Tuesday, February 20, 2007

maps and legends

one of my friends stopped by today to show a map she had a made. in her free time, she has developed a whole world, full of characters and their histories. she once showed me a drawing, filled with probably thirty distinct people, and was able to tell me about each of them in such a way that hinted at there being so much more she was holding back. today she brought by a large map of their world.

it was her perfect world, she said, as she pointed out the mountains, valleys, grasslands and deserts, forests, rivers, frozens tundras, floating islands and barren ashlands; a place where people had adventures. she asked if i had a 'perfect world', and i said yes, presuming that i had imagined something like that in junior high [jon, can you sustantiate this in any way?], but i couldn't provide any descriptions of my perfect world when inquired. she then said that she wasn't quite sure what 'perfect' meant, citing a moment when she had accidentally knocked over a glass of water and wondering if Jesus ever did something like that.

as i thought about the concept of perfection, i continued to look at her fabricated 'perfect'
world. it was not all monotonous. there was variety, high places and low places, warm and cold. there were even safe places and lands that were forboding. indeed, to have adventure, an environment of struggle, danger, and the unknown must be present. and this was a perfect world.

now, her world was not fully thought out to the point of flawlessness, and there are many philosophical theories on the definition of perfection, but when she sat out to create her perfect world, it was not one of a continental grassland or beach, where everyone walked barefoot or the temperature was always a sunny 78 degrees.
the world i live in, geographically, socially, and personally, has mountains and gullies, hot climates and cold regions, cities of peaceful security and shadowlands of struggle and hardship.
what would you want a perfect world to be like?

1 comment:

Em said...

What a fascinating question. I just had to hang up on "City of God" because despite the glorious creative and aesthetic genius of the film, the stark violence and other questionables were through the roof. But the film did cause me to reflect on what it must be like to live in a world as unstable as that. What would you dream about, what would you wish for?
You know that song that Audrey sings in Little Shop of Horrors, "somewhere that's green"?
To her, that is perfection. To me it sounds awful and small.
So perhaps perfect is in many ways a matter of perspective. We cannot really fathom the true "perfect" with our puny mortal minds.