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People are often reminded that the world, in fact, does not ‘revolve around them’ but when one can only perceive the world around them with their own eyes, ears, heart, and mind, it may very well. From the time an individual’s conscious is developed to the day they die, that individual evaluates the world and everything they experience through their fundamental principles and understanding of reality, their worldview. A worldview is what enables people to understand what they take in and it could be equivocated to a lens at which one looks through. Worldviews enable individuals to put emphasize on certain things, apply reasoning to an occurrence, and much more. Summarily, a worldview works similarly to a theory in international relations or economics.
That being said, each of our worldviews come to be through a combination of our experiences and our predispositions. One might argue that their worldview is based on underlying, immortal principles, but I would argue that you still have to arrive at the conclusion that your principles are unwavering. And that comes through your experiences and predisposition. The remainder of this paper will elaborate on my personal worldview, how it came to be, and how I navigate my world using that worldview as a tool.
I grew up a very quiet but curious kid. These were things that weren’t taught to me, but the way I was from birth. However, certain events reinforced, if not solidified these characteristics. The first time I was ever bullied was in the first grade. The first time I went snooping through my parents’ things was way before elementary school but at a time when I was old enough to know what I was doing. I’ve always had a quick mouth, and despite my shyness I was competitive. I always wanted to be the smartest one in the room, the kid with all the answers. I was naive enough to think that I knew more about life than those around me, including adults. I was insecure enough to belittle my own knowledge and experiences. These characteristics are not part of my worldview, but have contributed to acts and events that have shaped my worldview.
I didn’t have the best childhood growing up, and that situation being paired with my curiosity has caused me to reflect a lot on myself, my peers, and anything and everything that has ever happened to me. This may sound either super healthy, or unhealthy depending on who you are, it has allowed me to mull over the question of ‘what is humanity’ and ‘what’s the point’ deeply and frequently. When I was in middle school and my earlier years of high school, I thought surely, I had done something wrong in a past life and God was punishing me. Or maybe I just wasn’t supposed to have a normal, happy family and life. Maybe I was undeserving. This couldn’t just happen! I’ve since realized that life really is random. It’s frustrating. I know. But I’ve experienced enough bad (family struggles, money problems) and enough good (amazing friendships and opportunities) to know that the trials of life are not biased. Some people do face more trials than others, this is true, but it is unlikely that fate is involved.
With that being said, the next key point in my worldview is that humans are self-interested first. I’ve hurt people and people have hurt me. All of us have our various reasons and excuses, but it boils down to the fact that being nice to someone else in that particular situation conflicted with what we believed was best for our self-interest at that time. But I don’t think that makes humans necessarily bad. I was expressing frustration to a friend about a love interest once and they had said, ‘you can be upset with them for what they did, but understanding of why they did it.’ and it stuck with me. All it takes is putting yourself in that person’s position. What would you have done?
So, humans are selfish and life is random. What does it mean? Is there a greater purpose? I would argue not. Whatever your religious beliefs, I’ve always found myself back at the argument that the purpose of life is ‘living for the sake of living.’ There is no mission. There is no meaning. Humans, like other animals, though more advanced, have developed through evolution and have perhaps over-evolved to the point we have spent thousands and thousands of years looking for ‘meaning’ in something that does not have any. This may sound brutal or scary, but it should be liberating, which is how I see it. Ultimately, my ‘purpose’ in life comes down to what I want to do. There is no predestined path or a higher authority telling me that the fate of the world depends on my taking of a particular action or lifestyle. I get to make my meaning.
But morality transcends us! To me, it doesn’t. I’ve sat in enough history classes to know that what is considered morally upright at one point wasn’t 20 years before or 50 years after. Morality is a social construct that guides how we live and treat others designated by the cross section of time and space in which we exist. That doesn’t mean right and wrong to me is completely arbitrary. This is different with every person, but my general rule is if you feel bad doing it, you probably shouldn’t be. This view is influenced by, as I said, my own experience and watching how domestic and international politics have changed over the past decade.
Maybe contradictory or surprising given my other beliefs, I do see significant value in human history. There are lessons to be learned everywhere, and great anecdotes for those looking for influence in their lives. Personally, I admire the tenacity of the Polish people, who have struggled to maintain their territorial bounds against foreign aggression for centuries. This courage and persistence gives me something to think about when I feel like giving up something I care about myself, in ways that perhaps other examples of bravery might not have. I also think human history provides a playbook to world leaders on what might not be in their state’s interest, and thus helps keep the human race alive, even if we are just ‘living for the sake of living.’ Human history contributes to the orientation of how we move forward, societally, technologically, and inwardly.
People generally think if you disagree with the notion that life has meaning, you probably don’t believe in God and therefore don’t believe in an afterlife. In the traditional sense, I don’t. I believe our bodies go back to the Earth, and we don’t remember anything. Maybe it is like being passed out in a coma. But of course, I haven’t died. I’m not sure what to say comes after death. I don’t really care to know what comes after death. None of us will know until we get there. Even then we might not! This opinion is a niche example of my larger opinion, which contributes to my worldview: if you don’t know what can’t be known, there is no use in worrying about it.
Summarily, my curiosity and quietness allowed me to stay on the margins of my friend groups, social settings, school, in order to be witness to other people and how they interacted. My experiences with this led me to conclude humans are selfish. My own positive and negative experiences, along with my bird’s eye view of those around me convinced me that life is random and ‘right and wrong’ is subjective and capricious. Human history is important as a compass, but it isn’t telling of any grand fate or meaning. As life lacks a set meaning, death does too. I wouldn’t spend too much time thinking about it.
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