While sweating in the backyard sauna, a person who is very dear to me admitted that he didn’t know what my “personal worldview” was.

Personal worldview? What is a worldview, anyway? Does everyone (except me) have one already, a little script in their minds that they carry around with them, ready to recite at a moment’s notice? A unique filter that the mind’s eye uses to navigate the external world?

I turned to Sigmund Freud for assistance in answering these queries.

According to Freud, Weltanschauung, or perception of the world, is “an intellectual construction which solves all the problems of our existence uniformly on the basis of one overriding hypothesis, which, accordingly, leaves no question unanswered and in which everything that interests us finds its fixed place.”

Incredible! All of the problems of our existence! No question unanswered! Everything in its fixed place!

It is remarkable to me that Weltanschauung can actually be articulated. Is it possible to fit your entire mental construct of existence into one nice, neat hypothesis box?

I must be feeling like a challenge this afternoon, because I’m going to give it a shot, for my sweet sauna mate and for myself.

I know already that I see the world as good and beautiful. I believe that acts of madness, or brutality, or violence, or even simple rudeness, come from personal pain or ignorance. I deeply hold that one who feels internal peace and compassionate empathy for others cannot hurt others.

I believe that we are completely responsible for our own life.

I see nature and the environment as a process, not an endpoint or as having a perfect or pristine state. When we or any other organism does something, the environment shifts in response. When the environment shifts, we do something. Our place is to understand our impact, accept our humanness, and decide what level of balance is achievable.

I believe that if you really believe your life is good and will continue to be good, your life will be good.

I believe the point of life is to connect, with people, with the environment, with yourself.

Can I turn that into a Freudian, Weltanschauung-worthy hypothesis?

Quality of life is deeply correlated with love for and connection to oneself and the other.

That wasn’t so bad. I suppose all the pieces were in there, in the ol’ brain, but I had never really formally spelled it out. Still, I think it requires more work…there are questions that remain unanswered, problems that still exist, things that are left floundering in wrong places.

The self-discovery that a hot little box in the Alaskan forest can provide!

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