More thoughts on ‘world worth’

Recently, I have spoken of what I called ‘world worth’ (see my article “More thoughts on “the male exodus” – the importance of a world that is worth the effort or ‘world worth’“).  This is a reference to an association between a person and the world.  To be more specific, it refers to the world being worthwhile to associate with.  In general, it is a ‘male thing’ and tends to reflect male psychology.  So far I’ve seen no trace of it in females.

‘World worth’ describes some interesting points:

  • It is an association between a person and the world.
  • It states that the world is something that needs to ‘draw us in’.  In other words, just because its there does not mean that we automatically want to associate with it.
  • The world needs to ‘do something’.
  • We also need to ‘do something’.

In effect, ‘world worth’ describes a situation where a persons association with the world is based in the fact that both must ‘do something’ to as if ‘draw each other in’ In this way, an association is created between the person and the world.  This describes a mutual association with each other.  In this sense, one could say that it describes the world as if it were someone who we ‘associate with’.  In this way, the world as if becomes a ‘person’.  As a result, we have many experiences with the world that are not unlike the experiences we have with other people:

  • We have a ‘love affair’ with the world.
  • We grow to hate the world.
  • We grow tired of the world.
  • We get disgusted with the world.

In other words, all the myriad feelings we feel with an association with another person we feel with the world.  In this way, the world as if ‘comes alive’ and lives for us, assuming that we give it its worth and associate with it.


This point of view tends to be different from the standard modern perception of associating with the world which tends to describe the world as ‘dead’ or ‘inanimate’.  This makes it so that one cannot ‘associate with the world as it is dead’.  This is one of the reasons why the modern point of view creates a degraded world relationship.  This is what I see nowadays.  In the world that I was brought up in the world is treated as something that’s just ‘there’ and something that we ‘use’.  I call this the ‘abandon-the-world point of view’.   It tends to do things such as:

  • Being that the world is ‘dead’ it makes it so that the individual person is all that’s left.  This is the ‘individual-only perspective’.  The world is inanimate and only important in relation to how it affects us.
  • The absence of a living world creates a particular type of loneliness.   This can be described as ‘world loneliness’.  In short, the emphasis on the individual person, as a result of the ‘deadening’ of the world, makes us all alone in the world . . . we’re the only ones there.

With this point of view the world often seems remote and distance.  This is particularly surprising as these people often tend to glorify being ‘in the world’, doing things like fishing, camping, mountain climbing, and such.  But, if one looks closer one can see that one of the traits of this point of view is that they primarily emphasize ‘doing things’, of some activity that THEY do . . . not an association with the world.  Its interesting to note that people who have ‘world worth’ tend to not do this.  This is because the emphasis is on the association, not on what they do.


But what all this shows is that there is an association that takes place and that it affects the person.  Its as important, and significant, as any other association we may have, perhaps the most important association we will ever have.  It describes the association between two main elements in life:

  1. A person.
  2. The world.

It describes this association as a very “real” and “legitimate” one, one that should not be looked on lightly.  In many ways, ‘world worth’ describes the effectiveness of this association . . . the more valuable the association the more worthIn that way, it is not necessarily saying that the world, by itself, has worth but that worth originates from the association between the two elements.


This association, though, is not a simple thing but something that has many forms and qualities.  There are two main forms of its association:

  1. Passive world worth.  This refers to taking what’s “given” or what the person or world naturally offers.
  2. Active world worth.   This refers to that part of the association that is created by the person, or world, of “making the association worth something”.

In other words, both of these described a particular quality that each element ‘gives’ to the association.  In actuality, for any ‘world worth’ both elements must give something in some way and in varying proportions.  Any situation where one or the other is dominant degrades ‘world worth’.  This shows that ‘world worth’ is a mutual collaboration, one that requires the participation of both parties both actively and passively.

There are a number of conditions in which ‘world worth’ is created.  These include:

  • What is given by the world or person.  If the person or world gives little then there tends to be little ‘world worth’.
  • What is created by the person.  In many ways, ‘world worth’ is something that is created by the person.  Its an act of creation . . . some one ‘makes it’ . . . it doesn’t just appear on its own.  Because of this, if there is no creation then there tends to be little ‘world worth’.
  • What is found by the person.  ‘World worth’ seems to be something that is often ‘found’.  That is to say, we discover it.  To put it another way, its not “immediately obvious”.  As a result, there is generally a searching for it.  This shows that ‘world worth’ is something that is ‘opened up to us’, a great revealing.  Its this condition that makes ‘world worth’ an ongoing and active thing, something that we must continually find all our lives.
  • What is transformed by the association.  For ‘world worth’ to have worth to us, as people, then it must have a transforming quality.  That is to say, it must change us and turn us into different people.  In this way, without transformation there is no ‘world worth’ regardless of what we do. 

When ‘world worth’ is not created or found there is a natural tendency to ‘world worth depression’, meaning that, if it is not discovered, for whatever reason, we tend to lose ‘world worth’.  That is, ‘world worth’ goes into a ‘depression’ or failure.  In some respects, one could say that life is nothing but trying to avoid the ‘world worth depression’.  We are continually fighting it.

Specific acts of discovering ‘world worth’ comes in a number of ways:

  • By experience.
  • By learning and being taught.
  • By ones ability.
  • By participation.
  • By ones failings.

One can see that ‘world worth’ is rooted in many aspects of life.  That is to say, there are more than one way but its only natural that we tend to follow the path best suited to us and our character.  Because of this, each one of us finds tends to try to find a path that works best for us.  For some people, this consists of many different qualities.  For other people, it is only a few.  This tends to lead to many forms of ‘world worth’ and many manifestations in how it appears in different people.


The healthy association with the world creates a deeper sense of ‘world worth’.  In so doing, the perception of the world (and, subsequently, of ones self) changes as a result.  It creates things such as:

  • There is a sense of sanctity.  In many ways, this sanctity shows this association has become deep and is, therefore, ‘beyond us’.
  • The world is viewed as ‘alive’ or as a living person.  This is best portrayed in the sense of ‘god’.  Its not uncommon for people to “speak to the world” as a result.  In many ways, this is prayer.
  • There develops a strong sense of ones self.  As the relationship grows one perceives a stronger sense of self and a self-in-the-world.  This is because one see’s ones self as a participant in life.

A significant aspect of ‘world worth’ is based in projection of ones self.  That is to say, one projects themselves onto the world which, in effect, makes the world a part of themselves.  This makes it so that the world is perceived as an extension of ones self.  One of the effects of this is that projection makes it so that our association with the world often becomes an ‘association with ones self’.  What this shows is that there are actually several different ways of associating with the world:

  1. The world as a separate entity . . . no projection.
  2. The world as an extension of ourselves . . . projection.

This gives our association with the world a varied quality.  In effect, it can range from associating with something separate from ourselves to an association with ourselves.  In this way, its like a demonstration of the great spectrum of associations.  This makes it so that the world becomes a great platform for life.  It becomes the platform for all levels of associations that we are capable of having.  Because of this, our association of the world is not only critical in our life but revealing about who we are.  To make the world ‘dead’ is, in many ways, like killing our association with life. 


As we grow older the image of the world changes.  As a result of this, we have to change to this changing condition.  Generally, as children, the world seems ‘all one’, as a single entity.  The world is ‘alive’ and we live in it.  As we grow older various things like experience, disapointments, frustrations, etc. tend to destroy that image.  As a result, the world tends to divide, primarily into two qualities:

  1. The ‘actual image of the world’.  This is the world ‘as is’, as it appears.  Oftentimes, this is associated with emotions like frustration and disappointment showing that these emotions created the division.  In other words, emotions like these help destroy the ‘one world’ of our childhood.
  2. The ‘mystical image of the world’.  This is a deeper sense of the world, that there is ‘more’.  In actuality, this is nothing but a continuation of the world of our childhood.

To live in the ‘actual image of the world’ is to see a ‘dead world’ and, subsequently, a low ‘world worth’.  In general, it appears that the ‘mystical image of the world’ is what actually creates a healthy ‘world worth’.  As we grow older this often seems to become particularly important.  But the ‘mystical image of the world’ cannot become healthy by itself . . . it has to be ‘tempered’ by the ‘actual image of the world’.  As a result, a ‘healthy world worth’ has to entail a balance between the two images.  But, the condition of life makes it so that these two images appear, at times, to contradict each other, or at least conflict with each other.  This can create great conflict and despair for some people.  Oftentimes, it will force a person to have to choose between three things:

  1. Having to choose which image of the world to follow while abandoning the other.
  2. Going into despair.
  3. Finding a reconciliation between the two.

This is a common choice guys have to make sometime in their life.  In some respects, it is a part of ‘male growth and development’.  In this way, we could very well call this the ‘male image of the world dilemma’.  The choice they make will depend a lot on many factors such as their character, their culture, their convictions, previous example, and so on.

The third choice is, by far, the rarest choice made nowadays.  My observation is that most guys will take one of the first two choices.  Some may even bounce around in their lives.  But, more importantly, the choice they make, and how they live as a result, is a determining factor in ‘world worth’.  As a result of this, this choice made as a result of this dilemma is very critical in the development of ‘world worth’. 

My observation is that the path that creates the best ‘world worth’ is reconciliation.  That is to say, the blending of the two images of the world and making them both ‘work’.  This can be quite difficult, though.  This seems to be because there becomes a battle between two elements:

  1. The culture/society.
  2. The individual.

This battle has many forms and manifestations.  What it shows, basically, is that there is a battle between the individual-in-relation-to-society . . .  what works for the society doesn’t work for the individual and what works for the individual doesn’t work for society.  This creates a specific dilemma for the male, of himself against society.  This, also, is a battle many males face in their lifetimes, some more than others.  Its so common that we could call it the ‘male-versus-society dilemma’.  Typically, the male must fight it out alone here.  There’s no one to help him.  In many ways, its this dilemma that helps him learn to be a person and have a self.  Accordingly, how the male deals with this dilemma greatly affects his view of himself, society, and ‘world worth’. 

So we see that the changing image of the world sets in motions various dilemma’s that the male must confront in order to maintain, and keep, a healthy ‘world worth’.


It seems to me, that the male needs to have two worlds in order to have ‘world worth’:

  1. A world with the female
  2. A world without the female

Both of these are required and they both must be separate or removed from each other, treated as separate entities.  I spoke of an aspect of this in my article “Thoughts on “male suffocation” – the need for the male to be away from the female – a unique character trait in the male“.  The presence of the female has both a beneficial and harming effect on the male.  Too much of the female tends to suffocate the male, hindering his growth, and subsequently undermining his image of ‘world worth’.  As a result, the male needs to have a world away from the female to avoid this.


Many people suffer from problems of ‘world worth’.  We all suffer from these problems at least to some extent in our life.  As I said above, one could say that life is nothing but a continual battle against ‘world worth depression’ or, in other words, life is a continual battle to continually find ‘world worth’. It is not something that “just happens”.  In some respects, ‘world worth’ has to be ‘earned’ or ‘fought for’.

 As part of this process we have periods of success and periods of failure.  In fact, we need failure probably more than success.  In many cases, its through our failures that the full reality and value of ‘world worth’ is found.  As a result, appreciating our failures is often a sign of great ‘world worth’.

In addition, ‘world worth’ changes through the years.  As a general rule, we tend to see this pattern:

  • Our early years – we are creative, giving much ‘life’ to the world and, in general, a healthy association and ‘world worth’.
  • Our middle years – conflicts, failures, dissapointments, successes, etc. tend to create a ‘wavering’ of ‘world worth’.  In short, we feel threatened by its potential failure.  There develops the splitting of the image of the world with its resulting conflicts, as described above.
  • Our older years – we tend to lean toward finding a ‘world worth’, ‘holding on’ to meager ‘world worth’, we are ‘in the process of losing’ it, or we don’t have it.  Our later years, it seems to me, tend to reveal if we have attained a ‘world worth’.

This shows that the natural process of aging tends to cause various conflicts and dilemmas with each era or stage of life.

One of the things that tends to degrade ‘world worth’ are alienation and dehumanization.  The reason for this is simple:  they tend to degrade the self.  Since ‘world worth’ is strongly rooted in the self, anything that disrupts the self tends to disrupt, and often destroys, ‘world worth’.  As a result, a condition that tends to cause a low ‘world worth’ tends to be indicative of a condition that undermines the self.  Dehumanization and alienation is one of those conditions but anything that undermines the self tends to affect ‘world worth’.


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

This entry was posted in Dehumanization and alienation, Life in general, Philosophy, Psychology and psychoanalysis, The male and female and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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