4

Under these baffling conditions there is no thorough discussion of the world outlook whatever, anywhere.

The New World Order, by H.G. Wells

I interpret the "world outlook" as "world state". Am I right? Or what does the author mean by it?

My other question is, what does "whatever" mean here?

The full text of the paragraph (with the above sentence highlighted) is:

Publishers publish for nothing but safe profits; it would astound a bookseller to tell him he was part of the world's educational organisation or a publisher's traveller, that he existed for any other purpose than to book maximum orders for best sellers and earn a record commission—letting the other stuff, the highbrow stuff and all that, go hang. They do not understand that they ought to put public service before gain. They have no inducement to do so and no pride in their function. Theirs is the morale of a profiteering world. Newspapers like to insert brave-looking articles of conventional liberalism, speaking highly of peace and displaying a noble vagueness about its attainment; now we are at war they will publish the fiercest attacks upon the enemy--because such attacks are supposed to keep up the fighting spirit of the country; but any ideas that are really loudly and clearly revolutionary they dare not circulate at all. Under these baffling conditions there is no thorough discussion of the world outlook whatever, anywhere. The democracies are only a shade better than the dictatorships in this respect. It is ridiculous to represent them as realms of light at issue with darkness.

—From Project Gutenberg

1
  • 1
    Hi and welcome to Literature SE. The question would be easier to answer if you provided some context; it's hard to say what Wells means in this one sentence without knowing what leads up to it.
    – verbose
    May 29 at 8:04
3

The word "outlook" has several meanings, but the ones that are most relevant here are the third and fourth meaning in Wiktionary:

  1. An attitude or point of view.
  2. Expectation for the future.

We can find examples of the third meaning in phrases and book titles such as the Buddhist world outlook, the scientific world outlook, Soviet World Outlook and The World Outlook of the Bible. This describes a specific way of looking at the world or a specific attittude towards it.

We can find an example of the fourth meaning in the title of the book Oil Substitution: World Outlook to 2020 (published in 1983).

In a way, Wells compares two world outlooks in the paragraph cited in the question: one that is oriented towards profit versus one that cares about the public interest. Wells argued for the establishment of a socialistic and scientifically planned world government, which would stand in stark contrast to the profit-oriented world that he criticises. Based on this, "world outlook" can be interpreted as a way of looking at the world that allows people to see that a change in the social and political order is necessary. See especially the phrase "any ideas that are really loudly and clearly revolutionary they dare not circulate at all", which seems to refer to the kinds of ideas that would be necessary to create the "new world order" he has in mind.

The New World Order was published in 1940, inspired by the outbreak of outbreak of World War II. Wells may also be thinking about what the (then) dominant world outlook was leading to, in the sense of Wiktionary's fourth meaning of "outlook". This meaning cannot be entirely discarded here.

The phrase, "no (...) discussion (...) whatever" means "no discussion at all". The addition of "whatever" is intended to strengthen the statement. See the second meaning of "whatever" in Wiktionary:

  1. (dated, postpositive) At all, absolutely, whatsoever.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.