In its most basic sense, the word “world” denotes the totality of realities, including all other entities existing in parallel with human beings. The nature of this world is usually conceptualized in different ways in different disciplines. Some conceptions view the world as relatively independent and static while others speak of a “plurality of worlds” in which different domains or subsets of the same world co-exist simultaneously with human beings. In a more sophisticated level, world is also defined by reference to the intelligible realm, especially the realm of pure knowledge. Most philosophers define the world further on these grounds.
According to most philosophical and religious traditions, the entire universe and life on earth are ruled by forces operating through intelligent minds. The fundamental laws of physics indicate that the earth is round, the center of the universe is in the sun, and human beings are insignificant compared to this plane of existence. The history of philosophy goes back to the time when the idea of universe was first conceived by the ancient Greek demigods. From these accounts, it appears that the original inhabitants of this planet were not less than animals. Hence, the word “dog” can be derived from the animal kingdom while the term “earth” can be derived from the elemental realm of nature.
Aristotle argued that there is no fixed form for the universe apart from a spherical earth and that different nations differ in their physical characteristics owing to their geographic locations. This idea prompted the rise of the idea of separate spheres of influence (dwarves, air, fire, earth and water) and the concept of separate spheres of influence (elements). The idea of separate spheres of influence gave way to the concept of distinct classes of inhabitants, with the human race being the only exception. Human beings are the only inhabitants of the earth who are considered to be part of a class of animals.
In medieval times, the idea of the earth and human beings as separate entities was opposed by the belief that the earth is a machine and that there are other things upon it (lodestone, etc.). It was against this notion that Thomas Hobbes wrote one of his most famous works, the metaphysics of nature. According to him, humans are one single body and are ruled over by a single supreme power. To this power, all other bodies were ruled and all other aspects of nature were ruled as well.
A more metaphysical view on the matter is expressed by Sigmund Freud. He denied the existence of a planet or sphere of earth, arguing that the entire globe was not constructed by living beings. To him, human beings are a special breed of animal, completely different from all other animals. Freud’s concept of the Oedipal Complex is associated with an interpretation of how children experience the pain of separation from their parents that leads them to form an imaginary world where their parents are bodily parts of that world, and from which they later wish to reunite with their parents.
In recent years, however, a different school of thought has taken hold. Believing that the universe consists of three basic planes, each plane having its own sphere of influence, New Age theorists think that to understand the world we must look to our own experience in it. Theory of the world according to this school holds that the two words world and human being are not independent but are instead dependent. When we say the words world or human being, we mean both words simultaneously, as if the two words are one and the same thing.