understanding of past and present, and to determine the likelihood of future events and trends. Unlike the physical sciences where a narrower, more specified system is studied, futures studies concerns a much bigger and more complex world system. The methodology and knowledge are much less proven as compared to natural science or even social science like sociology, economics, and political science.

3. Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct. The term comes from the Greek word ethos, which means “character”. Ethics may be divided into four major areas of study:
Meta-ethics about the theoretical meaning and reference of moral propositions and how their truth values (if any) may be determined;
Normative ethics, about the practical means of determining a moral course of action;
Descriptive ethics, also known as comparative ethics, is the study of people’s beliefs about morality;
Applied ethics, about how moral outcomes can be achieved in specific situations;

4. A methodology is usually a guideline system for solving a problem, with specific components such as phases, tasks, methods, techniques and tools. It can be defined also as follows:
1. “the analysis of the principles of methods, rules, and postulates employed by a discipline”;
2. “the systematic study of methods that are, can be, or have been applied within a discipline”;
3. “the study or description of methods”.
A methodology can be considered to include multiple methods, each as applied to various facets of the whole scope of the methodology. The research can be divided between two parts, they are qualitative research and quantitative research.

5. Epistemology is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope of lnowledge. It questions what knowledge is, how it is acquired, and to what extent it is possible for a given subject or entity to be known.
Much of the debate in this field has focused on analysing the nature of knowledge and how it relates to connected notions such as truth, belief, and justification.
The term was introduced by the Scottish philosopher James Frederick Ferrier , (1808–1864). The field is sometimes referred to as the theory of knowledge.

6. Etiology is the study of causation, or origination. The word is most commonly used in medical and philosophical theories, where it is used to refer to the study of why things occur, or even the reasons behind the way that things act, and is used in philosophy, physics, psychology, government, geography, spatial analysis,medicine, theology,and biology in reference to the causes of various phenomena. An etiological myth is a myth intended to explain a name or create a mythic history for a place or family.

Five Orders of Conciousness

David C. Korten in his book “The Great Turning”, lays out five Orders of Human Consciousness which I have greatly condensed and which are presented below —

The first experience of consciousness takes place in the womb where we float effortlessly in the warm amniotic fluids. There is no beginning, no ending. There is no “I” and no “not I”. Just to be is sufficient. For the first one to two years we learn to adapt to our physical world and to differentiate the “I” from the “not I”. From this point on, we progress through some or all of the following five stages of increasingly mature consciousness.

First Order: Magical Consciousness

A child of two to six years of age experiences a world influenced by magical beings, both friendly and sinister, such as those that exist in the classical fairy tales. Magical Consciousness is limited in its ability to connect the actions of the self and future consequences and cannot accept responsibility for such actions. Magical Consciousness depends on external figures to make things magically right.

Second Order: Imperial Consciousness

Transition from first order to second usually starts around age six or seven. A child at this age begins to discover that many relationships are predictable and that actions have consequences, and begins to explore its ability to influence the world through its own actions. The Imperial Consciousness is able to acknowledge another person’s point of view for purposes of calculating how to get what one wants but with little concept of loyalty, gratitude, or justice.

Third Order: Socialized Consciousness

Transition beyond the second order normally begins around age eleven or twelve. Coinciding with the onset of teenage rebellion, it brings a growing emotional intelligence and a recognition of the extent to which personal security depends on the mutual loyalty of the members of one’s group in a sometimes hostile world. It also brings an ability to see one’s self through the eyes of another and is capable of empathy.

Socialized Consciousness internalizes a play-by-the-rules, law-and-order mentality where fairness means a society that rewards those who work hard, leaves slackers to suffer their fate and demands retribution for wrongdoers. It adheres to culturally defined moral codes but lacks the ability to subject those codes to critical examination. It is the conciousness of those who have a “Small World” view defined by their immediate reference group and who expect that playing-by-the-rules will give them, their families and their communities a decent life. They do not yet grasp that complex system relationships may prevent whole classes of people from finding jobs or staying on the right side of the law.

Fourth Order: Cultural Concsiousness

Adulthood brings encounters with people whose cultural perspective is different from that of those in one’s own group. The initial reaction to such encounters is often a sense of cultural superiority or even absolutism: “The way of my people is the only right way”. A Cultural Consciousness is rarely achieved before age thirty, and the majority of those who live in modern imperial societies never achieve it, partly because most corporations, political parties, churches, labor unions and even educational institutions actively discourage it.

If, however, the Socialized Consciousness is secure in its identity, it may come to recognize that culture itself is a social construct and that cultural norms and expectations are subject to choice. This represents a profound step in the development of a true moral consciousness based on examined principles , and the beginnings of a capacity for cultural innovation. Those who have achieved a Cultural Consciousness are concerned with equal justice for all people not just for one’s own kind, and they work to repeal or revise unjust laws.

Those who raise significant challenges in an imperial society are likely to be subjected to a loss of standing or outright rejection. However, because they have the capacity to question the dysfunctional cultural premises of Empire, those who have achieved a Cultural Consciousness are essential to the cultural renewal and maturation that the Socialized Consciousness suppresses as threatening to the established social and moral order. They have an “Inclusive World” view that sees the possibility of creating inclusive, life-affirming societies that work for all.

Fifth Order: Spiritual Consciousness

The Spiritual Consciousness, the highest expression of what it means to be human, manifests the awakening to Creation as a complex, multi-dimensional, interconnected, continuously unfolding whole. It involves coming full circle back to the original sense of oneness of the womb experience, but with a richly nuanced appreciation for the complexity and grandeur of the whole of Creation as manifest in each person, animal, plant, and rock. Persons who have attained a Spiritual Consciousness have an evolving “Integral World” view.

Spiritual Consciousness is the consciousness of the elder statesperson, teacher, tribal leader or religious sage that supports an examined morality grounded in the universal principles of justice, love and compassion common to the teachings of the most revered religious prophets. It approaches conflict, contradiction and paradox not as problems to be overcome, but as opportunities for deeper learning. Each encounter with diverse people and situations opens a window to a piece of reality previously hidden from the conscious mind. Eventually, what appeared to be disconnected fragments of experience link together to awaken a profound sense of the spiritual unity of Creation.

The Socialized Consciousness is prone to characterize persons who have achieved a Spiritual Consciousness as lone contemplators disaffiliated from society because they disavow special loyalty to any group or identity. However, the Spiritual Consciousness simply transcends the exclusiveness of conventional group loyalties to embrace an identity that is inclusive of the whole and all its many elements. The sense of duty and loyalty once reserved for members of one’s immediate family, ethnic group, nationality or religion now extends to the whole. To the Spiritual Consciousness, the satisfaction of living in creative service to the whole is its own reward.

A 50th Anniversary Surfin’ Safari

For those too young to understand, Surfin’ Safari was the title of The Beach Boys debut studio album, circa 1962

I want to take you along on a “Surfin’ Safari” that started with a trip to the International Organization for a Participatory Society (IOPS) which I had previously identified as a nascent organization with which I might have a good deal of common ground. A post by another traveller on a pathway similar to my own led me to his primary idea mill, a WordPress blog titled “What should democracy look like?”. The blogger describes his work this way: “Exploring possibilities of what democracy can be is what this blog is about. It is being written by someone who is an advocate of democratic ways of looking at human potential, who sees everyone’s perspectives as valuable especially for creatively contributing to shaping a new world.” It sounded like we were on parallel routes to a very similar destination so I looked deeper . . . . .

. . . . . His Reprogramming the matrix of culture post made me promise myself I would watch the Matrix series again from a new perspective. As a start, I followed a link from the post to . . . . .

. . . . . a Wikipedia entry for The Matrix (franchise). Before finishing my reading there, I took a side trip . . . . .

. . . . . to an investigation of the meaning and history of utopian and dystopian fiction, the latter being a genre which is looking less and less fictional as the time passes with, as yet, no action to engage the global crises of the 21st century. A read through this entry comfirmed that I would be using “dystopian” as well as “utopian” a lot more in my writing in future. I still believe humanity is on the cusp of an evolutionary jump into a utopian existence . . . but we have to jump. If we sit on our collective cusp for too long we fall and the dystopia in which we would find ourselves is one we would probably not survive. By this point, descriptions of well-known works of dystopian fiction were beginning to look like many of the news items I read every day. I chose . . . . .

. . . . . The Handmaid’s Tale by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, described as “wherein a Christianity-based theocratic regime rules the future United States” – reality really bites. I can even visit the “Republic of Gilead” without so much as a ferry ride off my Canadian island, at least until the next federal election.

I seriously ask you to take a few minutes to ride the same wave I did, I think you will find this instance of Art becoming Life to be uncanny and disturbing. As for me, I now have three films and a book to add to my ‘Buck It’ list – I’d better get at it . . . . .