I found this great article on the significance of taking your world view and the world view of others into account when trying to understand outbreaks of rage and violence. Whatever you opinion of the Middle East violence that has erupted in recent weeks or whether the source was a film some Muslims found offensive or whether it was planned by terrorists, I appreciate Mr. Jackson’s attempt to explain the component of “world view.” Here is the section that most caught my attention…
Do Americans really understand why Muslims and other non-Americans think our government was behind the making of the idiotic movie that sparked the terrorist attacks last week?
Most of these countries have a dictatorship or some other form of autocratic government. For those living in such countries, it is inconceivable that a movie could be made without the explicit blessing of the government.
Most of these Muslim countries have no freedom of speech or freedom of the press. So, to them, the government is the press; the government is the movie producer. Does that justify their killing our embassy people? Of course, not. But, you must understand their mindset and worldview.
I appreciate that Mr. Jackson condemns the violence even as he is making the broader point about world view. I think some journalists tend to forget that first part. And in fact, he’s right about what the rest of the world thinks about who produces movies… if you watch most any foreign language film and most of your indie British flicks (and I do… my wife and I are quirky like that), most are produced with government funding and support. People outside the United States, even those in the most modern countries that are our strongest allies don’t have the appreciation for the degree to which American free speech is practiced and protected. So, it’s hard to explain to someone who lives in a developing world that, in general, there is a sense that the speech we hate the most we are also responsible to protect the most. In fact, we’re not always very good at doing that, but there is something inside of most Americans that strives for that level of protection of free speech (at least, I hope so). Now imagine explaining that to someone who lives in a world where regarding the speech you hate most, you immediately kill the speaker.
That’s not to say their world view is right (in fact, I think their world view is terribly wrong). It is to say that world view is something we need to pay attention to if we’re going to influence people for the better. We need to understand the impact of world view if we are to understand the people who hold to different world views and if we ever hope to bring change to people who have world views with which they rationalize themselves into going riot-and-murder-crazy over a Youtube video. Frankly, I’ve seen things on Youtube that are much more offensive to me as a practicing Christian… but I’m not setting fire to the local diner because of it, either.
By the way, understanding another world view doesn’t mean you have to pretend to like it.
Anyway, you can catch the whole article on the Daytona Times website here.