Monday, April 21, 2014

A map with a 1:1 scale defeats its own purpose...

On Exactitude inScience
Jorge Luis Borges, Collected Fictions, translated byAndrewHurley.


…In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a
single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the map of the Empire, the entirety
of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied, and the
Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and
which coincided point for point with it. The following Generations, who were not so
fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast Map
was Useless, and not without some Pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the
Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are
Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is
no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography.

—Suarez Miranda,Viajes de varones prudentes, Libro IV,Cap. XLV, Lerida, 1658
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