Ideas – Worldview – faith/values, reason

- work in progress 8/15/13


…A person’s way of thinking and being is influenced by their worldview – the unique combination of attitudes, perceptions, and assumptions that inform how they personally understand and make sense of their place in the world…Toward a “Common Spirituality”: Scaffolding for Evolving Consciousness by Richard Harmer,

Worldview – contrast progressive and conservative

… the great divide in our politics isn’t really about pragmatic issues, about which policies work bestThis deep divide in American political morality — for that’s what it amounts to — is a relatively recent development….A Tale of Two Moralities By Paul Krugman

Worldview – progressive

… the progressive moral system defines the democratic ideals America was founded on, and how those ideals apply to specific issues…All politics is moral….But progressives and radical conservatives have very different ideas of right and wrong. The basic idea is this: Democracy is based on empathy, that is, on citizens caring about each other and acting on that care, taking responsibility not just for themselves but for their families, communities, and their nation. The role of government is to carry out this principle in two ways: protection and empowerment. Obama Returns to His Moral Vision: Democrats Read Carefully! by George Lakoff

Con­science is at the heart of pro­gres­sivism…Con­science is the way our moral sense and our moral for­ma­tion come together to inform our actions in the world…in the pro­gres­sive view, con­science is not only inward and indi­vid­ual but is also directed toward cre­at­ing a more just and equi­table soci­ety The Progressive Conscience in Action by Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, Cen­ter for Amer­i­can Progress, April 6, 2009

Worldview – conservative

….Their movement has been overtaken by a quite literally mindless opposition to government… This is a long way from the conservatism I used to respect. Although I often disagreed with conservatives, I admired their prudence, their affection for tradition and their understanding that the intricate bonds of community are established with great difficulty over time and not easy to reweave once they are torn asunder. At their best, conservatives forced us to think harder….where’s the outrage about a conservatism that is losing both its intellectual moorings and its moral compass? The real conservative scandal By E.J. Dionne Jr

Religion trends

… the rise of secular spirituality in this country, a liberated set of values that exists largely outside organized religion… Religion was hijacked for political gain by the right wing beginning as far back as the Nixon era, yet there is a much stronger current of secular spirituality running through our history…..secular spirituality…now includes the following principles…– A spiritual duty to be benign stewards of the Earth and to preserve the ecology. — A responsibility to revere Nature and to be humble before it.– A duty to further peace among nations.– A pledge of nonviolence that will lead finally to total nuclear disarmament in our lifetime. — A refusal to use America’s super power for militaristic ends.– A sense of compassion for the poor and wretched beset by pandemic disease, lack of political influence, and denial of basic human rights….Nothing about secular spirituality is radical. Most of its principles are articles of belief for millions of average Americans who have largely been shut out of politics for eight years…. But secular spirituality isn’t limited to the left or the progressive movement in general. It is a national phenomenon, one that will swell steadily in the coming years, particularly among the young. Born after the divisive culture wars that gave the right wing its main chance, the younger generations yearn for new values….Nothing less than spiritual renewal is needed across the board… Obama And the Rise of Secular Spirituality by Deepak Chopra and Dave Stewart,, January 18, 2009

A New Religious America — How a “Christian Country” Has Become the World’s Most Religiously Diverse Nation by Diana L. Eck

Moral authority

Moral quandaries often pit concerns about principles against concerns about practical consequences…we can encourage consistency in moral reasoning by viewing issues from many angles, discussing them with other people and monitoring our emotions closely…

The moral judgment system—the set of cognitive, emotional, social and motivational mechanisms responsible for producing our perceptions of right and wrong…If climate advocates and communicators want people to perceive climate change as a moral imperative—and they should given that our moral intuitions are powerful motivators of action—then they’ll need to develop creative, evidence-based ways of confronting the challenges discussed above.… Why Few Americans View Climate Change as a Moral Problem by Ezra Markowitz

Our Inconsistent Ethical Instincts by Matthew Hutson, New York Times, March 30, 2013 -


Wis­dom means hav­ing the moral will to do right by other peo­ple, and to have the moral skill to fig­ure out what doing right means. This is not a new idea; it is some­thing that Aris­to­tle taught in ancient Greece…A wise per­son takes the overview…Com­pas­sion­ate action – the out­flow of wis­dom – hap­pens when we stop being the cen­ter of our concern. Then we can open up to a wider view of real­ity that includes the suf­fer­ing of oth­ers, as well as our own – and  respond with compassion. /wisdom/ Wisdom: The Forgotten Dimension?  by Mary Jaksch

Higher level thinking

… a loose but growing collection of thinkers, activists, academics, and social entrepreneurs who are searching for the “unthinkable”—the new ways that we can’t see because of our old ways of looking… Systems of all kinds are breaking down and will continue to do so. In response, they champion ways of seeing and acting that acknowledge that the world is a chaotic, deeply interdependent place, a place that won’t yield to attempts to overpower it. We must come to understand…the nature of complexity, chaos, and interconnectedness—and to train ourselves in ways of acting that embrace this unmistakable reality. /why-we-need-new-ways-of-thinking-by-barry-boyce/ Why We Need New Ways of Thinking by Barry Boyce

Critical thinking or ignorance

...about 37 percent of Americans are just are not very bright…reading anything even remotely complex or analytical is something only 42 percent of the population enjoy doing on a regular basis, which is why most TV shows, all reality shows, many major media blogs and all of Fox News is scripted for a 5th-grade education/attention span…The smarter you are, the less rigid/more liberal you become…37 Percent of People Don’t Have a Clue About What’s Going on By Mark Morford

…the habit of asking critical questions can be taught. However, if you do not have a knowledge base from which to consider a situation, it is hard to think critically about it.  So ignorance often precludes effective critical thinking even if the technique is acquired… loyalty comes from myth-making and emotional bonds. In both cases, really effective critical thinking might well be incompatible with the desired end…The truth is that people who are consistently active as critical thinkers are not going to be popular, either with the government or their neighbors. The Decline of Critical Thinking, The Problem of Ignorance by Lawrence Davidson


…There are some very clever people in government, advising politicians, running think tanks and writing for newspapers, who have acquired power and influence by promoting rightwing ideologies…they now appeal to the basest, stupidest impulses…former Republican ideologues, David Frum warns that “conservatives have built a whole alternative knowledge system, with its own facts, its own history, its own laws of economics”. The result is a “shift to ever more extreme, ever more fantasy-based ideology” which has “ominous real-world consequences for American society”… wrong and why, or to make an uncluttered case for social justice, redistribution and regulation. The conceptual stupidities of conservatism are matched by the strategic stupidities of liberalism. Yes, conservatism thrives on low intelligence and poor information. But the liberals in politics on both sides of the Atlantic continue to back off, yielding to the supremacy of the stupid…The Right’s Stupidity Spreads, Enabled by a Too-Polite Left by George Monbiot, The Guardian/UK, February 7, 2012

Truth and lies

A basic intent to be truthful, along with an assumption that people can be generally taken at their word, is required for all sustained civilized dealings…No civilization can tolerate a fixed expectation of dishonest communications without falling apart from a breakdown in mutual trust.… Our serious problem today is not simply that many people routinely tell lies…The problem now is that we seem to be reaching a dysfunctional tipping point in which an essential commitment to truthfulness no longer seems to be assumed in our society. If this is indeed the case, the danger is that the bonds of trust important in any society, and essential for a free and democratic one, will dissolve so that the kinds of discourse required to self-govern will become impossible. …As the Founders of our republic warned, the failure to cultivate virtue in citizens can be a lethal threat to any democracy. The Death of Honesty by William Damon

The Brain

… the current research suggests not only that having a particular brain influences your political views, but also that having a particular political view influences and changes your brain…Simply by living our lives, we change our brains. Our political affiliations, and the lifestyles that go along with them, probably condition many such changes… The Surprising Brain Differences Between Democrats and Republicans By Chris Mooney, Mother Jones,  February 15, 2013


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