The All Important “WHY” Question

Posted: January 26, 2012 in Philosophy
Tags: ,

The other day I was riding in the car with my grandson who I will refer to as “A.”  This happened when he was four years old.  We were carrying on a conversation and he asked me, “Pop Pop, why do we have maps?”  The “Why” question usually leads to all sorts of additional why’s as I attempt to answer the first one.  Well, I started to explain how maps were a model, like his model car of where things were and how to get there.  I was driving our Prius that has a rather large GPS screen he had leaned over to see, so I began to discuss how it worked, how satellites sent signals like a radio or TV that the car can listen to and figure out where it is, etc. etc. etc.  He was being unusually quiet, so I stopped and he interjected a clarification to his question.  “No Pop Pop, I mean paper maps.”

I was suddenly struck with the generation gap or I should say the grand-generation gap.  “A” was living in a different age than the one I grew up in.  Now, GPS was just some magic movie on a screen that his relatives used to get where they needed to go, so what was the point of a paper map?  Hmmm.  Good question.  My cell phone has GPS, my car has GPS, I have a device I can wear on my wrist that tracks where I go, how far I go, how fast I go, how high I go.  Why have paper maps.  Needless to say, a four year old stumped me.

The world is changing very quickly.  Even when we adopt that new technology thingy, we still find it difficult to let go of the tried and true, steady as you go things we became attached to as we grew up and depended on.  These new thingys though have a way of changing our perceptions of reality in subtle ways so that as we grow older, our world view might also be changed — that is if we are an open, not a closed system.  Being open, however, can put our basic underpinning beliefs at risk.  If we are open, what we once believed represented “truth” can be questioned and if found wanting, our beliefs are or have to be changed.

It may be more comfortable to be closed, but it is a lot more interesting to be open to new ideas.  Hope you are enjoying your journey through these interesting times.

  1. Elizabeth Godbehere says:

    A hole is to dig. Maps are to handle, like books. Hands-on participation!

  2. Digging… When I moved from New York to Galveston, Texas I got rid of my show shovel. No more digging out of the snow drifts. When I moved from Texas to Minnesota, I had to buy a new snow shovel. More digging out the driveway. Then I moved to Oregon and got rid of my snow shovel again and traded it for a shovel I use in my small garden — digging holes, turning dirt. Now, its winter and I am just digging your comment!

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