Updated: Feb 19, 2019
A worldview is a comprehensive perspective on everything that exists and matters to us. It holds incredible power which can drive us toward our dreams, yet also cloud our perception of reality and affect our judgment. While most people do not have an articulate and organized philosophy on life, everyone has a worldview. We may not be aware of our worldview in our daily lives, because it is so fundamental to our daily thinking. It is out of our worldview that we think and act habitually and unconsciously.
Our worldview is what we perceive in ourselves to be the obvious truth, truth that requires much of us to actually question.
Have you ever asked yourself: Where do I come from? What’s the point life? What happens to me when I die? All of us have thought about these questions in some shape or form because these are the questions that define our existence. Perhaps you were terrified because you did not have a good answer to these questions. Our worldview renders our world purposeful and stable providing refuge from these existential horrors. In our worldview we have an important role to play in a meaningful universe which often gives us a sense of significance that transcends a physical death. However, in some cases our worldview ceases to be sufficient and we implode in crisis.
It’s important to recognize our emotional commitment to our worldview. We tend to associate ourselves with those who share our own worldview, and tend to group ourselves together into religions, political ideologies, movements, and so on. We work together as teams to defend the worldview of our own group. Anyone who’s a sports fan will know quite well the dynamics of a team and its fans. We cheer for our team, applaud when it scores, make fun of players on the other team, and blame a game on the ref about a call that doesn’t go our way. And all of this feels satisfying to us because it feels good to be part of a team.
Instead of judging claims based on logical arguments and evidence our emotional commitment to our worldview often pushes us in the opposite direction: we tend to value arguments and evidence based on how well they fit within the context of how we see the world. What complicates the matter is the fact that we live in a digital world of information overload where we can easily receive information through social media, forums, news organizations that all cater to our own specific worldview.
Considering all this, it is important to see how something so subliminal yet fundamental to our reality can bias our perception. Have you ever questioned your own worldview?
I believe it’s important to learn about and engage in dialogue with people who don’t share our worldview, as crazy to us as they might seem. Because, occasionally dialogue when it is done with gentleness and respect can make us change our minds and broaden our vision of reality. And still, even when it doesn’t, it creates in us a sense of self-awareness, because when we encounter another’s worldview our own worldview and perhaps its imperfections and strengths become visible to us.
We have remarkable abilities for introspection and self-improvement. Through the analysis of worldviews we can reveal our own biases, cope with our insecurities, and address conflicts constructively and deliberately. It matters.