21 November 2012

Cultural Worldview Learning and Communicating

My wife and I lived in other cultures most of our married life.  We lived for some years on the island nation of Cyprus with its rich heritage of Micenae, Hellenic and Roman culture and thought.  All this identity for the Greek Cypriots is wrapped by two millennia of Christian thought, belief and practice.

It is exciting and challenging to live among a different people, and further, to look out from Cyprus to our east and south and wonder at the hundreds of ethnic groups and dozens of languages spoken!  Their culture and religious faith is different.  But there are Christian citizens of most of the countries in this part of the world.  Many trace their heritage to the first century and those first followers of Jesus.

What is involved in communicating across such vast cultural differences?
How do we develop our cultural worldviews?
How does this affect the way we think and relate to others?

Basically a worldview is the common idea of life and reality based on the Shared Significant Experiences of a certain group of people. The more similar the set of life experiences, the more similar the worldview from one individual to another and from one group to another. This is the frame of reference for beliefs, values, expectations and decision-making.  To communicate with someone in a different culture, we must come to understand the Significant Experiences that have shaped their thought.  We must also come to Share to some extent in these Significant Experiences, vicariously and practically. 

We share their stories as we learn their stories.  Sympathy and Respect are foundations of Communication.  They must be accompanied by Trust.  This comes only from sharing and earning credibility in personal relationships.

Learn More about "worldview:"
Worldview, Technical and Historical Point of View

Learn how worldview underlies all your beliefs and assumptions:
Worldview, Practical and Experiential Point of View
More on Worldview and Experience
How We Learn Worldview through Experiences
Learn about Practical Aspects of Culture and Worldview
Literacy and Learning:
Orality and Postliterate Culture
[PPt] Orality and Postliterate Culture
[PPt]Oral and Literate – Contrast of Oral and Literate Perspectives

This blog article includes material first published in May 2000 in The Cyprus Sentinel, a periodic newsletter on cross-cultural communication, published in Nicosia, Cyprus
Developed for this blog 21 November 2012