What’s In A Worldview?

In my last post, I wrote about Spiritual Intelligence and the amazing research Cindy Wigglesworth has done, mapping the terrain of this particular line of development. It’s no surprise that the very first skill in her 21-skill assessment is Awareness of One’s Worldview.

Worldview is a word invoked often these days to help explain the vastly different perspectives people hold. So what exactly is a worldview and why does it matter? A worldview is a perspective on the nature of reality. Where the ancients for instance, saw a world populated by demons that cause disease, the modernist lives in a world where microbes are the culprits. Worldviews develop over time out of our experiences, culture and personality; they become the lens through which we make sense of life. Or as my teacher, Ken Wilber, says “it is what the world looks like from a particular rung of consciousness . . . and at each stage the world looks different because the world is different.

Individually and culturally a worldview begins to shift and change when its limitations becomes apparent. Take a minute to think of a shift in your own way of looking at the world. The one that comes immediately to my mind was when I recognized the limitations of an exclusionary religious point of view. I could no longer agree that there was only path to salvation/awakening/liberation.

For many people, recognizing the fact that one has a worldview is a big step. Realizing that how you look at the world isn’t truth but simply how you see it is necessary to begin to understand a point of view other than your own. Until that step is taken, your worldview “has you.” In other words you are unable to take an objective look at it because you’re swimming in it. Once a certain degree of objectivity is obtained, it is said that “you have” the viewpoint; that which has been subject becomes object. From here then, the real work begins, culminating in developing enough humility about your lens on the world that you can be truly nonjudgmental and not expect everyone to see the world as you do. Sounds like a tall order indeed but if a significant number of us don’t get there soon, there’s not much hope for the world.





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