Sunday, August 26, 2007

Genius answer

First off - the question is crap. She is thrown a fact - and asked 'why is that' - and she responds with 'I personally believe' - which is the right thing to say rather than 'in my opinion' - the difference between ‘belief’ and ‘opinion’. People use them interchangeably and shouldn’t. A belief is related to the statement of fact… or purported fact… ie ‘I believe the earth is round’. One does not have an opinion that the earth is round… one may have an opinion that people who believe the earth is round are nutjobs – because it’s so obviously flat – and that’s the big difference.


For example…

Racism. People may have the opinion that someone of a different ethnicity is ‘less good’ than another – but that is generally predicated on the belief that there is some fact to back that up. Those beliefs, when confronted with factual evidence, can be termed ‘mistaken beliefs’ by the rest of us – and thus the opinion denigrated as baseless.

Once upon a time, we believed lightning was the result of Thor’s hammer, or Jupiter’s anger. Others believed the earth was the center of the universe – and it took Copernicus and Brahe to correct that misconception. Now what happens when we base fantastic supposition upon poorly founded belief? It cracks. Without a basis in fact, belief systems become interchangeably valuable.

As children grow up – they begin to face realities… beliefs begin to fall away… there is no tooth fairy… no easter bunny… no santa claus… there are no prince charmings waiting in the wings to sweep you away… and the more of those beliefs you cling to – the bigger the veil of tears one must face. In this case, the girl in question 'believes' - so that's a good start...

it continues... 'that US Americans' - which is a distinction that too few make. The fact is that the Americas constitute 2 continents and a rather large number of nationalities... and with this being a map question - it's doubly important to set the proper tone for the response. In actuality - she's correcting the question itself - by calling the generic use of 'Americans' itself to account.

it continues... 'are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation dont have maps...'. Now - honestly, i dont think i have a world map in any way handy... other than the few ancient species in my old texts (my favorite being wonderfully illustrated and exacting cribbed from Suarez Miranda, Viajes de varones prudentes, Libro IV, Cap. XLV, Lerida, 1658 -- it folds well...) in fact, of the people i've spoken with on the subject, there really does seem to be a lack of distributed world map cartography in this country. We really aren't a nation of people who keep maps - certainly not ones without UNITED STATES OF AMERICA printed boldly across the midwest... Even then - I assume we're talking about Mercator projections here - the very Eurocentric mapping projections that have been forced upon us by our forebears - much like the NTSC color palette. Then again - what with the recent tendency to refute science with such idiocies as Intelligent Design and Pi=3 - perhaps the questioner was using a Beatine map to perform the survey. Again - without seeing the map in question and knowing what sort of projection was used (Austronesian perhaps) - it might be best to simply assume that the people who were questioned were not familiar with the particular style of cartography.

it continues...'and i believe that our education, "such as" in South Africa and Iraq - everywhere - [implied 'should be'] like "such as" - and i believe that they should...'

As the great Albert Einstein once said "Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others, it is the only means." 'Such As' - the use of Exempli Gratia - is a critical method of educating people. In this example - she is simply and eloquently making the case that the lack of contextual relationships in our education system is no different than the lack of boundary divisions in maps. South Africa and Iraq are quite simply the perfect examples - for each of these nations may well be termed 'nations' in our limited western hegemonistic sense - but with longstanding ethnic divisions such as the Bantustan or Lesotho situation in South Africa or the Marsh Arab and Kurdistan groups in Iraq - a national 'border drawing' identity that is at odds with its own regional and ethnic drives creates a difficulty in applying quick and easy border definitions. A nation of broad divisional generalizations, such as blue states and red states, cannot long stand -- and teaching said approach should be not be tolerated. If we are ever to understand and treat the deep underlying causes of social outgrouping and its resultant hatred - one must begin with the sense of arbitrary borders as implied in maps should be approached with this broader sense of inclusiveness in mind.

it continues... 'our education over here in the US should help the US or should help south africa - it should help Iraq and the asian countries so we will be able to build up our future for our ch(ildren).'

Simply stated - education is universal - and by drawing the question of borders and maps into the forefront - she is emphasizing that our insistence on arbitrary demarkation only impedes our ability to pursue an ever expanding economy - a pursuit that is already a goal that should be questioned as a unreasonable. Her awareness that our education must take into account the coming cultural and economic dominance of the asian nations is not something one would necessarily expect from a teen from South Carolina - but as that would be implying some sort of regional discrimination based on an arbitrary border - which flies in the face of her answer to begin with - I'll refrain from such a supposition out of respect to her answer.

Now - the real question is... does anyone have her number?


fearlessvk said...

i have a headache.

fearlessvk said...

by the way, target is doing their best to rectify this epidemic of map-shortages in our fine nation:

i've got one of these hanging in my own shower!!

so, in conclusion, we should provide world map shower curtains to all american families in order to curb AIDS in south africa and end the war in iraq.

Farzad Kohantorabi said...

She had a second try. however, she would do a lot better if she had read your post before.

Farzad Kohantorabi said...

the link again:

Yahoo News