Common Worldview

When people share their deep beliefs and see the world in the same or similar way, then their relationships and cooperation can be fruitful. They all work from the same base to which are attached many strong emotions. If that base is not challenged, effective cooperation is much more likely. However, if there are strong differences at the level of fundamental beliefs, cooperation may be impossible and relationships unbearable. These deep differences seldom come to the surface and are discussed yet they govern people's lives. However, people who feel challenged at that deep level will argue about substitute topics that are on the table and maybe even subconsciously try to derail common efforts.

In 2000 Paul Ray and Sherry Ruth Andersen published a book: The Cultural Creatives. It was the result of a study of social values done in the late 1990s in the US. In a nutshell, they concluded that in the US there are three rather than two subcultures. Besides Moderns and Traditionals they also discovered a very large segment of the society that could not be ignored. People in this group were trying to find new solutions to existing problems, hence creating a new culture. They called them 'Cultural Creatives'. Yet presenting the society as divided into three rigid groups may not be a good idea since there are few who could be called "pure bred" Cultural Creatives or Traditionals. People are usually influenced by more than one worldview. However, a clear line can be drawn separating the three worldviews as they are quite distinctive. That's why it is better to talk about the society split along the lines of these three worldview although it is fair to say that each individual gravitates towards one of the three.

The Modern worldview has been dominating for approximately the last 500 years and it still rules today. What we can observe around us is the representation of the Moderns' values and beliefs. It first brought us industrialization and now globalization. The Traditional worldview started taking shape about 140 years ago. It doesn't challenge the fundamentals of the Moderns' worldview, however expects it to be more oriented towards and committed to past beliefs and values which, according to Traditionals, can serve the society better. People who adopt this worldview look for solutions in the past. The Cultural Creatives worldview represents a rebellion against the ruling Moderns beliefs and values and searches for new solutions, exploring unchartered waters.

Understanding these differences and divisions between the three worldviews is of great importance and further reading is encouraged. All people who believe that we need a different, sustainable food culture, who believe that food is fundamental to our health and that the food we need to eat must be very different from industrial foods that the present food system offers, inevitably gravitate towards the Cultural Creatives worldview. Hence, it is very important to search for other people who represent the same values and beliefs rather than trying to "convert" others, be it Moderns or Traditionals, to their new and somehow rebellious beliefs and ways of thinking. It is guaranteed that such an approach will not work but certainly may antagonize people.

People who are on the Cultural Creatives path must be rebels against the ruling Moderns' worldview. Since we all were born and have lived immersed in the world represented by Moderns' values and beliefs, we all still have some of them "in our blood", it doesn't matter how far we have gone on the rebellious Cultural Creatives path. Also, some may also have been strongly influenced by the Traditionals' worldview, from which it is also very difficult to break. Each person's path is different. It can only be said that some people on this path have gone further than others. However there is one thing that binds all these people together and that is their desire to look for new sustainable solutions to our present unsustainable systems. Among these food and health matter very highly.

It seems to be typical that the initial breaking from the Moderns (or Traditionals) worldview happens in only one aspect of our lives. We may start challenging and rejecting where life hurt us most, the current dogma about health, education, economy, relations within organizations, etc. Once we allow ourselves to challenge some of our beliefs and then decide to abandon them, the rebellion seems to spread to other areas of our lives. Indeed, most problems seem to be rooted in and are part of the same, larger system in which we live. The process of shifting values and beliefs usually is very traumatic and may cause very serious strife in our relationships. Just because we decided to change our beliefs doesn't mean that those close to us also have. That usually doesn't happen and we start feeling like outcasts, hiding inside what we have learned to believe and that we cannot unlearn. That's why it is so important to start looking outside of our old sphere of relationships, searching for other Cultural Creatives and attempt to build some new relationships. The Centre will make possible new contacts for many people on a path that may feel like a very lonely journey. There are many other people who have also started to shift and they need to find each other.

Acceptance of the new understanding is also very difficult for economic reasons. The money is in the Moderns' world and to make money, we usually have to comply with what this worldview represents. For that reason so many people must now live in constant emotional strife, trying to deny the emerging new understanding of reality and justify that what they do for living. After all, we all have our many economic needs that are not easy to give up or meet differently. Most of us are in this economic bond and breaking with it is very difficult. Always the best start to finding ways of making a living that is in line with our new beliefs and values is to limit our material expectations. Admittedly, that is not easy, particularly if there are children under our care.

Understanding of the split in the society along these three lines is also very important because it helps understand how to relate to those whose lives are governed by different values and beliefs. In general, a strong attempt has to be always made to find platforms on which we can work with those who represent worldviews other than our own. When it comes to food initiatives of Cultural Creatives, such as the proposed Centre, they can be supported by some Traditionals who also may believe and appreciate the value of traditional food methods. However, passive rather than active support should be expected. It is different about relations with Moderns when Cultural Creatives always need to act carefully not to aggravate those who are deeply Moderns' when committing themselves to separate their efforts from Moderns' influence.

Describing the split of our society among these three worldviews doesn't imply that there are camps of good or bad people. It is just that different people deeply believe in different things and these beliefs govern their lives. Their beliefs are seldom thoughtfully chosen but rather acquired at times when people absorb their beliefs and values from the surrounding culture. Beliefs do not necessarily make people good or bad and define their morals, just describe what drives people in their lives. We all represent a confusing mix of beliefs and the presented classification of the worldviews is only for the purpose of guiding the effort on the chosen path, which in this case is a shift towards a sustainable food culture and a new path of healing in which food plays fundamental role.

Recommended Books 

  The Cultural Creatives

The Cultural Creatives Paul Ray and Ruth Anderson.