Where Does the World Begin and End?

In its most simple sense, the word “world” actually denotes the totality of existent entities, to which all other entities belong, is and would be simultaneously, and is not necessarily exclusive. The nature of this world is therefore conceptualized differently in various disciplines. Some conceptions view the world as independent, while some speak of a “plurality of worlds”. In colloquial use, however, the word world is used to refer to the entire cosmos in which everything is contained, such that there is no distinction between the external world and the inner world, for example. Sometimes, “word” is used in place of “world”, as in the statement “The world is round”.


Another illustration of the usage of the word world is in mathematics. When speaking of the orbit of an object around the sun, for instance, the term world is sometimes preceded by the word earth. Earth is often preceded by the word “space” or “universe” when speaking of the abstract sphere of space-time, whereas it is sometimes used in place of “thing” or “being” with reference to objects existing outside of the earth, such as in the description of the solar system.

In quantum physics, two words are often used to describe the world, although they do not have the same meaning. The world’s mean and infinite energy are described by an ambiguous term called the “photon” in units of Planck’s constant. Other expressions in this area are the “class” of the electron, the “field” of neutral matter, and the “virtual space” or “substance”. These two words, as well as their use as adjectives, often describe the world, although they do not have the same meaning for every single individual.

A distinction is often made between the word earth and the word human. It is sometimes difficult to decide which is which. Some people believe that the earth is nothing more than an extension of our physical world, while others think that humans are a part of the world and take a part in its affairs. While it is impossible to say with any certainty that the world and humans are one in substance, it is most often used as an adjective to describe the activities of beings within the physical domain. Therefore, for instance, “The earth is flat”, “The earth moves on its own” and “A man standing on the moon” all describe reality as seen through the human eye.

On the other hand, the word earth can be used as a noun, indicating a part of the cosmos where things exist by means of earth’s atmosphere. It is frequently used in science fiction novels as the term for the surface on which the sun orbits. While it is very unlikely that such a word would ever become part of everyday language, it is very common. For example, “A hot air balloon floating high above the earth above Los Angeles” describes a condition rather than a location. The phrases “on the surface of the earth” and “at the surface of the earth” are very popular words that indicate different locations or aspects of reality.

In the case of the comic-book world, the term world is often preceded by the word superhero. For instance, Superman is often called the “Man of Steel,” or the “World’s Mightiest Kid.” Similarly, when a television show or movie mentions superpowers, the language will often precede the element. For example, “The Hulk is a giant green monster with gamma ray powers.” Thus, the world might be described as the world of superheroes, or the world of superpowers.