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Related Words, Beliefs, Background

Worldview Theme #3: Focused Vision

alphabetical listing: A to K 

  alphabetical listing, continued: L to Z
Contrast Worldview Themes #3 and  #4 --    these themes involve orientations, beliefs or behavior that are (more or less) diametrically opposed!  Note: The contrast between these themes can be roughly captured by the difference between microscopic vs. telescopic approaches,  between one that emphasizes seeking depth and one that prefers seeking breadth, or between someone who pays more attention to the trees compared to someone who is more concerned with the forest.           

anthropocentrism--a human being centered viewpoint that sees humans are the most important thing in the universe, and assigns value to other things based on their usefulness to  humans. 

Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Cognitive Domain--a classification for the thinking-related objectives that educators have for students. At the bottom are those that involve lower level processes, beginning with memorizing facts without understanding.  Beyond this, many teachers seek to promote higher level thinking.  Accordingly their objectives may steadily move up this taxonomy to involve comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation.  

censorship—the practice of restricting communication (written, oral, in creative expression, etc)  and access to information by altering, deleting, or suppressing it.  While political / moral concerns are often cited as  rationale for censorship, it can result if someone in a position of authority finds a particular communication objectionable for whatever reason.  

discounting the future--doing or having (consuming) something now, rather than waiting , or rather than investing the money you would have spent and getting a high return on the investment.

egocentric -- the selfish, self-centered viewpoint that narrowly limits a person’s outlook to focus on his or her own feelings, needs, concerns, problems and activities.

hairsplitter--one who often makes unreasonably fine distinctions.

human senses-- classically there are five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch.  Eyes, ears, nose, mouth and fingers, respectively, are the body organs employed.  In addition, humans can sense pain, differentiate degrees of hot or cold (temperature), maintain their body balance and are aware of its location.  Naming the body organs employed for sensing these is not so straightforward. With the exception of balance--where fluid-containing cavities in the inner ear are employed--sensors spread throughout the body are required.   

illusion of central position -- one naturally assumes that one’s current viewpoint or position is the preferred, best, central position for experiencing and interpreting some phenomenon, and -- if that assumption is incorrect -- this can create an illusion. Examples: 1) prior to Copernicus, people believed that the planets revolved around the Earth rather than the sun -- a geocentric illusion. 2) Some extraordinarily self centered people imagine that they are all important -- an egocentric illusion. 3) A related view is that the Earth belongs to human beings and is there for humans to exploit -- a conclusion which many feel is based on an anthropocentric illusion. 

instant gratification--the thrill that comes when you immediately get a desired something. Driving this is a childish “I want that now!” force. For some, this force is powerful enough to overcome the opposing force: a rational, restraining adult attitude that questions whether the desired something is really needed and whether there is money to pay for it.

integrating vs. reducing--in studying organized wholes where a hierarchical multi-level structure exists, consider two contrasting strategies:  integrating or synthesizing and moving from lower level to higher level vs. reducing as part of an analysis and moving from higher level to lower level.  The first of these approaches takes a more "wholistic" view, the second a more "reductionistic" one.  

introversion vs. extraversion--the contrast between looking within one's self / inner mental state and enjoying solitary pursuits vs. looking outside the self / to others for enjoyment / gratification.  












  levels of organization--a term that many connect with systems theory, but in general refers to an organized  whole (either natural or manmade) that can be understood and studied by focusing on its parts, which are organized in hierarchical fashion. Two examples: 1) The Earth's living things can be studied by biologists who focus their attention on one of these levels:  biosphere, ecosystem, community, habitat, population, organism, organ, tissue, cell, molecule.   2) If an American citizen is having a problem and seeks government help, he or she might make an appeal to elected officials at various levels: city councilor, county commissioner, state assemblyman, congressmen, President--these being representatives at various levels of government.

lumpers vs. splitters--refers to people who classify or categorize information in different ways: Lumpers see similarities as more important than differences and take a more wholistic, global approach, whereas Splitters focus in on differences which they view as more important.  They are more likely to reductionistically "split hairs" in classifying or categorizing--even to the point of creating new categories to emphasize uniqueness.

meditation--employing techniques to regulate one's attention and produce an inner state of clarity, serenity, and even bliss. Some meditate to calm one's inner self, using it as a sort of mind / body medicine; others to experience higher states of consciousness (even cosmic consciousness) in a mystical / religious quest.  Some techniques--called concentrative--involve narrowing one's mental focus to a pre-selected object or process such as one's breathing; others--called mindfulness --expand one's inner vision in non-critical way to include a whole background or field without thinking or dwelling on any of it.

microeconomics --the branch of economics focused on individual decision making units, such as a person, household, or business. To be contrasted with macroeconomics.

micromanaging -- refers to the inability of a person in charge to delegate decision-making to others but instead to intervene with them in a way that involves controlling or directing in a detailed, sometimes nit-picking, usually  meddlesome manner. On the plus side, such behavior lets subordinates know that "the boss" cares about how things are done and is there to help when needed, and such intervention can help in coaching or mentoring employees. On the downside, micromanaging can lead to unmotivated, discouraged employees who feel their abilities are not being respected, and can foster a climate of distrust. Perhaps more importantly, in attempting to do other people's jobs and paying too much attention to small details, "the boss" can spread himself or herself too thin and miss bigger, more important things elsewhere.

narcissism -- an exaggerated sense of self love or heightened emotional investment in one’s self , detracting from one’s appreciation of or emotional investment in others . It has been suggested that this masks deep feelings of unworthiness and emptiness -- unacknowledged, but unconsciously lurking. Critics of individual excess in the consumer culture have linked the psychology behind it to narcissism.

needs, Maslow's hierarchy of--American psychologist Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) ranked needs from most basic to highest as follows: 1) physiological: air, water, food, shelter, sleep, sex; 2) safety: security / not feeling threatened; 3) belongingness and love; 4) self esteem and esteem by others  5) growth needs: both cognitive and  esthetic leading to self actualization. Maslow stressed lower needs had to be satisfied first (e.g. a starving person isn't concerned with esthetics), and that higher needs are more uniquely human. The scheme can be represented using a pyramid.    

nit pickers--derived from nit picking,  a term, coined in the middle of the last century, which refers to small and usually unjustified criticism. According to an early 1950s Colliers magazine article, nit pickers are "those who quarrel with the trivialities of expression and meaning, but who usually end up without making concrete or justified suggestions for improvement."

obsession -- an idea, feeling or emotion that persistently haunts or disturbs one’s consciousness and leads to what becomes, either through its repetition or otherwise, inappropriate, unreasonable behavior. Many obsessions are beyond willful control, even with the recognition of their inappropriateness.

pain, physical-- an unpleasant or distressing sensory experience due to bodily injury or disorder that ultimately can be traced to stimulation of nerve endings found on the skin or internally. It can be mild and localized, or agony affecting the whole body.  Pain lasting longer than three to six months is referred to as chronic pain.    

perfectionism -- in a big picture sense, the belief that anything short of something being perfect is unacceptable; in small tasks, making sure that every last detail has been attended to and that the final product is perfect.

reductionism -- the philosophical belief that understanding a complex phenomenon, system, structure, organism, etc. (or solving a complicated problem) is best done by breaking it into smaller, more manageable parts (problems), and studying those parts (or first solving those smaller problems). Often accompanying a reductionistic approach to understanding is the belief that the whole is nothing more than the sum of the parts. Reductionism is the opposite of wholism (holism).

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

space vs. time plots, using to characterize worldviews -- A two dimensional scheme in which distance from the current location would be plotted vertically, and time elapsed since the present moment would be plotted horizontally (with points to the right in the future, points to the left in the past). Imagine locating an individual’s concerns by plotting them using this scheme. For a person with a narrow worldview the points would cluster around the center or origin of the graph. In contrast, for a person with global vision, the points would extend out from the origin much farther in all directions.

specialist -- one who narrowly focuses on a particular topic, area of study, or practice. Specialists pursue something with lots of depth, but don’t seek breadth. To be contrasted with generalist.

task oriented -- used to describe a person who focuses attention and personal energy on completing a particular task. Often such a person is goal driven and may care more about the cognitive aspects and mechanics of completing tasks than about related emotional or esthetic concerns that others might find important.

troubleshooter—one whose approach to problem solving centers on dealing with the immediate problem /crisis at hand in a narrow way--ignoring the root causes / bigger picture that a more visionary approach would address.

tunnel vision -- the failure to see or consider other points of view or beliefs associated with someone  who has a very narrow worldview.

Yoga—from Hinduism, a way to suppress physical and mental activity offering a path to spiritual mastery where the goal is liberating the self; more popularly, a discipline and system of exercises and postures for staying physically fit and maintaining health.    


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