Test Drive a Worldview

Jeff Carreira Philosophy 13 Comments

To respond to Andy, I knew that I was getting myself into some trouble by oversimplifying and over-generalizing philosophy and breaking it down into metaphysics, epistemology and ethics. I was lumping things, like logic into epistemology and aesthetics into ethics (which I probably would have been better off calling values theory.) I also regret using the phrase “complete” to describe a philosophical system when in fact “closed” would have better conveyed what I meant.

The point that I was making still intrigues me and it has to do with the nature of what a worldview is. In my last post I argued that if a philosophy dictates “what is real,” “how you determine what is real,” and “how you value what is real,” then it is a closed system. Internally it will be completely consistent, and as long as you “believe” in these three pillars everything (to lift a phrase from Carl) on the inside will look like non-fiction (ie. true) and everything on the outside will look like fiction (ie. not true.)

A worldview is not only a set of ideas or beliefs about the world; it is a complete psycho-emotional mental filter of the world. It is a 360 panoramic view of the real. Your worldview dictates how you think about the world, how you feel about the world and how you respond to the world. It envelops us so that the world from inside what worldview looks and feels completely different than the world seen from inside another.

As I study philosophy I like to try to get inside – to the extent possible – different worldviews and drink them up, appreciating each on its own merit before comparing them one to another. If I read enough and think enough there seems to be a point where I get a glimpse of the world from inside that worldview.

Recently, I have been reading the romantic poets, philosophers and scientists and sometimes I really seem to get a sense of the world they were looking at. It was a world of open and unlimited possibility in which strangely marvelous and unseen natural forces were guiding the movement of life. These natural invisible movements were continuously revealing themselves and there was a sense of awe and wonder at the marvel of life and reality. The Romantic mind has an aversion to too much control over the forces of nature. They prefer a kind of philosophical/spiritual/emotional aikido. They attempt to feel the underlying currents of life and match them in speed and intensity and allow the power of those deeper forces to move them so that they become an instrument of life.

It was this romantic spirit that was so alive in the work of the American Transcendentalists. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Bronson Alcott, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and the other brilliant lights of Concord and New England were blazing Romantic spirits. And look at the wondrous result! Almost all of American culture can be traced to some aspect of their genius. There are four houses on two streets in Concord in which a huge amount of greater American literature was created. We might look at them through a modern lens and find much of their thinking lacking. The question remains if we will be as influential on our future as they have proved to be on theirs.

Rare Personal Aside: I was married this past weekend in the Hillside Chapel that in the late 1800’s housed The Concord School of Philosophy. That school, which ran for 10 consecutive summers, was a gathering place of great minds from across America. My wife (Amy) and I gave a brief talk to all who gathered expressing some of the ways in which we have both been inspired by their romantic pioneering spirit. And so I am thinking a great deal about these romantic thinkers and the world they lived in.

About the Author

Jeff Carreira
Jeff Carreira is a mystical philosopher and spiritual guide. He is the author of eleven books on meditation and philosophy. He teaches online programs and leads retreats throughout the world that teach people how to let go of their current perceptual habits so they are free to participate in the creation of a new paradigm. To put it simply, he supports people to live a spiritually inspired life, free from the constraints of fear, worry and self-doubt, and aligned with their own deepest sense of meaning and purpose.
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Catherine
Catherine
11 years ago

Dear Jeff, congratulations to Amy and you for your marriage ! let me just have a secret wish for both of you, coming from my personal worldview … when it will realize itself I will tell you ! This was a typical example of magical thinking, but a Marriage is Magical, no ? As a scientist, it is always Ok for me to simplify things. Even if the simplification is too radical, you can always come back on it later, so no problem with this. The great Soviet Scientist Lev landau ( one of the very few who was so… Read more »

David Noel Lynch
David Noel Lynch
11 years ago

Six years ago today as my world view crashed and burned, abstract photography began to spill out of my soul. The world around me became molten. Simplistic views like, “good bad”, “left right”, “in out”, “fiction non-fiction” could no longer explain my view of the world. What I needed was a tool to help me see a tri-nary world, “left middle right”, “Thesis Synthesis Anti-Thesis”, “Birth Life Death”. Over the next year an equation emerged that in the spirit of Hegel uses Socrates, Newton, and Einstein to describe a moment of time.. At that point, I became burdened with a… Read more »

Juma
Juma
11 years ago

Thanks for the post Jeff and congratulations on your marriage. It may be unhelpful to use the term ‘worldviews’ when characterizing the values/views/beliefs of others. The oversimplification lends itself to hubris at best, violence at worst. Beyond, that is, being a very general guide (a point I would concede has some merit in the most general of orientations). This fixed notion of worldviews is a blunt edge with little nuance, save stacking and measuring blunt edges against one another. More helpful is to elevate the logical faculty in tandem with imagination to follow the facts and augment this with the… Read more »

Shizuka
Shizuka
11 years ago

Q1:What is “world view”,what is the definition? Q2: What is heart,spirit and grace? Reading comments, Category seems exist “Mind”(logic,imagination) one hand, “Intuition,Magical,mystic,Romantic spirit,soul,beauty,grace” on the other hand. I think underneath of discussion is Evolution of consciousness and deeper understanding of truth are possible to takes one leap beyond mere possibility to actuality by responding inner spiritual impulse coming from Consciousness,Spirit,Itself . VS, Leverage our mind (logic,imagination) seems more effective for Evolution of consciousness and deeper understanding of truth. Personally,it’s not so simple for my own choice and examine the effect of it because “Money” as the deep held values/views/beliefs and… Read more »

Carl
11 years ago

Jeff, I’m not sure how much this aligns with Juma’s thoughts, but as I read your post, I couldn’t help but think of the cultural value sets or memes that I first learned about from Don Beck. In those terms, your description of the Romantics sounds like a throwback to the Purple meme — mystical, magical, very pre-modern, sort of like much of the New Age throwback that happened again more recently. Sitting as I am in Korea at this moment, it’s hard not to see a worldview as a combination of values — in the Korean case a soup… Read more »

Brian
Brian
11 years ago

Jeff, Thanks for test driving different worldviews, surely a useful undertaking for spiral wizardry. Your role as a worldview mentor allows for it. Maybe next you’ll consider the migrant farmer worldview or the aboriginal australian worldview and tell what you find. The rest of us may have to pick one and live by it, adjusting as we go.

Shizuka
Shizuka
11 years ago

Step on the side
To Carl
Re:”In the Korean case a soup of Confucian, Christian, Buddhist and modern scientific/logical thinking and values.”
That’s so cool !,because you may be able to see more objectively than Korean.I myself Japanese -grown up so called eastern culture.
One of the reason,I feel the potential in US is diversity.By seeing my kid in school, their parents are migrant from so many different countries.

Frank Luke
Frank Luke
10 years ago

Is it too judgemental and religiously incorrect to posit that some of the religions now currently practiced are centuries old and founded on beliefs that really need to be questioned, re-evaluated and scrapped? What kind of arguments can more modern and conscious faiths and peoples present to these religions to forsake intolerance, cruelty and out-moded errant thinking that fly in the face of human rights, universal spiritual truths (not Western ideas , universally recognized)?

vanessar
vanessar
10 years ago

jeff I have a whole new insight into philosphy after reading this piece and may actually look into a philosphy course in the future. i think that you have touched some very controvesal topics in this piece which are very scary for many people to write about as they are unsure about the repsonse and what may happen when people read this. it is true that many people do judge soley on thier believe and their religion and their moral values instead of taking into consideration the whole topic or all the ideas of everyone and taking them into consideration… Read more »

Brittany F
Brittany F
10 years ago

Jeff I now view philosophy in a different way. I hav encountered a lot of diversity because of where I’m from so I can relate to your post because New York is very diverse and different. I don’t agree with everyones view but I dont ignore then either. I’m open to everything.

Branavi N.
Branavi N.
10 years ago

Hey Jeff, I thought your article was very interesting and it opened my mind to different views. After reading this I had questions like why is that we all have different views and believes about the world and how would the world be like if we all thought, felt and believed in the same things? I didn’t get what you meant when you were talking about 360 panoramic view of the real. It would be really helpful if you can expand or define it for me. We all have different opinions and thoughts because of our culture, religion, education, where… Read more »

Pooja P.
Pooja P.
10 years ago

I think the point you brought up about worldview was valid, however the view you talked about, is that possible? With so many different religions and ideas is it possible to have a unified worldview? A worldview is how one feels about themselves, so why can’t we have a unified world view?
Overall, this was a wonderful piece =)

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[…] if a philosophy dictates “what is real,” “how you determine what is real,” and “how you value what is real,” then it is a closed system. Internally it will be completely consistent, and as long as you “believe” in these three pillars everything (to lift a phrase from Carl) on the inside will look like non-fiction (ie. true) and everything on the outside will look like fiction (ie. not true.) {Test Drive a Worldview} […]