Worldviews are Like Genitals
The analogy runs far deeper than you might think
Don’t worry folks, there are NO PICTURES in this essay, except for this one here.
I find that worldviews are like genitals, in many ways that add up to what is more like an allegory than a metaphor. The richness of this parallel suggests, to me, that perhaps all mechanisms for high-bandwidth information transfer might share similar properties.
Everyone has a worldview. Some people spend a lot of time playing around with their worldview. I know I do. Other people generally take their worldview for granted, because they have higher priorities in life than to engage in intellectual masturbation.
Everyone’s worldview is unique and valuable. I have never really gotten to know someone else’s worldview and not found it to be interesting, even fascinating. I have found that there’s always more to explore, learn about, and understand, even if it’s a worldview that I think I’ve seen many times before. As long as I’m willing to look with an open mind, I can find something new.
People generally don’t like it if you go around showing them your worldview. Showing your worldview to people you’ve just met tends to make them feel uncomfortable and threatened, perhaps because they think you might want them to accept your worldview.
When I was younger, I cared a lot more about how other people saw my worldview. I felt great when people praised my worldview as broad, expensive, penetrating. I felt ashamed when they said my worldview lacked depth or substance, or that it was seriously flawed.
I no longer care about these things, because my worldview has grown and evolved in ways that don’t seem to have parallels with the rest of the information generating and transmitting portions of my physiology. This might be where the analogy breaks down, because my worldview is a product of immense periods of time and effort on my own part, whereas the rest of my physiology… is… as well…. now that I think about it. Ever since I began to put in a bunch of time and effort into exercise and nutrition and meditation and relaxing and adjusting my posture and controlling my breathing and moving more slowly and mindfully, at holding my head more erect, my physiology has grown more resilient, less fragile, and more accepting - just like my worldview! So… maybe the analogy holds as long as we expand the scope of ‘genitals’ to include our entire physiology, which doesn’t really sound incorrect to me.
Most people can’t handle my worldview, and I’m OK with that. My worldview isn’t for everyone. Not everyone has developed enough depth or breadth of thought. Almost everyone I know has a hard time relaxing enough to take it all in, and I generally get excited when people start really listening to me, which tends to make matters worse. And that’s OK! Being bigger or smaller or deeper or more narrowminded or tense or easily excitable doesn’t make a person better or worse; my worldview says the world needs as many worldviews as possible!
The whole world doesn’t need to accept my worldview because everyone already has their own, and that’s beautiful. I’d much rather limit the sharing of my worldview to the small audience that has accepted me as I am, in my entirety, rather than feeling the need to broadcast my worldview so that everyone, everywhere, knows exactly what I think and how I feel. Where’s the fun in that?
I have found that, if I want to share my worldview with someone, I need to drop that concept, and instead, first build up a level of reciprocal comfort and trust with the other person. When people are tense, sharing worldviews generally doesn’t go well; there might be some quick excitement and then both parties leave, frustrated and possibly angry and hurt. It’s not a good idea to try to share worldviews when we are in a hurry, or rushed.
However, if both of us feel calm, relaxed, and comfortable, we can gradually begin the process of showing each other our worldviews. This can be a lot of fun! It feels great to slowly expose the more delicate pieces of my worldview and gradually confirm that the other party is curious, interested, willing and eager to play. Conversely, I feel so trusted when another person is comfortable sharing the sensitive parts of their worldview with me.
Listening to someone else has been both difficult and rewarding for me. It has helped me want to give this gift - of listening and accepting someone else, just as they are, as often as I can. When I was younger, I just wanted to give my worldview to anyone who would accept it. Now that I have grown more, I have found I’m better at receiving other people’s worldviews kindly, and it seems to work better for me to grow in this area.
Sharing worldviews in a group can be a lot of fun, but it’s also risky! There are some nasty germs going around. This is why it’s important for me to practice good intellectual hygiene. When I am diligent about what goes into my body, I feel and function far better. The same is true of my mind. I find that contempt, jealousy, anger, and fear all travel around as informationally transmitted diseases, and so it is better for me to avoid large groups where everyone is swapping worldviews.
Lastly, if you have two worldviews that line up together in ways that are compatible, if you’ve built enough trust with the other party to fully expose your worldviews to each other, if you both accept each other as meaningful and valid and worth considering, you can end up with a unique worldview which is the product of both parent worldviews.
This is a great way to bring new worldviews into being!
I find it fitting that the early internet, and places like usenet, were heavily trafficked in areas of pornography, politics, and religious/philosophical conversations. It is as if the universe is using a barbell investment strategy for maximizing the flow of information, as if the whole works were striving to simultaneously embody everything everything is true.
Oops, that last bit was my worldview peeking out a bit. If you’d like to see more,
If you enjoyed considering this worldview, why not:
I consider this more evidence of the Matrioshka theory of the universe.
Note that entropy is simultaneously the thing the physical universe is maximizing, as well as a measure if information flow!
Brilliant and beautiful. I'm boosting this in my weekly review.
Great post! I want to bring your attention to this part: "Not everyone is deep enough, not everyone is sufficiently broad minded." I'd love to see you rewrite that without using the "is" - meaning, can you describe what you mean when you say someone "isn't" deep or broad-minded enough?
My prediction, in rot13 so you can do the exercise before seeing it:
Lbh'yy qrfpevor fbzrguvat oebnqyl pbzcngvoyr jvgu gur vqrn gung crbcyr ner cyragl qrrc - qrrcre guna lbh, rira! - ohg gurl whfg qba'g pner nobhg jung lbh pner nobhg fb gurl fxvz gur fhesnpr bs gung gbcvp. Lbh jba'g svaq gung fhecevfvat - guvf vf jung lbh *zrnag* ol gubfr jbeqf! (V guvax lbh zrnag zber guna lbh guvax lbh zrnag - jbeqf ner vafvqvbhf.) Ohg V jbaqre vs lbh jbhyq svaq vg fhecevfvat gung znal zber crbcyr jvyy gnxr gur gvzr gb qevyy qbja vagb lbhe gbcvpf jvgu lbh vs lbh qba'g pnyy gurz funyybj naq aneebj-zvaqrq, ertneqyrff bs ubj lbh pnirng naq nffher gurz vg'f bx.