A worldview is our perspective of society and how everything works. There are many things that contribute to our conclusions of the world around us. For example, we are exposed to many different aspects of life, such as: our culture, religious upbringing, wealth or lack of, our health or a family member’s health or illness, stress in the home, whether we were sheltered from society or not, trauma’s, etc. We are also discriminated and oppressed to one degree or the other, such as: age, class, sex, ethnicity, skin color, language, nation, religion, dress, sexual orientation, mentality, handicaps, education level, political stand, etc.
One’s worldview evolves over time as we learn about new things; however, it is most impressionable from birth to adolescence. Teenagers make conclusions about mostly everything and they begin to resist new ideas that are contrary to their belief system. Not that they cannot be swayed; but, it is a challenging time for them due to hormonal changes and their heightened awareness of sexuality and pursuits of love interests. Yet, there are many teenagers who are raised ‘right’ who are fully aware of this and they recognize the importance of parental guidance through their adolescence. Some may also rebel despite being raised by loving parents who mean well.
Adults may be the most challenging group of individuals to change their worldview. Often, it takes great turmoil to learn lessons ‘the hard way’. Adults often repeat the same mistakes and if they are uneducated, they often stay in situations that keep them ‘safe’ within their worldview. Sometimes adults come to conclusions that can be very hard to overcome and they develop cognitive dissonance to any realization that goes against their core belief system because it is too painful to accept, and sometimes just seeing, the truth.
Also, there is a lot of suffering in families due to divorce and remarriage which is due to infidelity, drug abuse and addiction, unhappiness, stress to provide for families, teen pregnancy, and this leads to fatherless children (especially problematic for boys), single parenting, etc. Statistics show that the divorce rate is 50%, which means that for every ten marriages, five will end in divorce. Our worldview will definitely impact how old we are when we get married, whether we are ready to get married, whether we know ourselves well enough before we fall in love and get married, whether we are financially prepared to care for a family, whether we have values and qualities that promote healthy relationships, etc. The statistics for remarriages shows that the rate of survival decreases with each subsequent marriage. Are people taking the time they need to heal from a divorce? Are they struggling with abandonment and needing love ‘in all the wrong places’? There is much to think about when it comes to marriage and this will be covered in greater detail in the Relational CDC section.
Each of us is like a different rubix cube. There are so many variables, as you’ve read thus far. We’ve only just begun to unmask the uniqueness of each individual on this planet. We are individuals; but, that doesn’t mean we aren’t or couldn’t also be collectivists. I was taught that it was selfish to be individualistic and in the extreme cases that may be so; however, I learned that collectivistic societies in extreme cases removed the individuality of the members and only saw the group as a whole. I see the values of both sides and conclude for myself that there needs to be balance.
I can see how it could be safer to remain or adhere to a collectivistic group. You are supported in many ways, such as: parents living at home and caring for small children for both parents to go to work, families pooling money together for gatherings and special needs within the group, protection from outsiders, and the like. I’ve personally experienced being outcast from a religious group and I witnessed a number of people being outcast from their group within the Hmong community for going against the status quo of their group.
So, what does a balanced view of individualism and collectivism look like? As we have seen so far, there are many, many variables that form our beliefs, attitudes, outlook, etc. On every level, we experience life individually. No one can read our minds or think for us. Individuality can be suppressed; but, it can also be nurtured. Collectivism can be ignored; but, it can also be embraced while also embracing one’s individuality. Here are few scenarios to understand the differences more clearly:
Scenario 1: I care for myself. I make sure that I am ok. The people in my group care for themselves. They don’t expect me to do anything for them. Often it is rude to ask for help. (Individualism)
Scenario 2: I care for my group. I sacrifice what I want if it impacts my group. The people in my group care for each other. We rely on and expect our group members to put the group first and follow the same guidelines. (Collectivism)
Scenario 3: I care for myself and those in my group as much as I am able to and they do the same thing. (Balanced)
Other aspects of one’s life experience can impact our personality development, individuality, and worldview, as well. Talents, interests and desires, how we express ourselves in dress, style, attitude, our knowledgeability of different subjects and other worldviews, and there are many other life experiences that we are exposed to and influenced by like dealing with the death of a loved one.