To describe a man who’s the epitome of men, some people use the phrase: a man’s man. This is a compliment just like the phrase: a man of the world.
Yet, the second compliment doesn’t work in the same way. It describes a person as not the epitome of the world but rather the representation of the world’s “finer” qualities. It’s a phrase used to augment the intellectual and nuanced, witty and warm, charismatic and creative man. Yet, one can restructure the phrase to say “the world’s man,” which evokes either the same meaning or one of being grounded, of being base.
This restructuring almost seems to resembles the phrase: a worldly man, and going with the definition of worldly, which is “pertaining to the world,” I could say that these phrases are the same things wearing different clothes. However, I’ve found that the third phrase weakens the insulting notion of baseness but strengthens a tertiary notion: one of delusion.
“You’re a man of the world, aren’t you Leonardo?” says Sancho. “Yes, in fact, the world celebrates my art. I’m the world’s man, aren’t I?” He replies “Well, I am certain about this: you yourself are a worldly man.”
All possess the same notions with varying degrees, and all depend on the speaker. Generally, the first would be a compliment which intensifies the delusion of what is good, bad, smart, stupid (it is used to distinguish the illustrious from the ordinary) while the third would be a critique on that delusion (it is used to attack the illustrious, lowering them to the “ordinary.”
This is some insight that I’ve found meditating, and I hope the subtle difference is not just a subjective one. Ask questions if you disagree or are confused, and consider following the blog for future analyses.