Differing Worldviews Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1575 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

worldviews worldview is a lens or filter through which individuals perceive reality. Worldviews shape personal values, identities, and priorities in life as well as relationships, career choices, behaviors, and cognitions. Religion, socioeconomic status, place of birth, culture, religion, and lifestyle all influence worldview. Not all variables impacting worldview are external, though. Namely, a person's psychology and personality interact with external factors to create worldviews. Who he or she interacts with daily also impact how the individual views and interprets the world. Education and the media also mold people's outlooks on life. The media presents powerful images and themes that influence how a person perceives important issues like sexuality, money, the value of work, and the meaning of life.

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Gender and sexual preference may also be factors playing a role in how an individual perceives reality. No one of the factors affecting worldview is any more important than another, although some of them invariably have a greater influence on an individual. For example, a person whose parents are devout Christians would be more influenced by religion than a person whose family was secular. Strongly nationalistic cultures would tend to generate individuals more cognizant of their national identity than those that emphasize ethnicity before nation. People who value formal education are more likely to allow their worldview to be shaped by teachers than those who do not. The degree to which factors like religion or culture shape worldview also depends on the individual's ability to think critically about how his or her identity is formed. A person has control over his or her worldview and can question values and beliefs by investigating variables like religion, culture, and class.

Term Paper on Differing Worldviews Assignment

Gender is one of the foremost features determining a person's worldview. Both because of socialization and because of biology, gender and sexuality become fundamental features of personal identity. A person forms his or her identity through the lens of gender and after puberty, through sexuality as well. Gender norms play a greater role in determining worldview than biological sex does. Biological sex and sexual preference do shape a person's psyche and consequently the person's cognitive and emotional reactions. However, the impact of biology on worldview is limited. Socialization plays a far greater role in shaping worldview than biology. Gender role socialization teaches boys and girls the standards for behavior and ideal roles that are based on their respective genders. Those behavioral standards and role modeling in turn impact worldview. Until recently, females did not hold positions of power and were excluded from the political process. Their worldviews were colored by their social status, their roles as wives and mothers. Males who are taught to exercise their innate aggression, would be more likely to view violence as a solution to a problem than a female who is encouraged to react passively to provocation.

Like gender, race and ethnicity play powerful roles in determining worldview. Especially in regions with rampant racism, being from an ethnic background different from the dominant culture means seeing the world as an outsider. Societies historically create structural inequities that are based on race and ethnicity. The dominant culture might not be the majority population either. Dominant cultures are those possessing greater wealth and political power than others within the same region. A person from a socially subordinate culture within a society would develop a far different worldview than a person from a culture holding the greater portion of wealth and power. The worldview of the politically disenfranchised is shaped by experiences of discrimination or even outright physical abuse. A worldview of suspicion and anger can easily arise from situations in which individuals and their communities are politically and economically disenfranchised. Besides being related to social status, ethnicity also informs an individual's worldview by creating in-group and out-group status. Growing up a part of a specific ethnic group often entails fraternizing with people from the same ethnic enclave. The influence of friends and family members within the specific group increases the impact of ethnicity on personal identity as well as on worldview. Whether a person feels a part of their ethnic group or not also impacts worldview.

Different cultures carry with them different myths and stories about their history and place in the human fabric. Therefore, worldview is heavily influenced by culture. A Native American worldview would have included plants and animals as being imbued with life, whereas a Christian worldview views human beings as having dominion over all of nature. A person would develop a different worldview if he or she were born into a culture that emphasizes war as a plausible solution to conflicts vs. one that values peace at all costs. Culture influences views related to family, sexuality, politics, and religion.

Religion and spirituality affect worldview on a fundamental level. Informing how a person views reality, religion shapes viewpoints on almost every subject. Starting with a person's view of deity and creation, religion might make a person fatalistic. Those whose religion teaches that the world will come to an end will think and act differently than those whose worldviews do not include apocalyptic visions. Religions also offers guidelines about human ethics and morals. What constitutes right vs. wrong behavior is often codified in religious canons. Growing up in a religious family or community would have an enormous impact on worldview. Some may view religion as the most important facet of human existence: an essential lens through which to perceive life. Others may imagine religion as a hindrance to critical thought, reason, and freedom and therefore devalue its role. How a person feels about the existence of deity or deities and whether or not the person believes in afterlife or reincarnation are also worldviews affected by religion. If a person feels that all living things have value then he or she might become a vegan; if a person feels that human beings have a natural dominion over all other living things then that person might not care about endangered species.

Language and worldview influence each other. Some Native American languages refer to rocks and trees as being animate: filled with life (Young 2005). Language influences views on gender too, as some languages assign gender to each and every noun. Thus, nouns that are gendered "male" will be viewed as masculine objects vs. those nouns gendered female. If the word house is female, it naturally follows that female human beings are expected to be householders or stay-at-home moms.

Socio-economic status has a strong bearing on a person's worldview. Living in poverty can create suspicion, disillusionment, and anger. The feelings and experiences related to poverty, especially when poverty is related closely with income disparity and systemic class subjugation, can create a bleak worldview. Those who live in crime-ridden neighborhoods often do so because social class status impacts quality of life. Without access to pathways for upward social mobility, persons living in poverty can barely hope to overcome their current conditions. The American Dream is a dying worldview. Once integral to the consciousness of the country, the American Dream now seems nothing but a silly illusion. People living in poverty remain in poverty because of having no access to the opportunities that are available to socially privileged persons. Class is also related to race and ethnicity, and so all three intertwine to influence worldview.

The place someone is born and raised affects worldview, especially because of the differences between cultures. Pluralistic societies like the United States are comprised of many Different cultures, but the nation itself conveys powerful myths and ideals to its citizens that in turn shape worldview. For example, the American Dream is a product of American culture and is a worldview that suggests that anyone can achieve upward social mobility and financial success if the person works hard enough. American worldviews also include a strong preference for individual rights and… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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