Open Book. Read First Line. Screech to a Halt.

Remember how I met the geographer the other week, and she lent me a book she warned me might be above me?  The book is Geographic Information Systems and Science.

Well, I started it.  I want to quote the first line.  Ahem.

Almost everything that happens, happens somewhere.

Egad!  Who knew a book about the physical sciences would start off with the metaphysical!   I was awe-struck.  Put the book down a second in shock, then returned with eager anticipation.  But alas! alack!–Such a thought-provoking contention to start off the book, and then nothing following up on it–it was as if the authors considered the statement too obvious to bother with any further.

Almost everything happens somewhere.  So…where do the other things happen?  Doesn’t everything that happens, that is, have a place it happens or is? 

I mean, even if it happens in one’s mind, it happens in there, right? 

Well, I thought hard and decided that maybe something like Lord of the Rings or Alice in Wonderland–these tales outline things that happen somewhere we can’t connect to earth.  Then again, one could still map them out.  The book’s about mapping, you see.  And we humans will map anything we can get our hands or telescopes on.

If we can map the moon–and I love how we call it the moon and don’t bother naming it–I guess for the authors the distinction is that everything real happens somewhere, and then there’s fiction and the world of the imagination, which need not be mapped–or at least not with a GSI system.  Or are they talking about something else that happens but not somewhere?

I never did get past that first section, because instead of being sucked into the need for a GSI system, all I’ve done since reading that first line is rack my mind for things that a geographer would say happen without a place.

Thoughts?  🙂

Oh, and I considered naming this entry:  “Why a Liberal Arts Person Should Never be Handed a Physical Sciences Textbook.”  But refrained.  After all, I still find it thought-provoking, although perhaps I’ve gotten caught up on a point considered so tangential to the authors that they dropped it off at the starting point and never looked back.  🙂

Gazing out into Armenia from Ani, Turkey

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About sputnitsa

Born in the US, I grew up in Africa and the West Indies, and returned stateside in my teens. After a decade in international development, democracy work, and inclusivity training for domestic NGOs, I joined Peace Corps, and after a year, experienced my first Russian invasion. I followed that up by volunteering with refugees and youth, and after some vacation time climbing minarets and mountains, I returned to New York City, where today I work on social justice with college students, produce short films, and write.
This entry was posted in accuracy, Ani, books, maps, whatnot. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Open Book. Read First Line. Screech to a Halt.

  1. ralfast says:

    And then Sput opened a veritable Pandora’s box of alternate realities, parallel dimensions and Knights that say NI!

    😀

  2. Beth says:

    Thinking, perhaps? But then I suppose the mind is tethered to the physical realm…this is going to make my brain hurt, isn’t it? 😀

    • sputnitsa says:

      I know! It’s madness. What doesn’t happen somewhere? Or, what happens but not anywhere. Nope, it’s not that. What happens, but doesn’t do so in any place. A placeless happening.

      Who knew geographers were so wild and out there!! 🙂

      I mean seriously–what are they talking about? What is that mysterious happening that happens but happens nowhere. Or otherwhere. *mindblown flop* 🙂

  3. I think you need to read the second sentence. If for no other reason then to have another hilarious blog post about it.

    • sputnitsa says:

      Heh. I read it only to find it gave no answers. I read nigh near four pages to discover that, then spent the next several weeks in a state of pondering.

      🙂 I have since spent much time asking people, “What happens, but doesn’t happen somewhere?” I assume the odd looks they give me are aimed at the authors, and not at this little wonderer.

      🙂

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