Prepositions of the World

October 05, 2006

Benjamin Franklin wrote, "Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes." His practical wisdom provides us with nourishment for our curiosity and a twinkling of insight into our lives even today. A few years before Franklin, in 1637, Rene Descartes searched for and finally coined a phrase that could not be disputed. In an effort to eliminate doubt, he wrote "Cogito Ergo Sum," or "I think therefore I am." Conclusively, both men used their experiences in mind and in the world to cast shadows over certainty as well as defend it.

In the world
The majority of us function quite well in the world. We comfortably move through our days with routines and expectations and thrive on our relationship to others, also in the world. We integrate ourselves into society and join in, much like a radish in a tossed salad - still singularly distinct, yet part of the greater whole. We look for our place in the world, and once we discover the niche for our life, we complacently enjoy the participatory aspects and live in our worlds sometimes seamlessly, and with any luck, purposefully.

By the world
We may choose to live "by the book" or "by the beach" and either way, we experience our existence "by the world." We can't experience life on another planet (as of this writing) and our revolving mass around the Sun represents more than just water and earth and a place to live out our little blip in time. Living "by the world" infers our constraints as dictated by the limitations of our society, the small belief systems in place and the innuendos of "you can't do that" instead of the broader, "why not?" Whereas living "by" or "next to" the world opens up potentials not yet entertained.

For the world
Throughout history, we learned of and admired those who set aside their own needs and desires for the benefit of the world in general. Not just martyrs, gifted people created, invented, healed because they must, in spite of their personal struggles and aspirations. Thomas Edison lived for the world through his inventions (over 1,000 patents) and continues today to impact our daily lives through the illumination of our spirits. Leonardo DaVinci lived for the world by presenting ideas which challenged and mystified his Renaissance contemporaries, and he also brought beauty to the world through his art. In some ways we all live for the world when we set our present state of mind aside to contribute our gifts to the world at large.

With the world
Like either the piccolo or the double-bass, our lives resonate with the world, harmonically. We welcome cycles of the tides, yin and yang, and embrace the dynamics of the change in season. We live with the world when we recognize that all creatures also living with the world, serve a purpose in the circle of life and all organic matter, however finite in supply, remains constant as part of the world. Science teaches us matter cannot be destroyed, merely transformed, so for the duration of our lives, we gladly move in unison with the world, metamorphosing as necessary.

To the world
Perhaps the most confounding preposition with respect to our relationship with the world, living to the world assumes both our role as part of the world and as a spiritual being projecting energy. Living "to" implies we exist somewhere out there and merely visit the planet for our temporary existence. While over thousands of years, many world religions embraced the philosophies of both pre-and post life on earth, sometimes our living "in" the world prevents us from seeing how we live "to" the world. We could envision ourselves as the world sees us, either insignificant or with roaring impact. Once we step outside of our concept of "all I am is this earthly body," we clearly understand that our progress effects the world from both inside and out of the understood planes of existence.

As the world
Once we grasp the belief that we function on many levels of awareness, we embrace and incorporate the nature of the world around us. We see the little nuances of our daily lives as reflections of the larger forest of earthly phenomenon. We understand the intricacy of nature and society by observing insects, animals, plants and the earth's sometime violent growing pains. When we live as the world, we accept the floods and hurricanes of life as well as the sunshine and warm breezes and scents of spring. Our very human nature parallels our world - the physical world, the mental and spiritual worlds, too. When we function as the world, we complete our cycles peacefully.

Making your mark on the world through history or merely by picking up litter, we enrich our experience of life when we distinguish the many tentacles of our existence. We are one soul, one person, one energy, expressing through worldly prepositions and with certainty, we dispel the doubt of our raison d'être.


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