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THE MYTH OF CARTOGRAPHY

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"The time came when man's development allowed him to be regarded as such. As inhabitant, he explored his world, marvelling at nature, and fearing his significance before it. But man had invention and it overtook his fear. He saw how suited the world was to his purpose. He marvelled at the ease with which a rock fitted his hand, how water quenched his thirst, fire gave him warmth, and the air filled his lungs. He saw that the hand of an earlier man was evident in all that surrounded him - the hand of his ancestors. Mans invention created rites and songs to make his past reasonable, and through these his ancestors arose and spoke with him. And so man began to understand the workings of their minds.

And the time came when the ancestors of man recounted to him how they prepared the world for his use. They told him how they had given him the secret of fire and the security of dwelling, and how man, in his warmth and comfort, had forgotten his legacy. The ancestors were angered at man's complacency and demanded of him the reverence they deserved. So man, in fear of his future, made tangible icons of his past, and made places for them to dwell in the manner of man, from which they could assume their rightful position. And so it came about that the activities of man were thus directed.

The course of the world moved on and the time came when a later man found himself among unfamiliar surroundings. He saw around him artefacts and buildings. He saw icons and texts, and heard whispers of their meaning. And in all of this he saw that the hand of an earlier man was evident. So, just as with his ancestors, he created an order to this world so that he might make clear his purpose within it. And being a later man, with reason and a physical history, he saw that the divination of his purpose lay in the completeness and accuracy of his knowledge of his world. And so, when his maps failed to guide him towards his desired destination, but instead brought him back to places that were already charted, he sought to improve his maps. And so it happened that man continued the myth of cartography."