Seven different Worldviews. Are we sleepwalking into war?

by | Jul 3, 2024 | 0 comments

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Seven different Worldviews. Are we sleepwalking into war?

I recently discussed the seven worldviews (https://culture-impact.net/cultural-dimensions-and-worldviews/ ) and their impact on human thinking and behavior with an Eastern European politician. His shocked reaction was that he recognized the analysis. But, he exclaimed, this means permanent war! 

My answer was:

  • The warning from the “godfather” of cultural research, Geert Hofstede should be taken more seriously.

          Hofstede wrote: “The survival of humanity will depend largely on the

          the ability of people who think differently to act  together.” 

 In the discussion that followed, I pointed out that the danger lies in not fully recognizing the consequences of the definition of Culture given by the same Hofstede:

  • Culture is the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from others.”(Hofstede Geert 2001; Hofstede et al. 2010)
  • Equally important is that in this definition, the deepest layer of this preprogramming is “values,” defined as “the preference for one state of affairs over others.” 
  • These value preferences are deeply anchored. They result from subconscious and pre-programmed learning during the first 8-10 years of human life. After that period, the preferences are very difficult to change. For clarification, see two earlier articles describing the profound influence of this programming (Varkey, Kato, Wursten, 2022) and (Wursten, Jacobs, 2013)

This is an emotionally difficult message for most highly educated people. 

Especially the so-called “leaders”

Their self-image is that they are rational, conscious decision-makers who can objectively and detachedly analyze situations and weigh alternatives before deciding what to do.

The reality is that most decisions are “steered” by subconscious pre-programmed cultural preferences.“

It is a difficult message indeed. Some find this even insulting! 

This creates a serious problem!

The positive message is that it is not impossible to change the self-image.

It is possible to make people aware of their subconscious preferences

  • The bottom line of being human is that, in principle, we share two competencies: 

Empathy. the ability to understand how it is to be in somebody else’s shoes, and 

Reciprocity. The ability not to do to others what you don’t want to be done to you. Frans de Waal’s research shows that we share this even with higher primates.

Both competencies need to be triggered because there is a growing awareness that trends like globalization, digitalization, AI, and the climate and energy transition are accelerating and deepening, strongly affecting our minds. This includes how algorithms influence our preferences and opinions through big data use. We must tackle these urgent global problems by forming complex, adaptive coalitions. But, and this is the core problem, there is no immediate perceived “we “. What can be seen is fragmentation and polarization between “Identity groups” originating from cultural and religious “clans.” 

A new narrative is developing, though. There is a sense of urgency, “the burning platform”.

There is an urgent call to realize that global problems are accelerating and deepening. We must act now, and we are “into this together”  in spite of the value differences. 

The way out is to create a real understanding of the “rules of the game” of the 7 worldviews and accept that solutions can only be found by purposefully “bridging” the differences. Solutions are only sustainable if they cover the real values and motivations of the people involved.

Democracy and the rule of law

  • This also means an understanding and acceptance that”

-a. Democracy is not “the will of the people” but a careful procedure to identify the different societal interests and procedures to balance these interests peacefully.

-b. A broader definition of human rights is required. It must protect the rights of individuals and minority groups but not exclude issues like the diversity in belief systems, the differences created by personality types (progressive versus conservative), and the differences between developing and developed countries. See: To-build-bridges-you-must-knw-where-the-shorelines-are/

-C. The real bottom line of human rights is to live in peace See: Culture-and-peace-why-cant-we-all-get-along/

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