We all have a mix of many different factors that shape our worldview. I thought I’d tell you some of mine and hopefully you’ll tell me some of yours.
Education was highly valued in my family. My parents also believed in being very careful with money and not spending money you didn’t have unless it was for a mortgage, which should be paid off ASAP; I picked that up from them too.
My parents are a lot judgier than I am. For example, they were fat-shamers, and I’m very glad that I didn’t end up with body image issues as a result. If anything, their judginess pushed me more in the direction of open-mindedness, because I didn’t like their example.
Politically, my parents were pretty middle of the road and not actively in politics, although they regularly followed current events. They were both atheists, and religion was never something that resonated with me, although I find it interesting from a detached perspective.
I’ve always wanted to know, and know more. I’ve done a lot of reading ever since I was a kid. I want to understand the issues I’m interested in, and get information from multiple sources to put pieces together for myself. I don’t want to be spoon fed information; I like to do my own exploring. And when things set off my spidey senses, I tend to pursue them, which leads to things like discovering plagiarized blog posts, something that happened just yesterday.
I did my first international trip in high school, and then as an adult started travelling at 22, and I was hooked. Travel has opened my mind, and it’s also taught me a lot. I always used Lonely Planet guidebooks, which usually gave a pretty good synopsis of major historical issues, plus I went to a lot of museums and that kind thing. It gave me a sense of the world being bigger than just what’s what’s familiar to me, and helped me to appreciate that there are many ways of living that look nothing like my own. It also proved time and again that different language and cultures don’t have to stand in the way of genuine human connection.
I’m pro-science, and I believe in the power of the scientific method of inquiry. If public health officials are saying one thing and politicians are saying another, I’m going with the public health people every time. If scientists are saying climate change is real and politicians are saying it’s not, I’m going with the scientists every time. Science doesn’t always get it right, but I like that the process is about always .
I’m not entirely sure when social justice really started to be a thing for me, and I don’t recall if it was abrupt or more gradual. When I was in my first year of university, there was an Asia-Pacific Economic Conference event on the school’s campus. I didn’t go to the large protest that was organized, but some of my residence floormates did. The police badly bungled the situation, and a bunch of people ended up getting pepper-sprayed.
It was probably in nursing school that I really started thinking more about social justice, and then it was something that grew throughout my nursing career, as a lot of the population I worked with was marginalized, often in multiple intersecting ways. At this point, a social justice lens is an important part my worldview.
I was a science girl. Through my seven years of undergraduate education, I didn’t take a single sociology course. Then when it came to do my thesis for my Master of Psychiatric Nursing degree, I planned to use a research method called autoethnography, which has roots in sociology. I had a sociology prof on my thesis committee, and he steered me in the direction of some really interesting stuff, particularly around othering. It’s definitely shaped how I view social phenomena, and it’s not an area I would ever have imagined myself venturing into.
I’m interested in certain political issues, but I’ve never been interested in politics itself, and would never consider firmly aligning myself with a particular political party or uncritically supporting everything they do. I’ve always leaned left of centre, and have drifted further left as time goes on, but that’s more about my values than politics, and in a given election, my vote could go to any of three different parties.
It’s bizarre to look at the situation south of the border, even at the best of times, because the so-called radical left in the U.S. really doesn’t sound all that different from the NDP government in power in my province that just won a resounding majority. And even the furthest right conservatives here would never dare to run on a platform to do away with public health care, because they’d get wiped off the map. It’s all relative.
Anyway, I’m mostly interested in politics because I think there are important social issues that need to be addressed. Aside from that, I don’t pay much attention.
My values are a major factor in determining what I pay attention to. There’s a lot going on, and you’ve got to narrow it down somehow. Fairness in terms of how police treat the populace is important in my world. That grew for me around mental health, but has broadened to encompass other issues, including systemic racism. I think there are few, if any, social issues that stand alone; there are other things that come into play, and I think examining values is a useful exercise in unpacking how we relate to major issues.
So, that’s me and what’s influenced my worldview. What have been some of the factors that have influenced yours?
You can find more on social issues on the Social Justice & Equality page.