Monday, February 15, 2010

Making A Point of Perspective

In both of my history classes as of recently, we've been studying the Italian Renaissance. That era is very interesting, in my opinion, for one sole reason: its ability to start a new "trend" that spread to the far reaches of the known world. Starting in Florence, the Renaissance is a term we use nowadays to describe the cultural movement of the time period between the 14th and 17th centuries. That's a long time. I've always been fascinated by this sort of thing because of how fads form, who they effect and how long they take to do so. The Renaissance is just one of many developments that have happened over the course of history (I could have mentioned a time period as modern as the 70s, 80s or even 90s), but studying it got me thinking. So I decided to look up an article on world view and to see how one's location, mind set, and time period effect their thinking strategies, and eventually, opinions.

The first quote of the excerpt I found from The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, says this, outlining the reason for writing such a piece:

"A worldview is a set of assumptions about physical and social reality
that may have powerful effects on cognition and behavior. Lacking a comprehensive
model or formal theory up to now, the construct has been underused. This article
advances theory by addressing these gaps. Worldview is defined. Major approaches to
worldview are critically reviewed. Lines of evidence are described regarding worldview
as a justifiable construct in psychology. Worldviews are distinguished from
schemas. A collated model of a worldview’s component dimensions is described. An
integrated theory of worldview function is outlined, relating worldview to personality
traits, motivation, affect, cognition, behavior, and culture. A worldview research
agenda is outlined for personality and social psychology (including positive and peace

Koltko-Rivera, the article's author, continues his study by defining world view as a way that each individual sees and evaluates things based on his/her own, unique perceptions. I don't want to give away too much because I think everyone should read what I have attached on their own, but from what I read (I didn't go through the whole thing. It's 56 pages. Oye!) it seems as if psychologists have rendered nature in the age old nature vs. nurture debate, as having much larger applications than were first thought. A person is shaped by his/her surroundings, but also by their situations. It may or may not make understanding a person with differentiating viewpoints from one's own easier, but it sure does give a whole other meaning to stepping into someone else's shoes. I imagine it would make it easier to apprehend a different side to things when, in the back of your head, you know that everybody is shaped separately.

I can't help but think of how my personal beliefs would be altered if where I grew up, who I was around and my entire environment as a whole were to change. It's got me questioning a lot, wondering if, what I find important, is as important as I previously thought. I know that they'd be, if anything, a little dissimilar to now, but what if I could magically transcend time and space and land, per say, in the Renaissance? Would my doctrines change radically? Would yours? According to
Koltko-Rivera, that answer would be YES, MOST DEFINITELY.

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