World

Author: joe

Tuesday, 07 February, 2012 - 22:13

The world I mean is the one which allows me to say of myself or others, that we are worldly, or that we are men of the world, or that we know something of the way of the world. It is a world that has mood and colour, it has a certain underlying sort of flavour - a complexity below the many notes which is nevertheless its own. It is the sort of world that one could imagine being otherwise, if one wanted, in a daydream or moment of wishing.

I know too that the world has been otherwise, or at least that it evolves, and unevenly: I suspect it has always been a world in which dark air has brooded over rivers as the cities of civilisations have come and gone from their shores; but the world in which genetic structures are unlocked is a different one from the world in which humours are put into a different balance, or the world in which burnt entrails appease the angry gods. There are even worlds within worlds - the specific worlds of peoples, cultures, crafts, enterprises, knowledge, language, projects - each is an opening, intervening in the wider unfolding world.

We see the world and its long slow changeability when we put our minds to it. When we do not, though, it disappears - in fact it is always disappearing, or at least sublimating somehow so that it becomes transparent. Its invisibility and concealment is what allows me to rely on it silently. There is something imperturbable about the inaccessible depths that constantly burgeon in the world. The flavour and ethos recede into that background, but nevertheless continue to give their tones to my absorption in living a life.

The life I'm living is also a world - my world - but it comes after the outer world. That larger world is a shared one, and the commons of that wider world are the heritage that nurture my own. Far from being alone and locked in a single lonely realm, never to join or merge with the spaces of others, my own world is a borrowed one which pays its debt in kind. Only in the effort of putting the mind to the task, do I find myself in my own individual cosmos: soon enough, as I reabsorb myself into the business of being alive, the worlds of my self, and those around me, the worlds of commerce and pleasure, the world encompassing them all, merge back within one seamless horizon - changed somehow.

Categories: world, Heidegger,
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