We view the world through tinted spectacles, each of us seeing it in a slightly different way.
Worldview is the term that describes our filters, the tints on the spectacles, through which we perceive things. Some of this filtering is cultural, some physical, parts of it psychological and others just illogical.
There is a difference between sensation and perception. Our senses are located at the boundaries of our bodies, they let us taste, feel, hear and see things. Senses divide the universe into ‘that which i can sense’ and ‘that which i do not know’. Perception is built upon sensation, a layer of interpretation and understanding with it’s foundations in the senses.
I see shapes, movement, colours and light, i hear the sound of wind moving, engines roaring, trees swaying, but the understanding that this is caused by a train is down to my perception. Perception emerges from our education and exploration of our environments, it’s not native, it’s learnt.
Our heritage and experiences shape our worldview: it’s not a static shell through which we peek through small windows, it’s an evolving and translucent bubble in which we float, constantly being prodded and tested, but, ultimately, divided into that which sits inside, and that which is out. My ‘self’, which is all that i can truly know, and ‘other’, which i can just seek to understand through the senses.
Our worldview is not simply reactive, although it certainly is that, but also something that we actively manage. When we learn, we move the walls. Sometimes we blow the bubble bigger, sometimes we change the colours of the filters, or even remove them altogether, whilst at other times the bubble gets smaller, our perspective narrows and we become more polarised in ourselves.
This isn’t simply a philosophical exercise, understanding worldview is to understand learning and communication in their most basic form: the interaction between self and other is what drives our understanding of the world. It’s everything there is. Everything we have ever learnt, everything we have ever seen, thought of said has all been filtered through our worldview. Every time we believe something or disbelieve it, learn it or forget it, it’s all through these filters. There is no such thing as unbiased, no such thing as impartial. There never can be. Certainly we can aim to act impartially, aim to ignore bias, but it’s innate.
When we author materials for large audiences, the spectrum of different opinions and attitudes, of different worldviews that we touch, is vast. It’s never possible to understand all of these, but certainly possible to be aware of them. It’s not that we can do anything about them, but we can at least consider how different filters may affect the message, because the message is what it’s all about.
Learning is the experience of bringing new information within our selves. It changes us as it challenges us, even if we learn something and reject it’s validity, it still changes us, because it reinforces something else, something existing, or highlights a gap in our knowledge.
We all view the world through different eyes, all learn different things, all experience and perceive our environment differently. Maybe the surprise is not how different we all are, but that we have any similarity at all.