The Way of the World

WayOfWorldI spent some time listening to Earth, Wind & Fire. The song was familiar but I was actually trying to find the origin of the phrase “the way of the world”. I finally found a simple explanation. Apparently it means “the manner in which people typically behave or things typically happen”. But no account for who might have started it. There is a book from 1700 with the phrase as a title. I found an obscure website where it equated the phrase with truthfulness.

The reason for my search is that I have found myself saying this quite often of late and am beginning to question why I keep repeating this meme. Somehow when I say “it’s the way of the world” the people who hear it seem to understand me. But as I think about thinking I question even what the words by themselves mean. I do this because I am searching for how we latch on to a label and apply our core concept to it.

Maybe I do this because when I was quite young I stopped speaking. My parents had just brought me to America and had been speaking Russian but began using English instead. It was at a critical stage of my verbal development and I no longer knew what to call anything. Instead I elected to point and grunt.

My concerned parents fearing I had taken a fall and injured my head took me to doctors but they could not find anything physically wrong with me. These same doctors suggested that I was confused by the change in language and told my parents to expose me to all the English possible. So they bought me both a radio and a TV and had me listen and watch as much as possible. Soon I began to speak English. However I did so with an announcer’s accent!

There was also a movie by that title and its available on DVD for the curious. Another blog I found equates the phrase with “Whatever!”. For me it just means that is how it is. Regardless of how it should be one needs to accept things as we find them. For that is the way of the world.