project WORLDVIEW worldview theme info copyright 2009 Home
Related Words, Beliefs, Background
|Worldview Theme #37A:||Worldview Theme #37B: Global Citizen|
Worldview Themes #37A and #37B -- these themes involve
orientations, beliefs or behavior that are (more or less) diametrically
affirmative action -- in decision making related to offering jobs or extending other opportunities to individual applicants, preferentially favoring members of some minority group to make up for this group’s past, unjust exclusion from the chance to have certain employment, educational or other opportunities.
American exceptionalism--the belief held by many Americans and repeatedly promoted by its leaders, that the United States is a special nation--superior to others because of its unique heritage. Many Americans have historically added a religious dimension to this: "It is our manifest destiny," "God is on our side," "We are God's shining city on a hill," etc. With this belief comes what some describe as a duty: to serve as an example or beacon for other nations to follow. Others see it (sometimes arrogantly) as a right. As Howard Zinn describes it, the latter believe that "the United States alone has the right, whether by divine sanction or moral obligation, to bring civilization, or democracy, or liberty to the rest of the world, by violence if necessary."
civics -- broadly it can be thought of as a social science concerned with the rights and duties of citizens, but more narrowly it refers to these in the educational content of a particular political or cultural tradition.
cousin marriage--a way to build the internal cohesiveness and loyalty of a clan. By marrying a blood relative such as a cousin, a man's bond with his wife does not threaten his allegiance to his clan or the social fabric, rather it instead strengthens it. This practice occurs at high rates throughout the Middle East and wherever traditional societies have yet to be replaced by modern, individualistic societies.
dividing people, tactics used to do this -- those who fear the collective strength of people who have organized and united to form a group, often seek to exploit differences within the group and destroy its populist mission. Differences exploited often include race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic class -- but fracturing can occur along many potential fault lines if outsiders are working to encourage it. After the fracturing, people who previously fully embraced populism may have moved away from it (to some extent) and toward individualism, and blame, dissension, finger-pointing, lack of trust, etc. may exist where previously they didn’t.
ethnic group–its members share beliefs, values, traditions, customs, habits, behavioral norms, and common language, religion, homeland, history, heritage and/or race.
ethnocentrism-- adopting the social standards of one’s own culture or ethnic group as the basis for evaluating the social practices, customs, beliefs, etc. of another culture -- and doing so because you believe your society’s values and way of living are superior to those of other cultures.
exclusive -- excluding others from participating. American writer, poet and populist Carl Sandburg, whose works included a 1936 book entitled The People, Yes! , when asked what word he most detested, replied, “exclusive”.
fascism -- a centralized authoritarian system of government that exalts law and order, national pride, race, economic and social regimentation, and the survival of the fittest , while suppressing dissent, and trampling individual freedom. Playing on prejudice in using propaganda and scapegoating minorities are among tactics used by fascists.
homosexual marriage--an arrangement in which two people of the same sex live together as a family. Controversy surrounds organized efforts to ban such marriages, extend to them the same legal rights that heterosexual marriages get, or something in between. Civil unions or domestic partnerships fall in this last category, in which partners enjoy some but not all of the benefits of marriage.
indigenous people--in 2004 the United Nations provided the following definition: "Indigenous communities, peoples and nations are those which, having a historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that developed on their territories, consider themselves distinct from other sectors of the societies now prevailing on those territories, or parts of them. They form at present non-dominant sectors of society and are determined to preserve, develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral territories, and their ethnic identity, as the basis of their continued existence as peoples, in accordance with their own cultural patterns, social institutions and legal system."
kinship metaphors -- examples of these abound: brotherhood, sister cities, fraternities and sororities, mother country and fatherland, “Brother, can you spare a dime?”, “Our Father who art in Heaven”, etc. All of these seek to extend the natural love or special treatment that exists between blood relatives to those who are unrelated. Evolutionary biologists explain the special treatment of kin in terms of relatives sharing many more genes than nonrelatives and that natural selection can work to insure survival of common, favored genes by promoting favored (altruistic behavior) treatment of relatives.
nationalism, ethnic vs. civic--the former builds on hereditary, cultural, and language ties and tends to be exclusive, the latter on the voluntary participation of the citizens of a nation state (regardless of ethnicity) and tends to be inclusive. If an ethnically defined nation is not a nation state, then attaining such politically sovereign status or in general more self determination may be the overriding focus of the associated ethnic nationalism.
nationalism vs. patriotism--both of these involve love of one's country, but, unlike patriotism, nationalism defines itself by putting down other potential rivals and evoking "an aggrandizing, tribalistic sentiment" in the words of Benedict Anderson, author of Imagined Communities.
nationalist -- a person exhibiting extreme loyalty and devotion to a particular nation, who places its interests above interests of other nations.
nations vs. nation states--the former are defined by ethnic / cultural ties, the latter as a sovereign political unit with full authority over its internal and external affairs. For example, the Navaho nation exists within the USA nation state.
nativism -- refers to a policy or belief system in which native inhabitants or some traditional culture is favored over immigrants or mixing of cultures.
nepotism -- preferential treatment or favoritism given to a relative with respect to hiring decisions or filling appointed positions
patriotism -- the love for and devotion to one’s country
pluralism--a societal state in which people of diverse religious, racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds all live together, both preserving aspects of their heritage and traditions and living together under the same national government.
public service, tradition of -- instead of selling their services in the private sector to the highest bidder, some people feel called to work in the public sector, perhaps even in an elected position, and to work for the government for lesser pay. There are various reasons why people might choose to do this. For some, such work is based on professional -- and perhaps family -- tradition in which one takes pride in unselfishly serving the public interest.
racism -- a negative attitude toward members of a particular race based on stereotypes and belief in the inferior nature of members of that race in comparison to other human beings (and in racial superiority of some races over others in general).
sectarian--beholden to a particular sect (e.g. religion, political party, faction, etc) and thus typically narrow and limited in character or scope, often bigoted.
separatism--the belief in (or associated movement) the idea that a particular group (defined politically, ethnically, religiously, socially, etc.) should separate or isolate itself from a dominant group they have coexisted with. Desire for independence and autonomy is typically the motivation for seeking this change. Examples include black separatism in the USA, Quebec separatists in Canada, Basque separatists in Europe, the 17th century Pilgrims, lesbian separatism, etc.
tribe--a social group whose members are linked by family ties or common ancestors. Often tribes consist of many smaller clans. Before the founding of nation states, human social structure was predominantly tribal. Today some use the term to refer to any indigenous society.
sort of mob justice that results when people take the law into their own
hands. This can result if there is a perceived gap between crime and
xenophobia -- a fear of foreigners or strangers
Zionism--the successful Jewish nationalist movement aimed at setting up a
nation state in the traditional homeland of Palestine, accomplished in
1948 with the founding of Israel.
Worldview Themes #37A and #37B -- these themes involve
orientations, beliefs or behavior that are (more or less) diametrically
Contrast Worldview Themes #37B and #46B -- these themes involve orientations, beliefs or behavior that are (more or less) diametrically opposed!
brotherhood -- an idealized situation in which people treat each other in a highly considerate way as if they were members of the same family (brothers or sisters)
citizenship -- membership in a local, state, or national community that brings with it certain rights, privileges (voting, etc), and protection (as mandated by laws), and can involve meeting certain duties (pledging allegiance, paying taxes, etc). Being a good citizen is commonly thought to involve working for the betterment of the community.
be defined in various ways depending on one's perspective. Some define
it narrowly as that which is good
for every member of the community; others broaden the community here to
include all human beings. While libertarians argue it is a meaningless
concept, utilitarians equate it with "the
greatest good for the greatest number of individuals."
conscience, global environmental--while a few environmentally concerned individuals may build this into their conscience, futurists have imagined a human collective consciousness / global brain that automatically makes individuals aware of planetary well being and encourages them to factor it into their behavior. The book Coming of Age in the Global Village provided one example of this (called GAIA).
development -- the process of improving the quality of human life, especially in poor countries. Besides targeting raising people’s standard of living, increasing their freedom (in terms of choices available to them) and creating conditions allowing for the growth of their self esteem are major development goals.
Earth from Space -- pictures sent back to Earth from spacecraft have made people appreciate various things: the unity of all life that calls this planet home, its beauty, its fragility, its insignificance, etc. The most famous image in this regard was the "Earthrise" image captured by Apollo 8 in December, 1968 which showed a colorful Earth rising over the barren lunar landscape. Many people credit this photo with inspiring the environmental movement. Certainly it and similar views of the whole Earth helped bolster "global vision" and feelings of belonging, global citizenship, etc. The "Pale Blue Dot" image captured by Voyager 1 in 1990 showed how small and seemingly insignificant the Earth is given the vastness of the universe.
ecosharing--an environmental ethic for people to live by: that their own impact on the Earth’s biosphere be limited to no more than their own fair ecoshare. An ecoshare is determined by overall assessment of the human impact on the biosphere, computer models of its future condition, and necessary limits imposed by sustainability criteria. The book Coming of Age in the Global Village (published in 1990) sought to quantify an "ecoshare" by linking it to average world per capita income and energy use. According to CIA World Factbook figures, the 2007 world per capita income (adjusted using purchasing power parity exchange rates) is $10,000 / yr per person. World energy use per capita is 66.4 MBTU / yr per person, based on 2003 figures from WRI.
egalitarianism -- the belief that all human beings should have the same rights, opportunities and privileges
empathy -- concisely it refers to “fellow feeling” -- that is imagining that you are in the other person’s shoes and experiencing his or her feelings, struggles, etc.
ethical behavior evolutionary pyramid -- the depiction of how human ethical behavior has evolved over a long period of time (over one million years) using a pyramid. When people were little more than animals their behavior was dictated by self interest in meeting basic biological and survival needs -- depicted at the broad base of the pyramid. Amongst precivilization humans ethical behavior extended to include family and biological relatives. As culture developed and survival pressures eased, ethical behavior was extended greatly-- moving up the pyramid -- to eventually include community, tribe, regional neighbors, ethnic group, and nation. Today, at the top of the pyramid are those who feel a sense of belongingness to the whole human species and to the planet , and behave accordingly
Gaia / Gaia Hypothesis -- Gaia, the ancient Greek earth goddess, has been resurrected in recent years as a sort of presiding spirit of the Earth. According to the Gaia Hypothesis, the whole Earth is in some sense alive and functions as single self regulating organism.
global education -- wholistic education that focuses on whole systems and emphasizes the interconnections and interdependencies that traditional, reductionist education often overlooks. It extends boundaries of concern, and strives to involve the whole person -- seen as a thinking, feeling, and doing creature.
globalization -- one of those terms that means different things to different people. Here the term is defined as the acceleration of interaction and integration among the people, businesses and governments of nations. A narrower definition, the expansion of foreign trade and investment, refers to economic aspects of globalization. Some build their conception of globalization around the creation of a global village brought about by advances in communications technology and capital that seemingly moves without respect for international boundaries. Others link it to hot button terms like Americanization, corporate capitalism, McDonaldization, free trade, outsourcing, sweatshops, the Internet Revolution, etc.
immigration issues --Relatively high paying jobs in developed countries attract workers from less developed countries. So workers migrate -- both legally and illegally. In recent years, many of those who migrate legally are highly educated and skilled -- the very workers that poor countries can ill afford to lose. The great majority of these migrants move permanently and thus constitute a brain drain on the less developed countries. Illegal immigrants generally are not so skilled and tend to fit into jobs that natives find unattractive -- as agricultural laborers, construction workers, in food processing plants, as motel maids, groundskeepers, etc. They provide a huge source of labor -- one survey put this pool at 5% of the total U.S. workforce -- typically at the bottom of the wage scale. Despite their demonstrated role in western economies, many perceive these illegal workers as taking jobs away from poor, unskilled native workers. And many complain about the benefits illegal immigrants receive in the form of free local health care, education, social services, etc -- although the taxes paid by these workers adds up to a substantial amount (a recent U.S. survey put their annual social security payments at $50 billion!). Complicating the movement of people across international borders are security / terrorism concerns.
sustainable development -- a type of development that hopefully allows future generations’ standard of living and quality of life to be at least as good as the present generation.
universalism -- the belief in sociology that there are universal ethical standards
world government--for some this means that all people would live under the political authority of a single, centralized unified government. National boundaries and national sovereignty would no longer exist. For others it refers to a political body that would limit its scope to making, interpreting, and enforcing international law. Albert Einstein supported the former; some argue that, with the United Nations, International Criminal Court, and other international organizations, we already have the beginnings of the latter. The so-called "New World Order" refers to a particular world government that some conspiracy theorists claim will be ushered in when the hidden agenda of a powerful and secretive few is carried out.
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