Corey’s worldview is…complicated…

I watched the season premier of Lost last night (it was awesome)…and it got me thinking.  One of the key aspects of the show is the characters worldviews and how they are demonstrated based on the interactions and events stemming from their time on the island.  Unsure of what my worldview was…I found several quizes online to enlighten me.  The quizes presented statements like ‘morals are socially constructed’ or “the idea of god is purely for comfort’…and then asked how strongly you agreed or disagreed.  No matter which quiz I took, one answer always came out on top – Modernist.  Not sure exactly what that meant, I once again took to the web to find out.

It seems that Modernists believe in learning from the past and going deep into a subject to fully understand it.  In contrast, a postmodernist believes in superficial appearances and only looking at the surface of things to find meaning.  A Modernist is very analytical and uses rational and logical means to gain knowledge.  A Modernist also believe that mankind progresses by using science and reason as their guides.  Again in contract, a Romanticist believes in a simple life and the “progress” mankind has made has turned the world upside down.    

At first, I thought the Modernist label was a good fit.  At work I’m known as a numbers guy and I’m often asked to participate in meetings outside my department because of my ability to break things down and recognize trends and patterns in a cacophony of data.  But at the same time, I’m also very creative and emotional.  I play the guitar (for real…not just on rockband) and I was a drummer in a really bad punk band up in Bellingham during my younger years.  I’m an aspiring, though thus far completely unsuccessful, song writer and I have been known to get teary eyed while listening to song that I find beautiful and moving, or while watching a touching scene on The West Wing or The Wonder Years.

Confused by this paradox…I took a second look at the quizes and noticed my second ranked option was always the same as well…Existentialist.  After doing a little more exploring, I found out that an Existentialist is obsessed with how to live ones life and that life in general is difficult and devoid of a main “objective” or values.  In fact, an Existentialist believes that the individual is solely responsable for creating their own value and meaning  in whatever it is they do or feel.  There are no moral absolutes….or a predefined right or wrong, there is only what you truly believe…and right or wrong will be different depending on the person and where they are at in their life.

While I can’t learn a whole lot by surfing the web for a couple of hours and reading others peoples thoughts on worldviews, it has given me a place to start.  I think my default mode is Modernist…but when I strip away that work first frame of mind and look deeper, I think Existentialist is more accurate.  My morals and values, and the meaning I give to things are very different now then they were 1o, 5, or even 2 years ago.  Regardless, I hope to explore this further to better understand my motivations behind why I do the things I do.  Learning more about ones self is always a good thing…and I fear it’s something I don’t do enough of.

On a side note, I just took a “what Lost character are you” quiz.  First response…John Locke with 75%.  Second response…Dr. Jack Shephard with 68%.  Interesting that those two were always at odds with one another throughout the series…this could explain why I’m always so conflicted and arguing with myself all the time.  Thank god we have internet quizes…how would we know who we really are without them?

“Few Americans have been taught to think in terms of worldviews. They do not know what a worldview is; they could not spell out the content of their own worldview if their lives depended upon it; they are unaware of how various aspects of conflicting worldviews clash logically.”

– Ronald Nash

~ by coreysays on February 3, 2010.

2 Responses to “Corey’s worldview is…complicated…”

  1. Oh Jesus. Where to start? I have always loved Existenstialism– Camus is one of my favorite writers and philosophers– mostly because it’s continental philosophy (rather than analytical) and thus very based in creating literature to examine, explore, and pose answers. I think it’s important to note a few things: first, that the existentialists were very concerned with the idea that there might NOt be a God in the religious sense, so basically they were raising the question if you removed the percieved center from the universe ( in this case, God) that had previously driven (at least in Western tradition) right and wrong, then how would you go about leading a “good life?”. So almost all the primary works in this particular branch of philosophy are responding to that particular question. The second thing I find fascinating is that there is a clear evolution in the thinking: you go from the classic essay “The Myth of Sisiphus” (which, darling Corey, if you haven’t read you should because it totally relates to your most recent blog posting about reasons-to-get-out-of-bed-when-it-seems-there-are-none) to The Stranger to The Plague. Basically, it goes from this metaphor of perennially pushing a gigantic Rock up a hill, only to have it roll down on you again– to a life totally devoid of any concern for others– to a life that . . . Well — its been a while since I read The Plague or Thus Spake, but I think they come up with a pretty sublime way of looking at life– God or no God.

    Anyway, tangents on existentialism aside, my understandings of major philosophical movements (modern, post- modern, romantic) are mired in the literary movements that accompanied them. So romantics are Keats and negative capability– modernists are William Carlos Williams and Ezra Pound and image– post- moderism is Derrida and the language poets and the rebel angels.

    Each mode of thinking has its own gifts for us– Ezra Pound said this: “it is difficult to get the news from poems, yet men die horribly every day for lack of what is found there.”. Or maybe that’s Williams. Anyway, I love that quote. And the modernists taught us to go in fear of abstractions.

    And whoever wrote that definition of post- modernism is definitely an analytical philosopher. Most of them have no truck with post- modernism and would say it’s “superficial.” I call bullshit on that. Basically, post- modernism is taking everything we’ve accepted as Truth-with-a-capital-T and remixing it– rereading it– re thinking it. Derrida, arguably the most famous post-modern thinker, has this line that is the foundation of my pedagogy– “all academic work should be serious play.”


    I have so much more to say, but I’ll end with this: I don’t watch Lost, but I imagine naming a character “John Locke” MUST mean he’s based on the philosopher. Who I may or may not be distantly related to– there are several John Locke’s in my family tree. And of course, my middle name is Locke. :). But I will tell you that guy was one crazy motherfucker. If you want to know more, however, you’ll have to ask, because I daresay I’ve gone on long enough. 🙂

  2. There are some great quizzes, games, and other stuff for learning about philosophy at I love that site.

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