Maps: Skewed Perspective

Maps are weird. Firstly, here is the Mercator Projection, the most common flat representation of the world.Mercator-projection

Because of the way we always see maps on the walls of classrooms, on google maps, and represented in media and literature, an upside-down map looks so… wrong.

JBL79

Of course, this map is just as accurate as the standard Mercator Projection, it just isn’t what we are used to seeing, and thus we perceive is it as wrong. Even when my brain starts to think it understands this map, it is only because I am basing it on my predisposed understanding of the “right-side up” map. Nowhere in my mind can I grasp Florida being further up than New England, because to us, North is up and South is down. But that simply isn’t true. South is just as up, and so is East and West.

This flip of perspective isn’t where it stops though. It gets much weirder.

Below is Greenland and Kenya next to each other, on different parts of the Mercator Map.

Capture.JPG

There are many many versions of the map, but none of them are completely accurate. They all just choose different aspects to sacrifice, whether it be shape, size, location, or something else.

Surprising, right? You have been told your entire life that the world is one way, and now your finding out it is completely different.

Of course, maps aren’t the only skewed navigation we blindly accept as truth.

For the longest time, I was under the assumption that utilizing the death penalty was cheaper than keeping someone in jail for life. This created a moral dilemma for me, and tore me apart, but we will save that for another blog. The point is, when I learned that it is cheaper to keep them in jail, my opinion switched quickly to anti-death penalty. I had a skewed perspective, much like my own personal Mercator map.

There are two things we can learn from this. Firstly, educate yourself before speaking on a topic. It will help you form an opinion that is truly in line with your beliefs, and just prevent you from embarrassing yourself.

Secondly, when you see an ignorant person, first seek to understand that that person may have been told a certain “fact” that isn’t actually true, and had it pounded into their brains by their community. Trust me, I understand how frustrating it is to debate an ill informed person; What I need to remember is that I’m just as ignorant as everyone else. I suggest you realize the same.

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