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As I describe in the question title I want to know the meaning of the phrase highlighted in the following quotation from the 5 August 2012 blog of author Edward Hersh:

Look around you. Wherever you live, whatever circle of society you are part of, you will notice that the vast majority of people live in the world without. Those who are more enlightened, however, are intensely involved with the world within. They realize—as you will, too—that the world within creates the world without.

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closed as general reference by FumbleFingers, MετάEd, tchrist, RegDwigнt Aug 26 '12 at 4:12

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
I just added the whole paragraph. Can somebody to help me now ? Thanks a lot :) –  Merianos Nikos Aug 25 '12 at 12:31
    
@MerianosNikos- at the risk of being persnickety, the word is "phrase" not "phraze", even though the sound is certainly /z/, a voiced silibant. –  mac389 Aug 25 '12 at 12:37
    
What is the reason of downvoting that question ? –  Merianos Nikos Aug 25 '12 at 12:39
    
Your original question was «As I describe in the question title I cannot get the meaning of that following phraze: ¶ Vast majority of people live in the world without ¶ Can anybody help me ?». I didn't downvote but imagine that because you quoted only a small fragment and didn't provide a source and showed no research effort you got downvoted. Had you provided a source, people could have looked up the context. Better, providing the context in the question makes the question more complete and the answer more obvious. –  jwpat7 Aug 25 '12 at 15:20

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I can see two interpretations of the quote depending on which meaning of "without" is intended.

  1. If "without" means lacking and assumes that a word after "without" is missing, then the phrase means something like "Wherever you go someone always has fewer things than you." or "There is always someone worse off than you." or "You don't have it that bad."
  2. If "without" means "outside", then the phrase means something more abstruse like "The real world is something that most people never reach." or "Most people never truly enter the world." or "Most people are not present in the moment."

The second interpretation seems less likely, unless this comes from something such as a mystic's journal.

EDIT: @StoneyB is right on. Stylistically, using "without" to mean "outside" and contrast with within is an older usage. It's found in older works and can make a modern work sound older.

Given the added context, I interpret the quote to mean that "most people are focused on the evidence or consequences of a "good" life (a.k.a world without) but not the real means to get there". The sentiment is akin to saying most people watch late-night infomercials about AB-Blasters. Fewer people hit the gym long enough to actually get those toned abs.

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Thanks a lot @mac389 –  Merianos Nikos Aug 25 '12 at 12:39
    
Edited @StoneyB –  mac389 Aug 25 '12 at 19:06

Note: This is a General Reference question, easily answered by any dictionary worthy of the name.


The full quote is:

Look around you. Wherever you live, whatever circle of society you are part of, you will notice that the vast majority of people lives in the world without. Those who are more enlightened, however, are intensely involved with the world within. They realize—as you will, too—that the world within creates the world without.

Here, the words within and without are being used as modifiers following the nouns they modify and respectively meaning inside and outside.

So “the world within” simply means “the inside world”, and “the world without” simply means “the outside world”.

A dictionary would have explained this sense of without. The OED gives this use as the first of all of them for without. Here is a sampling of relevant senses:

I. Outside, in various senses: opp. to within adv. Now only literary and somewhat arch.

  1. On the outside or outer surface (of a material thing); externally.
  2. a. Outside (or out of) the place mentioned or implied; esp. outside the house or room; out of doors.
    b. transf. Outside of a class, body, or community; not in the number or membership; in an alien or foreign community. those (that are) without = ‘outsiders’. Now only in echoes of 1 Cor. v. 12.
  3. fig. and gen. Outside of the inward being, soul, or mind; with regard to external actions or circumstances; in relation to others or to something other than the self; sometimes, in outward appearance as opposed to inward reality; outwardly.
  4. Used absol. by ellipsis of obj., in opposition to within (or in) prep., where it has the appearance of an adv.
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