Integration of philosophical worldviews is an important part of contemporary world development. The principle of relativity of any worldview determines limits for its “working zone”. Finding basic common components, figuring classification models, taking into account different approaches and the world’s philosophical inheritance makes a strategy for building united worldviews.
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Author: Marina P. Bonser, PhD, Founding Director "Global Thinking World" , A member of UNESCO Open Educational Resources & US Partnership of Education for Sustainable Development
The 21st Century is the beginning of the New Era of integration of processes in the world, which appear in globalization and internationalization of cultures, technologies, businesses, and education. Modern world languages, religions, and philosophical views have also started to change toward integration to keep up with changes in life. Communication strategies of representatives of different groups are changing from fighting over their differences in views into building connections between them. Remember the legend of blind men arguing over the definition of an elephant? If instead of arguing they collaborated in analyzing and summarizing their views, they all would have enriched each other’s worldviews and eventually have come to the definition closest to the reality. Contemporary strategies of communication and team work can help any team in the process of integration of their worldviews.
Imagine different groups of people at the different viewpoints in the same valley. They all will agree on the view of the sun, clouds, and sky, and they all feel the same gravity. They all will see creeks, lakes, mountains, trees, and meadows but will disagree on their locations and sizes in their sceneries. Flora and fauna in one place might be partly or completely different for different groups which are located near the lake, in the forest, on the slope of the hill, or on the top of the mountain. Communication and collaboration is the way they all can have the whole picture of the valley closest to the reality. At the next step in broadening and deepening their worldview they will learn to understand people in different valleys who see different lakes, mountains, and hills, and then understand people who see different landscapes like oceans and seas, cities, and even different views of the sun in the sky, different environments, different cultures, and so on, up to different gravities. This is a great model for the understanding of differences in philosophical views and the principle of their relativity which means understanding that any worldview is relative and has a “working zone”, a limited conditions where it works well.
Different philosophical schools can also find their “location” in the process of their integration by analyzing their “worldview landscapes” in comparison to others, finding common basic components, or “bricks” of their different “buildings”. Discovery of electrons and protons was a base for understanding the nature of chemical elements and their relations in the periodic table. Finding basic common components in worldviews (paradigms) will help organize them in a system similar to Mendeleev’s Periodic Table of Elements where each worldview will have a certain place. Perhaps it is also possible to assemble a biological map of all types of beings which organizes perfectly all types and families based on deeper level structures like DNA information. We don’t know yet if it is possible to find principles for assembling a Meta philosophical Map of Worldviews in only one way just like the Periodic Table of the elements, but it is worth a try to look for united worldview approaches, not just for building a better model of the world but for increasing understanding and peace in the entirety of humanity. Any united worldview might integrate oriental and occidental, traditional and modern views, also combining scientific and artistic approaches of understanding the world. In different united worldviews, types and families of worldviews can be organized by different principles. Every united worldview is also relative and limited just like a model of the valley landscape built by different viewers from different points of the valley might not work even for another valley and definitely not for completely different environments.
A strategy for building a united worldview:
1. Finding a common base everyone agrees on;
2. Overseeing the whole picture of connections between considered worldviews and figuring classification options of differences by a degree and a type of difference.
3. Exploring how figured classification works for assembling and placing new worldviews.
A core question of any worldview is existence of a source of life/world. In searching for a united worldview, it will be useful to find a “common denominator” in a definition of religion which would include all possible answers to this question.
Let’s define religion as an organized worldview based on belief in one or multiple sources of the world’s creation and evolution, with the description of the entire process of how the world evolves, and with a set of ethical rules and instructions on human life purpose and activities.
Such a definition will include religions which fit a traditional definition based on beliefs in god(s), and also all kinds of agnosticism. (Different kinds of denial of god’s existence are still beliefs; those of them which are organized in the worldview will fit into this definition of religion.)
Let’s consider relations between opposite “poles” of answers to the question of the existence of god. Global Systems Thinking gives an integrated approach on eternal debates over god’s existence. The more complex and sustainable any living system is, the higher its ability to reflect the world. Gaining this ability grows along with gaining a complexity of inner structure for a better ability to live. It grows along with arranging and adjusting outer connections for better integration with the world for survival which makes this development sustainable. If we consider god as the pure consciousness of the world, the more complex a living system is, the higher consciousness it has for a better world’s reflection, world’s model assemble. According to Hegel, god implements itself as a visible (perceptible) world, natural and cultural/social, and continues to grow consciousness in world’s systems until eventually the world will be consciously integrated, so the god will return to itself. According to Dissipative System’s Theory, systems have a self-organizational ability which can be considered as a form of consciousness. This goes well with the above mentioned Hegel’s concept, and also with the scientific Theory of World and Life Evolution.
Considering this old concept in a new systemic approach, god (pure consciousness, source of life and world) and its creation (any parts of the material world) are components of the “egg-chicken” model in terms of non-existence of an answer for which came first. They both help each other to develop. This process is perfectly illustrated by an image of Tao sign. So, someone’s answer to the question of god’s existence will depend on which point of the process of world evolution a person wants to consider as the beginning of everything. In other words, for someone who is near the sun or another star the world consists of light and heat. For someone in space the world is extremely dark and cold, and somewhere between those worlds there are conditions for life in sentient forms which can host consciousness – a reflection of universal source.
The understanding of relativity of any worldview and existence of limits of its “working zone” even on the level of core principles is the core principle in assembling united worldviews.