Five Worldviews: The Way We See the World

By Dr. Denise R. Ames


A knowledge of various worldviews helps
us to see the perspective of "the other."

Discovering Diverse Perspectives...indigenous, modern, fundamentalist, globalized, and transformative.

An individual’s reality is filtered through different lenses or worldviews. This book examines five of these worldviews to help us be aware of other people’s perspectives without necessarily trying to change them. Individuals often resist changing their worldview and may resent those who try to get them to do so. We may stop expecting "the other" to change and find that the other side’s outrageous ideas actually become reasonable when seen from their point of view.

We are comfortable residing in our own "bubble" with people who share the same worldview. But countries are not homogenous, which necessitates cooperation among diverse citizens to uphold democratic values and peaceful co-existence. Citizens cannot remain in their insulated bubble and still have a vibrant democracy. We need to gain skills to navigate a more diverse world, which includes understanding those who live in a different zip code.

Learning about different worldviews can improve communication and relations with different people. Engaging with "the other" often descends into shouting matches and vile stereotypes. But it is possible to uncover shared values, which is important for conflict resolution and a desired result of reading and discussing this book.

We can express our worldview by creating and sharing stories about our heroes and heroines and the journey in creating our worldview. This activity reveals information about our identity, relationships, and what we find meaningful. From this base of empathy, it is harder to sustain negative images of "the other." 

When bridging divides, a goal is to uncover universal commonalities that all people share despite their differences. This may be easier said than done, but we have more that binds us together than divides us.


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Table of Contents

  1. Introduction to Five Worldviews: The Way We See the World
  2. The Indigenous Worldview
  3. The Modern Worldview
  4. The Fundamentalist Worldview
  5. The Globalized Worldview
  6. The Transformative Worldview