Thursday, October 29, 2020

What is a map?

        A map is anything that can be used to help identify and locate information.  A map is traditionally thought of as a tool for navigation, i.e. A train map, google maps, the map of the world.  As I read Crampton and as I talk more in the seminar I have come to change my view of maps to include a larger variety of tools.  I think that an anatomical picture illustrating different parts of the brain is a map, I think that a table of contents could even be considered a map. 

        Maps symbolize our desire to find and identify boundaries and in turn feel comfortable and secure in our power.  The human mind, for whatever reason, is constantly ordering us to create our limits in which we can contain ourselves.  We are scared of the other.  Think about that: republicans/democrats, different races, different genders, people of different nationalities.  We have an incessant need as a species to define the world around us, maybe that is a good thing because it pushes us to discover more and by putting labels on things we are better able to discuss and investigate them. 

        Alternatively, perhaps it is our greatest flaw.  Consider gender: we use pronouns to identify ourselves, he/him/his, she/her/hers, them/their/theirs.  However, it is often argued that the label for those who do not define as male or female is grammatically incorrect.  This person did not fit the social map that was pre-constructed for them and so they are left in a halfway space that feels uncharted and unsafe.  Two options face us, do we create new labels so that we can more accurately map each other?  Or do we consider a world free of the limitations that mapping sets for us?

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