In this new series, Worldviews in Dialogue, we want to explore the interior nature of different historical worldviews, comparing and contrasting the values, perspective, and the quality of consciousness intrinsic to different types of worldviews both in contemporary, and sometimes ancient, culture. We hope to use art, literature, pop culture, media and just about every other form of cultural expression to illustrate the ever-fascinating differences between these deep underlying structures of consciousness that have informed the evolution of human culture.
Modernism and Postmodernism. We use these words a lot on this blog to talk about the difference between two worldviews, two fundamentally different sets of values, two historically different ways in which human beings have constructed the world around them and made meaning. And whether we’re talking about Spiral Dynamics, Integral Philosophy, developmental psychology, or some other school of thought or research that identifies the critical importance of worldviews in the evolution of consciousness and culture, it is important to have a deep understanding of exactly what makes up the differences between these two stages of culture.
Of course, when we’re talking about such broad yet fundamental distinctions, the differences express themselves in myriad ways but are not always exact or perfectly clear cut. Yet as culture has changed over the last hundreds of years we know that there are certainly real differences between the values and perspective of a modern worldview that emerged on the cultural scene in the European Enlightenment and the values and perspective of a postmodern one that has been on the mainstream cultural stage since the 60s.
Modernism calls to mind things like scientific insight, reason and rationality, nation-states, industrialization, democracy, Newtonian physics, etc. The postmodern worldview calls to mind environmentalism, political correctness, pluralism and equality, respect for marginalized peoples and indigenous cultures, the breakdown of hierarchy, self-awareness and self-exploration, etc. Continue reading…