General Information about the Project

The Enlightened Worldview Project is a collaborative effort that is led by Brandon Norgaard.  This project is a multimedia engagement that currently features podcasts, videos, a blog, and a forum.  A multi-volume book series is also in the works, with the release of Volume 1 anticipated in 2020.

Synopsis for “Seeking a More Enlightened Worldview”

We all have fundamental beliefs about reality and about ourselves, and it is from these beliefs that one constructs a worldview. Some people have a traditional worldview, while others have a more modern or postmodern worldview.  In the world today there is a clash of worldviews, between those who are traditionally minded with religion and spirituality vs. those who embrace science and are largely nonreligious in character.

Unfortunately, people who have significantly different worldviews are often unable to understand each other and are unable to productively communicate with each other. Such disparate groups also have incompatible ethical and moral frameworks and vastly different political ideologies, and this causes increasingly dangerous and unbearable tension in society.

In order to try to address this clash of worldviews, this book investigates the basic building blocks of fundamental beliefs and how they are constructed into worldviews. This project seeks to find a middle ground between the traditional, modern, and postmodern worldviews and to form a more enlightened integral worldview.

Although the disparate groups in our global society can seem to be poles apart, it is possible to develop greater mutual understanding if we first achieve a higher level of inner awareness.  With the right innovations in communication, even the most scientifically minded people might be able to learn something from religious and spiritually minded people, and vice versa. The key is the use of modern phenomenology, which is a science of first-person conscious experience, used in conjunction with contemporary physical and social sciences. This is a tool of knowledge and understanding that is used to build a common language among the vastly different worldviews so that the most reasonable and evidence-based features of each can be identified. These are then brought together to construct a more enlightened worldview that can build bridges between people and thus lead to more social understanding and also hopefully to more political harmony.

Seeking a More Enlightened Worldview, Volume 1

This first volume, which is intended for release in 2020, begins with a detailed prologue that describes the overall purpose of the project, including the problems we are trying to address and our proposed solution and how we plan on achieving these goals.  After the prologue, Part 1 of this volume focuses on how knowledge is developed and on the foundation of science and the evaluation of truth claims.  Part 2 introduces modern phenomenology as a science of first-person consciousness that can be used to explore and to hopefully find satisfactory answers to the great questions of life.

  •  Part 1: Introduction
    • High level overview of the Enlightened Worldview project
    • The state of our civilization that makes this project necessary: The clash of worldviews
      • One perspective: religion vs. secularism
      • Another perspective: spirituality vs. science
      • Yet another perspective: traditional vs. modern vs. postmodern vs. integrative
      • There are many perspectives and many dilemmas, but the most important dilemmas can be reduced to what we can call “The Great Dilemma”
        • Is everything in the world entirely physical/material? Or does something else exist?
        • Science seems to indicate everything is physical/material, but science cannot really be used to figure out ethical/moral right and wrong
        • If everything is physical/material, including our conscious experience, then this does not seem to leave room for moral advocacy
        • Is there a special nonphysical/immaterial significance to our conscious experience? If so then how can we understand it and how can an ethical/moral framework be derived from this understanding?
        • Religious/spiritual/traditional worldviews seem to be on one side of The Great Dilemma, while secular/scientific/modern and postmodern worldviews seem to be on the other side
    • The need for a more enlightened worldview
      • Worldview defined
        • List the different worldview components, which are the great questions of life
      • Enlightenment defined
        • Experiential evidence and reason
        • Overall coherence
        • Comprehensive
      • Your worldview can be more enlightened when it is based on reason and evidence and also provides satisfactory answers to the great questions of life
      • The first step toward forming a more enlightened worldview is understanding some foundational thinking tools
        • Understanding how knowledge is structured, including the foundation of science
        • Understanding how science can be expanded to apply to studying first-person conscious experience
        • This we shall call “modern phenomenology”, and it will be the key to further studies in our quest for a more enlightened worldview
  • Part 2: Building the Structure of Knowledge
    • The Basis of Knowledge Formation
    • Epistemic Justification
    • The Foundation of Science and the Laws of Nature
    • Evaluation of Truth Claims
    • The Structure of Knowledge
  • Part 3: Scientific Innovations to Promote Greater Social Understanding and Inner Awareness
    • Finding an Epistemology that Can Apply to All Aspects of Life
    • The Various Forms of Phenomenology from Ancient Times to the Present
    • A Roadmap Toward A Paradigm Shift in Phenomenology
    • A Proposed Methodology for a More Modern Phenomenology
  • Summary of conclusions from Volume 1 and a preview of Volume 2
    • Summary of Part 1
    • Summary of Part 2
    • Volume 2 will involve phenomenological research projects based on the  methodology that is described in Volume 1
      • These projects will address the worldview components that have not yet been addressed, with an emphasis on “The Great Dilemma” and the goal of these projects is lead us to form a more enlightened worldview

Seeking a More Enlightened Worldview, Volume 2

Volume 2 uses the modern phenomenological method that was outlined in the first volume to conduct explorations of the essential aspects of first-person conscious experience so that an ethical framework can be constructed.  This is then used as a guideline for evaluating practical socio-political matters.

  •  Preface
    • Summary of Volume 1
    • Introduction to Volume 2
  • Phenomenological research projects related to “The Great Dilemma”
    • Consciousness
    • Language and Meaning
    • The Content and Reference of Thought
    • Free Will
    • Value
    • The Self
    • A Foundational Theory of Ethics
    • Completing the Picture of the Metaphysics of Consciousness
  • How practical political issues can be more reasonably addressed with guidance from this understanding
  • High level summary of everything up to this point
    • How it fits into a more enlightened worldview
    • How there are still semi religious/spiritual questions of life that are components of a comprehensive worldview that will be addressed in Volume 3

Seeking a More Enlightened Worldview, Volume 3

Volume 3 includes phenomenological spiritual explorations, which is essentially the use of the modern phenomenological method to explore the matters that are usually understood to be in the domain of religion, but that might be understood better through a certain form of reasoned spirituality.

  •  Preface
    • Summary of Volumes 1 and 2
    • Introduction to Volume 3
  • Phenomenological Spiritual Explorations
    • Ultimate Explanation and the possibility of the existence of God
    • Speculations about the Problem of Suffering and Theodicy
    • Speculations on The Meaning of Life
  • How practical socio-cultural matters can be more reasonably addressed with guidance from this understanding
  • High level summary of everything up to this point
    • How all of this fits into a more enlightened worldview