World

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Maps٠ Kartor٠ Mapas  Landkarten٠ Cartes 
Samuel Dunn, Map of the Hemispheres, 1794

What is it about maps? They can be fun, informative, mind-awakening, misleading, beautiful, artistic, whimsical, political. They can be merely descriptive or make a statement. They have old names and spellings and hand-drawn oddities and misshapen places and things mislocated. They are maps of something in the world, but also maps of the mind that made them. They provide a legend for reverse engineering the view that was their starting point. So maps – particularly faulty ones, for a perfectly accurate map would tell us nothing about the intelligence that created it – always provide a perfectly accurate picture of something – the question is only how much of the accuracy is in the geography (the outwardly projecting map) and how much is in what geographic faults reveal about the mind that made them (looking into the person from the back side of the binoculars). The full picture may not be clear, as is also the case in the map alone; but the full picture is suggested. Its presence is hinted at, whispered. I think that's part of what makes maps so captivating and endless as a source of imagination: Every bit of information is simultaneously like a door to further inquiry that can be opened or left shut as a challenge to the inventive mind. The very reductiveness of maps, coupled with our knowledge that they are reductive, is the key to their ability to expand our minds. -- As on all pages of The Agreeable Times, anyone who wishes to join in is warmly invited to submit maps or writing or images or artwork or whatever map-related ideas they have. Send an email.

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