Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Worldviews or Weltanschauung

16 August 2017


In my 10 August blog on Change: cause or effect??, I stumbled on a concept that was largely unfamiliar with me: comprehensive worldviews – or its German equivalent Weltanschauung. Andrea C. Walker of the Oral Roberts University identifies 3 philosophical World Views: Contextualist, Mechanistic, and Organismic. Her descriptions are helpful but tough to read. Hence, I made an explanatory diagram that simplifies each worldview.

The Contextualist worldview implies that “the meaning of any behavioral event is dependent on the context in which it occurs”. Hence, the WHY abbreviation in my diagram.

The Mechanistic worldview “involves the fundamental belief that it is possible to tease apart various factors that influence behavioral change”. Hence, the famous Who, When, What, Where and How factors in my diagram.

My diagram shows that 2 out of these 3 worldviews take the situation on planet Earth as a foundation or start. This choice feels like the court case against Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) all-over again: the Earth is (not) the center of the Universe.

Ancient Code: “The first person to think of the universe as a great organism was the Greek philosopher Anaxagoras, but the idea of the universe as a living organism was largely formulated by Plato, then by the Stoics, Plotinus and Neoplatonism.”

The 3rd Organismic worldview requires considerable imagination. Hence, a recent Nautilus article wonders whether a “living creature can be as big as a galaxy” and concludes that “life is constrained to be about the sizes we see on Earth”. Its lack of imagination is rooted in the definitions of “life” and “living creature”. Hence, its conclusion makes sense.

This view also explains why humans have great difficulty with (not) classifying viruses in Nature’s Tree of Life. Today, there is still a scientific debate whether viruses are alive or dead. Scientists still do not know (i) where viruses came from and (ii) how old they are (eg, NatGeoScience AdvancesScience Alert, Scientific American). Viruses might be older than Earth (eg, link).

The ancient Organismic worldview is in line with a modern concept called panpsychism. Wiki: “In philosophy, panpsychism is the view that consciousness, mind or soul (psyche) is a universal and primordial feature of all things. Panpsychists see themselves as minds in a world of mind.” 

My problem with these concepts is that they tend to be mutually exclusive. The limitation on the imagination in our mind, defines the limitations of our ideas. See some similar quotes.

Eye in the Sky (1982) by Alan Parsons Project – artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

I am the eye in the sky

Looking at you

I can read your mind

I am the maker of rules


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