[lit-ideas] Re: The World Simulated

  • From: Robert Paul <rpaul@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 30 Jun 2007 12:11:34 -0700


John McCreery asks

How close I wonder does it get to the real thing?

Of Exactitude in Science

     ...In that Empire, the craft of Cartography attained such
Perfection that the Map of a Single province covered the space of an
entire City, and the Map of the Empire itself an entire Province. In
the course of Time, these Extensive maps were found somehow wanting,
and so the College of Cartographers evolved a Map of the Empire that
was of the same Scale as the Empire and that coincided with it point
for point. Less attentive to the Study of Cartography, succeeding
Generations came to judge a map of such Magnitude cumbersome, and, not
without Irreverence, they abandoned it to the Rigours of sun and Rain.
In the western Deserts, tattered Fragments of the Map are still to be
found, Sheltering an occasional Beast or beggar; in the whole Nation,
no other relic is left of the Discipline of Geography.

From Travels of Praiseworthy Men (1658) by J. A. Suarez Miranda

--Jorge Luis Borges

A similar embarrassment turns up in Lewis Carroll's 'Sylvie and
Bruno,' where a map with a scale of one mile to one mile is discarded
as too cumbersome. 'A character notes some practical difficulties with this
map and states that "we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I
assure you it does nearly as well".'

Perhaps those behind the world simulation project have overcome this
difficulty.

Robert Paul


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