Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Politics of Cartography

Teasing Americans about their (lack of) knowledge of world geography is like shooting fish in a barrel. I mean, should I really have to explain to people where Australia, a continent for crying out loud, is located? But I enjoyed this clip from the West Wing

HT: Eilidh


Angie Van De Merwe said...

This is what we are experiencing in America these days. Social equality is at the top of priority of world leaders, not just our own nation. And so, we re-write history, as well as re-do geography.

"Worlds" are how we view reality and life itself. Whenever reality is challenged, then we are disoriented and need help in translating or interpreting the world. Some consider this "just", but, others that experience such devastation to their understanding are left clueless as to how to make sense of life anymore.

As we change from confined nation states to a trans-global world, we need thsoe who help others transition to another reality or understanding. This happens in the Church through theology, as science has challenged previous traidional understandings. And society has to grapple wiht how to understand God in the midst of it all.

Today's world is much more complex, because not only are we informed on a minute by minute basis, but on the whole scale of world affairs. This is troubling to those that have lived their lives in relative quiet, and secluded environments.

Doug Chaplin said...

I'm not convinced that we're much better about American geography, than Americans are about European.

And as for Australia: even Australians regularly leave Tasmania off the map.

Kenny Johnson said...

I've been to Australia before. Too many people speaking German, but I did enjoy the Sound of Music tour!

You speak really good English for an Australian!

Esteban Vázquez said...

All hail The (Canonical First Four Seasons of the) West Wing!

ros said...

Angie, I'm really struggling to understand the point of your comment. Do you think it's a good thing for those who have lived in 'quiet and secluded environments' to be troubled by this or not?

Because although I'm with CJ that the upside-down map freaks me out, in general I think anything that forces us to reconsider our misconceptions and prejudices about the world is a good thing.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

I am not making a value judgment. I am just trying to state the 'facts' as I understand them right now.

Some view that this transition will have to be addressed by changing theological foundations altogether, since evolutionary science and other disciplines demand it. While others are demanding such change, still others think that they should "bear up their troops" and wait for Armageddon. And many others, think that religion is altogether irrelavant, except for human development.

So, what do you think? Do you think there needs to be a wholesale revampig of theology? a defense mode? or an "open mode" depending on context?

ros said...

Angie, thanks for responding. I think I see a bit better what you are saying.

As for me, I think we need to always be seeking the truth, and always recognising that we need all the saints to help us grasp the breadth and depth and height of that truth. So when some new idea comes along that shakes our worldview, or some much-cherished theological position, I do think we are obliged to put aside any natural defensiveness or objection to change, and consider where we may have been wrong, or where our understanding has been skewed or limited, or indeed, where the new position is wrong, skewed, or limited. And I think we need to try to do so in a way that helps us, and our brothers and sisters who are starting from different positions, all move closer towards the truth.