project WORLDVIEW choice info copyright 2022 Home
Related Words, Beliefs, Background for Choice #36
for a summary read these 5 entries in order: ethnic group,
tribe, tribalism, nationalism--religious vs. ethnic vs. civic,
for a summary read these 5 entries in order: Earth from Space, ethical behavior evolutionary pyramid, common good, global ethic, global education
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 USA is a special nation–superior to others because of its unique heritage –superior to others because of its unique heritage of throwing off tyranny, liberty, equality before the law, democracy, individualism, etc.. 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 see 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."
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.
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.
clan--a group of people all descended from a common ancestor; see also tribe
climate movement--There is widespread concern that current human actions (chiefly use of fossil fuel), unless changed, will lead to catastrophic climate change, While many see the resulting climate movement as a subset of the environmental movement, given its strength and focus many see it as a whole separate social movement.
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).
cosmopolitan--possessing a familiarity with many different countries and cultures, belonging to the whole world
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.
culture war—a cultural battle for dominance between social groups with highly divergent worldviews: different beliefs, values, practices, sources of information, etc. The term was first used in the USA in the early 1990s to describe the cultural divide / widespread societal disagreement between traditional conservative and progressive liberal camps with hot button issues such as abortion, same sex marriage, separation of church and state, gun laws, immigration, multiculturalism, etc. Increasingly the battle lines are between those who cynically don't believe the mainstream media, buy into charges of "fake news" and "a rigged system," embrace certain (mostly fictional) conspiracy theories to some extent, resent experts and the elite, etc. pitted against those (many with more idealistic, less cynical outlooks) who are comfortable with a society based on facts, science, professionalism, competence, meritocracy, etc where people compete on a playing field based on these things.
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.
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.
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.
ecofeminism—roughly speaking this is about the relationship of women to the Earth / nature, typically concerned with issues at the intersection of feminism, environmentalism, and patriarchy. Within the field some are more centered on egalitarianism, some with issues of respect, some Earth-centered spirituality, etc.
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.
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
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.
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, joining and doing creature. A more focused aspect of global education involves promoting the worldview development of individual people. This is what inspires the global education symbol—with a globe centered on the head of a young person.
GlobalEdutopia--a single, seven syllable word coined by Project Worldview that refers to a future world where ignorance and today's "business as usual" are no longer key forces driving choices people make regarding their beliefs and values. Five premises are behind the future practical realization of this idealized world --one built on global education, valuing honesty /learning, and universal access to accurate information that technology can make possible.
global ethic, declaration of–the following is from the Chicago based 1993 Parliament of the World's Religions. Declaration of a Global Ethic: “We are interdependent. Each of us depends on the well-being of the whole, and so we have respect for the community of living beings...Opening our hearts to one another, we must sink our narrow differences for the cause of world community, practicing a culture of solidarity and relatedness. We consider humankind a family... Earth cannot be changed for the better unless the consciousness of individuals is changed first... Therefore we commit ourselves to this global ethic, to understanding one another, and to socially beneficial, peace-fostering, and nature-friendly ways of life.”
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 -- a Pew Research survey put this pool of 8 million workers 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 $13 billion, payments for which they receive no benefits!). Complicating the movement of people across international borders are security / terrorism concerns.
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." ." By 2020, the World Bank estimated there were 476 million indigenous people worldwide in over 90 countries.
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.
machismo—a term with Spanish / Portuguese roots and particular Hispanic / Mexican / Latin American cultural relevance. It refers to an exaggerated sense of manly pride, strength, self-reliance, and need to display courage / bravery—and possibly to protect one’s family depending on those involved and whatever circumstances are behind the perceived call to display all of this!
nationalism, religious vs. ethnic vs. civic--the first is based on religious affiliation, beliefs, dogma; the second builds on hereditary, cultural, and language ties and tends to be exclusive; the third builds 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. The strength and passion of religious nationalist feelings within a country is linked to the extent to which religion has been politicized. Of course within theocracies, separation of church and state concerns is not an issue, but elsewhere it may be a key limiting factor.
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
patriarchy / patriarchal society—social system dominated by men in positions of power, decision-making, leadership and moral authority. In some cases it can extend to include the domination, exploitation and oppression of women. Some use traditional male / female attributes to include environmental destruction as part of a negative critique of a patriarchal society; some lament male domination of human society has led to “the rape of the Earth. ”
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).
religion, definitions of–one of those difficult to define terms. In his classic, The World's Religions, Huston Smith defines it broadly as "a way of life woven around people's ultimate concerns" or more narrowly as "a concern to align humanity with the transcendental ground of its existence." Synthesizing, and building on these, religion can be defined as involving beliefs, behaviors, feelings and devotion or obligation to faith in the divine or what is held to be of ultimate importance. Two narrower definitions are: 1) the worship of, and service to, God or the supernatural, and 2) a belief system associated with traditionally defined or formally institutionalized ceremonies or rituals
same sex 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.
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.
social justice—refers to 1) a relationship between individuals and society in which people have what is just, defined in various ways as being reasonable, proper, lawful, right, fair, deserved, merited, etc; 2) if the condition described above does not exist, then taking steps to make it so. In practice, in affluent Western societies, seeking social justice is concerned with seeking a fairer distribution of wealth and privilege, equal opportunity for all, ending unfair discrimination or exclusion, and providing a safety net for the especially vulnerable. It can also involve recognizing / rewarding those who contribute to the common good more than those who behave in more self-serving fashion.
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
theocracy–government by those who claim to or are believed to be divinely inspired. In its most extreme forms, there is no separation of church and state
tribalism—in popular culture, refers to a way of thinking, feeling, and acting based on identification with, and loyalty to, a particular social group and valuing this above all else. Whereas once tribes were defined as in the next entry, increasingly they have grown up around shared beliefs, lifestyles, political and cultural allegiances--a trend which can bring different "tribes" into conflict. See culture war.
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. The term can also refer to a particular indigenous society.
universalism -- the belief in sociology that there are universal ethical standards\
utopia--an imaginary place of social or political perfection
vigilantism--a 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 punishment.
the world’s and inequality—according to the annual Forbes
list, in 2008 the number of the
world’s billionaires numbered 1125 with a total cumulative net
worth of $4.4 trillion; by 2020 that number had grown to 2095 with total
net worth of $8 trillion. In a report released in January 2020, Oxfam
International counted 2153 billionaires and estimated they have more
wealth than the 4.6 billion people--60% of the world's population-- at
the bottom. Dividing these two numbers of people--4.6 billion by 2153--
reveals that each billionaire has over two million times the
wealth of the average ordinary poorer person.
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.
world’s hungry and extreme poor— The World Health Organization put the number of people worldwide in 2018 who did not have enough to eat at 820 million. World Bank estimates of those living on the equivalent of less than $1.90 per day put the number of such people worldwide in 2015 at 734 million, or roughly 10% of the human population. That number is down from 1.9 billion in 1990. However, with the coronavirus outbreak of 2020, the number is expected to rise substantially.
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.
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