Living in small-worlds – How our minds create the size of our world

When we talk about the world, we talk about a globe with people on it. We talk about continents, countries, cities, and people. However, continents and countries are just man-made concepts of a world. There are more ants, plants, and trees than humans in the world. So about what do we decide to talk, when we talk about “the world”? Our individual minds influence our point of view. In this blog I will talk about your own world. The world from your mind. Sometimes your world can be very tiny, while sometimes our world changes with where you are, “your daily world”. Furthermore, I will talk about the perception of the world between people. And lastly, I will talk about the real world. Is there one?

Flow; a world with only you in it
Imagine you are on the dance floor. The music is playing nicely while you are dancing with it. There are many people around you dancing in the crowded club. Suddenly you see your crush gazing at you from the other side of the dance floor. She comes towards you. Her beauty is hovering across the dance floor towards you while all the others evade her beauty. She is just focused on you, only on you. She gets close, you see her closing her eyes slowly when she almost touches you. You know it. You close your eyes. You kiss. At these moments, the world is all about you or you are not with the world. While kissing, you don’t care about politics, about the threatening war, about the well-being of others, the sick people in the world, or whether sugar is bad for you or not. When you close your eyes during a passionate kiss, the world around you is gone. It is just you in the moment. This is the state of flow; being heavily engaged in the moment. Flow is, being in the now, where the future and past fade from your (perceptual) existence (read more about flow).

Your daily world
Moments of flow never last. When you exit your flow-state, your larger world emerges in your mind again. Your job, house, friends, emerge in your memory and you are back in the “real” world.  This is the world you are living in. Your home is the world you (probably) know the best. Between these walls you can do whatever you want, you are the king within your home. You make up the rules and you decide what’s important (if you are old enough though). At your work, at your school, your supermarket, or cinema, you are in different worlds. Each world has their own purpose and therefore, different rules apply in each world. We are so used to these rules and purposes that we hardly notice them. When we visit different countries we notice several differences quite easily because we aren’t used to them. But within our own worlds we are used to the rules, thus they fade from our consciousness. Together, you have internalized each “sub” world into your identity. Moreover, you hear people talk often about “their” supermarket, or their company although it’s not theirs (of course). We merged the worlds together into our identity and are living in them without a thought. This is your world. One of the words I like in the Dutch language is “weg”, what translates to “road”. In Dutch, “weg” also means “gone” (Ik ben weg = I’m road = I’m gone). So in the old days, when someone took the road, he was just gone. Gone from your world, like he didn’t exist anymore.

The scale-free worlds between people
The world is quite a perceptual thing. There is a story of a tribe in the Pacific ocean which was excluded from the main land, they didn’t know about our “world”. They just lived on their island in peace. Until one day, a jet fighter flew over. This must have been a crazy unnatural thing for these natives. This jet fighter was truly a UFO, their proof that aliens existed. Although we can kind of laugh about these native people, I believe that our minds aren’t that different from theirs. I live in a middle-sized town in the Northern of the Netherlands called “Groningen”. This town is huge deal of my existence but I keep forgetting how unimportant this city is compared to the larger cities or compared to similar sized cities. In each village, city, or country in the world there are similar minded people thinking the same of their “world”. I believe that on each scale, the world is kind of the same size. Consider a mother who stays at home taking care of her family. For her, the house is her world, and cleaning and serving food for the family are the most important things in her world. If you think about this, you could imagine that complaining about her dish is sometimes a huge struggle for her. For a manager at an international energy company, energy is the most important thing within his world, how could a country live without energy? In our minds we have a certain capacity to care about stuff, and once we are emerged in one world, we’ll see the details within this world that keep us occupied. The house mothers’ world only invests into the “tiniest” world, dedicated to cleaning and cooking perfected meals, while she is hardly aware of the international world around her. And on the other side, there is the international energy manager who is submerged in the world of international energy, while hardly spending time on the “smaller” world. This shows, that everyone lives in his/her own world in which each of us cares about specific things. These things can differ immensely between people. Nevertheless, I believe that world leaders perceive to have roughly the same problems as housemothers, but just on a different scale. Both the world leaders and the housemothers need to make several decisions which they get feedback on, albeit from civilians or from their family, and I think both matter just as much to each respected party.

Is this the best point of view to describe the world?

What is the real world?
Until now, I discussed the worlds that were depended on the perception of individuals. Worlds that form around the thoughts of a person. However, you live in a larger world, an outer world that doesn’t require you (harshly put). This is often how we think about the world. But still, when we view the world from space, we see the world through our subjective perceptions. A geologist will talk about the tectonic plates, a nationalist will talk about the countries, and a biologist about the animals of earth. Furthermore, viewing earth from the ground, from the sky, or from space results in a way different description. Maybe the real world can’t offer no description, because it is just everything there is. It won’t provide you answers, because it is everywhere around you. As soon as it will say something, it falls short on everything it didn’t say. The real world has no perception, it just is. It’s everything, and that is quite incomprehensible (because we deal with our perception). I realize that this paragraph became quite philosophical. And although I’m not a formal philosopher, I like to think about it. It makes me wonder whether everything with a mind is even real, because they don’t show or are able to think about reality. I will get back to this in another blog.

99% of our time we spend through thinking using our own minds. And it is no question that most of our thoughts are self-related. We live in our world, that can be small as your own your mind. The other people, the animals, the plants, the continents, and space are most of the time out of our sight, thus out of our mind, thus out of our world. Nevertheless, the things we care about within the world differ between people, although each personal world is quite similar across different scales. From a human perception there is no one world. And I question, whether something objectively can explain what the real world is. Perception is strong, it makes us manipulate reality. Thus, we need to realize that our minds have no clear view on reality, and on our world. Although, no one has a clear view, learning about statistics of the world can make us get a more “objective” view on the world. There is much more than our own perception.

Leave a Reply

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.