Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Upside Down & Inside Out

So a friend posted on FB today about the map thing -- how the Mercatur map I grew up with is inaccurate to the point that it makes Greenland and Africa look virtually the same when Africa is many times the size of Greenland.  If you're a fan, you may remember  this scene from the television series West Wing.

It was a learning moment for me to see the adjustments needed to make our maps more accurate.  But the biggest 'get' was with the idea of turning the map 'upside down' (or more accurately, inverting it -- there really is no 'up' side when it comes to representations of a sphere like the earth, is there?).

But that was the point -- at least for me:  I was understanding the mere flip of a map to make everything 'upside down' when all that happened was the flip of a page.

Have you ever wrestled a road map while trying to find your way?  My own paper-scrunching-folding efforts always lead to me turning the paper a full 360, trying to find the perfect way to view the representation before me so that I can make sense of it.  And isn't that all a map really is?  A way to make sense of the larger world it represents?

I keep hearing folks talking about 'thinking outside the box' as if there actually is a box to think outside of.  There is no box.  And flipping the map does not make the world upside down.

We have to have structures in order to make sense of our world, or so I'm told.  How to prevent the structures created for our convenience from becoming our governing truths:  now there's a question.

No comments:

Post a Comment