World

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The Blue Marble, a photograph of the planet Earth made on December 7, 1972 by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft The Earth seen from Apollo 17.jpg
The Blue Marble , a photograph of the planet Earth made on December 7, 1972 by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft
A geopolitical world map of shorelines and national borders as of 2016 under the Robinson projection Map of the world by the US Gov as of 2016 no legend.svg
A geopolitical world map of shorelines and national borders as of 2016 under the Robinson projection

The world is the Earth and all life on it, including human civilization. [1] In a philosophical context, the "world" is the whole of the physical Universe, or an ontological world (the "world" of an individual). In a theological context, the world is the material or the profane sphere, as opposed to the celestial, spiritual, transcendent or sacred spheres. "End of the world" scenarios refer to the end of human history, often in religious contexts.

Contents

The history of the world is commonly understood as the history of humanity spanning the major geopolitical developments of about five millennia, from the first civilizations to the present. In terms such as world religion, world language, world government, and world war, the term world suggests an international or intercontinental scope without necessarily implying participation of every part of the world.

The world population is the sum of all human populations at any time; similarly, the world economy is the sum of the economies of all societies or countries, especially in the context of globalization. Terms such as "world championship", "gross world product", and "world flags" imply the sum or combination of all sovereign states.

Etymology and usage

The English word world comes from the Old English weorold (-uld), weorld, worold (-uld, -eld), a compound of wer "man" and eld "age," which thus means roughly "Age of Man." [2] The Old English is a reflex of the Common Germanic *wira-alđiz, also reflected in Old Saxon werold, Old Dutch werilt, Old High German weralt, Old Frisian warld and Old Norse verǫld (whence the Icelandic veröld ). [3]

The corresponding word in Latin is mundus, literally "clean, elegant", itself a loan translation of Greek cosmos "orderly arrangement." While the Germanic word thus reflects a mythological notion of a "domain of Man" (compare Midgard), presumably as opposed to the divine sphere on the one hand and the chthonic sphere of the underworld on the other, the Greco-Latin term expresses a notion of creation as an act of establishing order out of chaos.

"World" distinguishes the entire planet or population from any particular country or region: world affairs pertain not just to one place but to the whole world, and world history is a field of history that examines events from a global (rather than a national or a regional) perspective. Earth, on the other hand, refers to the planet as a physical entity, and distinguishes it from other planets and physical objects.

"World" was also classically used to mean the material universe, or the cosmos: "The worlde is an apte frame of heauen and earthe, and all other naturall thinges contained in them." [4] The earth was often described as "the center of the world". [5]

The term can also be used attributively, to mean "global", or "relating to the whole world", forming usages such as world community or world canonical texts. [6]

By extension, a world may refer to any planet or heavenly body, especially when it is thought of as inhabited, especially in the context of science fiction or futurology.

World, in its original sense, when qualified, can also refer to a particular domain of human experience.

Philosophy

The Garden of Earthly Delights triptych by Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1503) shows the "garden" of mundane pleasures flanked by Paradise and Hell. The exterior panel shows the world before the appearance of humanity, depicted as a disc enclosed in a sphere. The Garden of Earthly Delights by Bosch High Resolution.jpg
The Garden of Earthly Delights triptych by Hieronymus Bosch (c.1503) shows the "garden" of mundane pleasures flanked by Paradise and Hell. The exterior panel shows the world before the appearance of humanity, depicted as a disc enclosed in a sphere.

In philosophy, the term world has several possible meanings. In some contexts, it refers to everything that makes up reality or the physical universe. In others, it can mean have a specific ontological sense (see world disclosure). While clarifying the concept of world has arguably always been among the basic tasks of Western philosophy, this theme appears to have been raised explicitly only at the start of the twentieth century [7] and has been the subject of continuous debate. The question of what the world is has by no means been settled.

Parmenides

The traditional interpretation of Parmenides' work is that he argued that the everyday perception of reality of the physical world (as described in doxa ) is mistaken, and that the reality of the world is 'One Being' (as described in aletheia): an unchanging, ungenerated, indestructible whole.

Plato

In his Allegory of the Cave, Plato distinguishes between forms and ideas and imagines two distinct worlds: the sensible world and the intelligible world.

Hegel

In Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel's philosophy of history, the expression Weltgeschichte ist Weltgericht (World History is a tribunal that judges the World) is used to assert the view that History is what judges men, their actions and their opinions. Science is born from the desire to transform the World in relation to Man; its final end is technical application.

Schopenhauer

The World as Will and Representation is the central work of Arthur Schopenhauer. Schopenhauer saw the human will as our one window to the world behind the representation; the Kantian thing-in-itself. He believed, therefore, that we could gain knowledge about the thing-in-itself, something Kant said was impossible, since the rest of the relationship between representation and thing-in-itself could be understood by analogy to the relationship between human will and human body.

Wittgenstein

Two definitions that were both put forward in the 1920s, however, suggest the range of available opinion. "The world is everything that is the case," wrote Ludwig Wittgenstein in his influential Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus , first published in 1921. [8] This definition would serve as the basis of logical positivism, with its assumption that there is exactly one world, consisting of the totality of facts, regardless of the interpretations that individual people may make of them.

Heidegger

Martin Heidegger, meanwhile, argued that "the surrounding world is different for each of us, and notwithstanding that we move about in a common world". [9] The world, for Heidegger, was that into which we are always already "thrown" and with which we, as beings-in-the-world, must come to terms. His conception of "world disclosure" was most notably elaborated in his 1927 work Being and Time .

Freud

In response, Sigmund Freud proposed that we do not move about in a common world, but a common thought process. He believed that all the actions of a person are motivated by one thing: lust. This led to numerous theories about reactionary consciousness.

Others

Some philosophers, often inspired by David Lewis, argue that metaphysical concepts such as possibility, probability, and necessity are best analyzed by comparing the world to a range of possible worlds; a view commonly known as modal realism.

Religion

Yggdrasil, a modern attempt to reconstruct the Norse world tree which connects the heavens, the world, and the underworld. Yggdrasil.jpg
Yggdrasil, a modern attempt to reconstruct the Norse world tree which connects the heavens, the world, and the underworld.

Mythological cosmologies often depict the world as centered on an axis mundi and delimited by a boundary such as a world ocean, a world serpent or similar. In some religions, worldliness (also called carnality) [10] [11] is that which relates to this world as opposed to other worlds or realms.

Buddhism

In Buddhism, the world means society, as distinct from the monastery. It refers to the material world, and to worldly gain such as wealth, reputation, jobs, and war. The spiritual world would be the path to enlightenment, and changes would be sought in what we could call the psychological realm.

Christianity

In Christianity, the term often connotes the concept of the fallen and corrupt world order of human society, in contrast to the World to Come. The world is frequently cited alongside the flesh and the Devil as a source of temptation that Christians should flee. Monks speak of striving to be "in this world, but not of this world"—as Jesus said—and the term "worldhood" has been distinguished from "monkhood", the former being the status of merchants, princes, and others who deal with "worldly" things.

This view is clearly expressed by king Alfred the Great of England (d. 899) in his famous Preface to the Cura Pastoralis :

"Therefore I command you to do as I believe you are willing to do, that you free yourself from worldly affairs (Old English: woruldðinga) as often as you can, so that wherever you can establish that wisdom that God gave you, you establish it. Consider what punishments befell us in this world when we neither loved wisdom at all ourselves, nor transmitted it to other men; we had the name alone that we were Christians, and very few had the practices."

Although Hebrew and Greek words meaning "world" are used in Scripture with the normal variety of senses, many examples of its use in this particular sense can be found in the teachings of Jesus according to the Gospel of John, e.g. 7:7, 8:23, 12:25, 14:17, 15:18-19, 17:6-25, 18:36. In contrast, a relatively newer concept is Catholic imagination.

Contemptus mundi is the name given to the belief that the world, in all its vanity, is nothing more than a futile attempt to hide from God by stifling our desire for the good and the holy. [12] This view has been criticized as a "pastoral of fear" by modern historian Jean Delumeau. [13]

During the Second Vatican Council, there was a novel attempt to develop a positive theological view of the World, which is illustrated by the pastoral optimism of the constitutions Gaudium et spes , Lumen gentium , Unitatis redintegratio and Dignitatis humanae .

Eastern Christianity

In Eastern Christian monasticism or asceticism, the world of mankind is driven by passions. Therefore, the passions of the World are simply called "the world". Each of these passions are a link to the world of mankind or order of human society. Each of these passions must be overcome in order for a person to receive salvation (theosis). The process of theosis is a personal relationship with God. This understanding is taught within the works of ascetics like Evagrius Ponticus, and the most seminal ascetic works read most widely by Eastern Christians, the Philokalia and the Ladder of Divine Ascent (the works of Evagrius and John Climacus are also contained within the Philokalia). At the highest level of world transcendence is hesychasm which culminates into the Vision of God.

Orbis Catholicus

Orbis Catholicus is a Latin phrase meaning Catholic world, per the expression Urbi et Orbi, and refers to that area of Christendom under papal supremacy. It is somewhat similar to the phrases secular world, Jewish world and Islamic world.

Islam

Dunya derives from the root word "dana" that means to bring near. In that sense, "dunya" is "what is brought near". [14] [ page needed ]

Hinduism

Hinduism is an Indian religion and dharma , or a way of life, widely practised in the Indian subcontinent. It includes a number of Indian religious traditions with a loose sense of interconnection, as different from Jainism and Buddhism, and (since medieval and modern times) Islam and Christianity. Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world. [note 1]

See also

Notes

  1. See:
    • Fowler: "probably the oldest religion in the world" (Fowler 1997, p. 1)
    • Klostermaier: The "oldest living major religion" in the world (Klostermaier 2007, p. 1)
    • Kurien: "There are almost a billion Hindus living on Earth. They practice the world's oldest religion..." [15]

Related Research Articles

Being Broad concept encompassing objective and subjective features of reality and existence

In philosophy, being means the material or immaterial existence of a thing. Anything that exists is being. Ontology is the branch of philosophy that studies being. Being is a concept encompassing objective and subjective features of reality and existence. Anything that partakes in being is also called a "being", though often this usage is limited to entities that have subjectivity. The notion of "being" has, inevitably, been elusive and controversial in the history of philosophy, beginning in Western philosophy with attempts among the pre-Socratics to deploy it intelligibly. The first effort to recognize and define the concept came from Parmenides, who famously said of it that "what is-is". Common words such as "is", "are", and "am" refer directly or indirectly to being.

Gnosis is the common Greek noun for knowledge. The term is used in various Hellenistic religions and philosophies. It is best known from Gnosticism, where it signifies a knowledge or insight into humanity’s real nature as divine, leading to the deliverance of the divine spark within humanity from the constraints of earthly existence.

Hesychasm Contemplative prayer in the Eastern Orthodox Church

Hesychasm is a mystical tradition of contemplative prayer in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Based on Jesus's injunction in the Gospel of Matthew that "whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you", hesychasm in tradition has been the process of retiring inward by ceasing to register the senses, in order to achieve an experiential knowledge of God.

Nihilism is the philosophical view that all knowledge and values are baseless; that is, all knowledge lacks a certain basis and all values are subjective. Most commonly, nihilism is presented in the form of existential nihilism, in which life is believed to be without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value. Moral nihilists assert that morality does not exist at all. Nihilism may also take epistemological, ontological, or metaphysical forms, whereby, respectively, knowledge is not possible, or reality does not actually exist.

Cosmos orderly or harmonious system

The cosmos is the Universe. Using the word cosmos rather than the word universe implies viewing the universe as a complex and orderly system or entity; the opposite of chaos. The cosmos, and our understanding of the reasons for its existence and significance, are studied in cosmology – a very broad discipline covering any scientific, religious, or philosophical contemplation of the cosmos and its nature, or reasons for existing. Religious and philosophical approaches may include in their concepts of the cosmos various spiritual entities or other matters deemed to exist outside our physical universe.

Reality is the sum or aggregate of all that is real or existent within a system, as opposed to that which is only imaginary. The term is also used to refer to the ontological status of things, indicating their existence. In physical terms, reality is the totality of a system, known and unknown. Philosophical questions about the nature of reality or existence or being are considered under the rubric of ontology, which is a major branch of metaphysics in the Western philosophical tradition. Ontological questions also feature in diverse branches of philosophy, including the philosophy of science, philosophy of religion, philosophy of mathematics, and philosophical logic. These include questions about whether only physical objects are real, whether reality is fundamentally immaterial, whether hypothetical unobservable entities posited by scientific theories exist, whether God exists, whether numbers and other abstract objects exist, and whether possible worlds exist.

Phenomenology is the philosophical study of the structures of experience and consciousness. As a philosophical movement it was founded in the early years of the 20th century by Edmund Husserl and was later expanded upon by a circle of his followers at the universities of Göttingen and Munich in Germany. It then spread to France, the United States, and elsewhere, often in contexts far removed from Husserl's early work.

In Christian theology, divinization, or theopoesis or theosis, is the transforming effect of divine grace, the spirit of God, or the atonement of Christ. Although it literally means to become divine, or to become god, most Christian denominations do not interpret the doctrine as implying an overcoming of a fundamental metaphysical difference between God and humanity, for example John of the Cross had it: "it is true that its natural being, though thus transformed, is as distinct from the Being of God as it was before".

Glossary of philosophy List of definitions of terms and concepts commonly used in philosophy

This glossary of philosophy is a list of definitions of terms and concepts relevant to philosophy and related disciplines, including logic, ethics, and theology.

<i>Nous</i> The faculty of the human mind necessary for understanding what is true or real

Nous, sometimes equated to intellect or intelligence, is a term from classical philosophy for the faculty of the human mind necessary for understanding what is true or real. English words such as "understanding" are sometimes used, but three commonly used philosophical terms come directly from classical languages: νοῦς or νόος, intellēctus and intellegentia. To describe the activity of this faculty, the word "intellection" is sometimes used in philosophical contexts, as well as the Greek words noēsis and noeîn. This activity is understood in a similar way to the modern concept of intuition.

Martin Heidegger, the 20th-century German philosopher, produced a large body of work that intended a profound change of direction for philosophy. Such was the depth of change that he found it necessary to introduce a large number of neologisms, often connected to idiomatic words and phrases in the German language.

Eastern Orthodox theology is the theology particular to the Eastern Orthodox Church. It is characterized by monotheistic Trinitarianism, belief in the Incarnation of the essentially divine Logos or only-begotten Son of God, a balancing of cataphatic theology with apophatic theology, a hermeneutic defined by a polyvalent Sacred Tradition, a concretely catholic ecclesiology, a robust theology of the person, and a principally recapitulative and therapeutic soteriology.

Aristotelian physics is the form of natural science described in the works of the Greek philosopher Aristotle (384–322 BCE). In his work Physics, Aristotle intended to establish general principles of change that govern all natural bodies, both living and inanimate, celestial and terrestrial – including all motion, quantitative change, qualitative change, and substantial change. To Aristotle, 'physics' was a broad field that included subjects that would now be called the philosophy of mind, sensory experience, memory, anatomy and biology. It constitutes the foundation of the thought underlying many of his works.

Stoicism School of Hellenistic Greek philosophy

Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early 3rd century BC. It is a philosophy of personal ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world. According to its teachings, as social beings, the path to eudaimonia is found in accepting the moment as it presents itself, by not allowing oneself to be controlled by the desire for pleasure or fear of pain, by using one's mind to understand the world and to do one's part in nature's plan, and by working together and treating others fairly and justly.

Macarius of Corinth mystic

Macarius of Corinth [birth name: Macarius Notaras ] was born in Corinth in 1731 and died in Chios in April 1805. St Macarius as Metropolitan bishop of Corinth, was a mystic and spiritual writer who worked to revive and mostly sustain the Orthodox Church under Turkish rule. He is most famous for working with St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain in collecting and compiling the ascetic text of the Philokalia.

Christian contemplation Christian practices which aim at "looking at", "gazing at", "being aware of" God or the Divine

Christian contemplation, from contemplatio, refers to several Christian practices which aim at "looking at", "gazing at", "being aware of" God or the Divine. It includes several practices and theological concepts, and until the sixth century the practice of what is now called mysticism was referred to by the term contemplatio, c.q. theoria.

<i>Theosis</i> (Eastern Christian theology) Likeness to or union with God

Theosis, or deification, is a transformative process whose aim is likeness to or union with God, as taught by the Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches. As a process of transformation, theosis is brought about by the effects of catharsis and theoria. According to Eastern Christian teaching, theosis is very much the purpose of human life. It is considered achievable only through a synergy between human activity and God's uncreated energies.

Contemptus mundi, the "contempt of the world" and worldly concerns, is a theme in the intellectual life of both Classical Antiquity and of Christianity, both in its mystical vein and its ambivalence towards secular life, that figures largely in the Western world's history of ideas. In inculcating a turn of mind that would lead to a state of serenity untrammeled by distracting material appetites and feverish emotional connections, which the Greek philosophers called ataraxia, it drew upon the assumptions of Stoicism and a neoplatonism that was distrustful of deceptive and spurious appearances. In the familiar rhetorical polarity in Hellenic philosophy between the active and the contemplative life, which Christians, who expressly rejected "the World, the Flesh and the Devil", might exemplify as the way of Martha and the way of Mary, contemptus mundi assumed that only the contemplative life was of lasting value and the world an empty shell, a vanity.

Inner-worldly asceticism was characterized by Max Weber in Economy and Society as the concentration of human behavior upon activities leading to salvation within the context of the everyday world.

References

  1. Merriam-webster.com Archived 2009-04-23 at the Wayback Machine
  2. American Heritage Dictionary Archived 2008-05-12 at the Wayback Machine
  3. Orel, Vladimir (2003). A Handbook of Germanic Etymology Leiden: Brill. pg. 462. ISBN   90-04-12875-1.
  4. Record, R (1556). Castle of Knowledge. cited in The Oxford English Dictionary . World, sense 8.
  5. e.g. Sacrobosco (1230). Treatise on the Sphere. trans by Lynn Thorndike, 1949. Archived from the original on 2013-05-19.
  6. World Canonical Texts
  7. Heidegger, Martin (1982). Basic Problems of Phenomenology . Bloomington: Indiana University Press. p.  165. ISBN   0-253-17686-7..
  8. Biletzki, Anat; Matar, Anat (3 March 2014). Zalta, Edward N. (ed.). "Ludwig Wittgenstein". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2016 ed.). Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  9. Heidegger (1982), p. 164.
  10. Hemer, C. J. “Worldly.” Edited by Geoffrey W. Bromiley. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised. Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1979–1988.
  11. Oxford English Dictionary Online. Oxford University Press. 2019 via OED Online.
  12. Contemptus mundi Archived 2011-07-08 at the Wayback Machine
  13. Parish Missions Archived 2011-06-05 at the Wayback Machine
  14. Attas, Islam and Secularism, p.
  15. Kurien, Prema (2006). "Multiculturalism and American Religion: The Case of Hindu Indian Americans". Social Forces. Johns Hopkins University Press. 85 (2): 723–741. doi:10.1353/sof.2007.0015.