|Paul Makepeace > Inchoate > 2006 > 05 > An Observation On Selfmapping
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Let's say you wanted to find out where a place was in the global or regional scheme of things. You're part of a community and folks volunteer their whereabouts and wanna know where they are. How far, what would it cost to travel and hang out, basic stuff like that. For argument's sake let's say you wanted to find out where County Tyrone is. I know a priori it's in Ireland. How would you do it? Of course, you'd probably lean on your favorite search engine, or if you were particularly savvy their map product. But even that probably wouldn't help as gmaps is regionalized and doesn't yet "do" Ireland too well.
But that's besides the point. The point is, when people make websites about themselves they often miss their own position in their regional or even global context. Pick a random place that's not a whole country (because Google Maps does that quite well; make it harder!) and try to get a sense of where it is, e.g. Bracknell Forest. Often you'll end up with a bunch of maps of the immediate area with absolutely no sense of where it is in its country or even the world.
It's incredibly frustrating. So it got me thinking why is this? And is it any insight into who we are at this moment in time, or as a species?
Ken Wilbur talks about levels of awareness from self to tribe to region to global consciousness, how actions and behaviors impact on others within that catchment. Landmark are another group who of all the people I've interacted with over the years seem to have this spiralling-out awareness of how we can affect our environment. Evolution of society and culture seems to proceed out through these spirals encompassing increasingly wider scope at the same time subsuming the inner spirals (this is the genius of spiral dynamics, that perception of our universe consists of viewing concepts as being whole and complete by themselves yet containing and being contained by others in that universe. For example, an atom contains quarks while being contained by molecules, but an atom is something on its own without being "subjugated" or necessarily categorised in a hierarchy).
So my takeaway from my lack of success in finding how regions are located within the world suggests first off people aren't too concerned about the world beyond their immediate borders, unless those on the other side of the border are particularly troublesome. (If you are inclined, check out the Slovenian coastline and ponder what the Croatians and Italians are up to. Yeah, you're still in Europe. Have fun.)
But also the tools to express any awareness are not particularly well understood either. Gmaps covers the world but in varying degrees. I am a great believer in tools enabling folks to consider and deal with concepts much like words in language enable chunking of ideas. But.. what else is there? What's the gap between local and global awareness? Why do some folks care about this and others not?
Where's the gap?