At this time hateful views are undermining the wellbeing and collaboration of persons and societies across our globe. Our own hateful views damage the social fabric around us, but also cost us the wholeness of our own humanity within us. In this context it is crucial to understand the conditions under which perspective change occurs.
Research in the field of Transformative Learning shows that worldviews are formed very early in life and are not easy to change, especially not by someone perceived as a threat. It seems the human mind ‘secures’ worldviews internally through mental attitudes and processes (such as motivated reasoning) as a form of self-preservation. In life, a perspective transformation leading to transformative learning usually results from a disorienting dilemma that deeply challenges one’s existing meaning making schema, which is often triggered by a life crisis or major life transition. Meaning, focusing only on processing information with logic will not create perspective change most of the time. In fact, neuroscience shows that our brains are designed to respond to fear messages with a fight/flight response that bypasses logical responses.
Transformative Learning suggests that educational practices need to be driven by space for: more process, more emotion, more engagement, and more reflection to bring belief structures (that may have previously been unconscious) to the surface for examination of their source (media, school, church, parents, etc.), re-evaluation of their current relevance, and rewriting/integration of conscious beliefs in line with one’s personal truth and inner authority. (Source: Craig N. Shealy, Making Sense of Beliefs and Values, 2015)
In life, a perspective transformation leading to transformative learning usually results from a disorienting dilemma.