When I was young, I used to be a fan of the boardgame Risk. I remember once, my cousin and I had a great inter-Atlantic battle between his 59 troops vs my 61 hardened commandos. Even though I have the slight numerical advantage and I was confident in the training and valor of my diehard plastic soldiers, I lost the great war due to the roll of the accursed die. Subsequently, the effect of that great naval battle lost me my empire, and I could do naught as I watched him entered into my homelands of Africa while my brothers gleefully ate up other parts of my empire.
Enough sidetrack. What I wanted to put down here is that I still like the Risk map where the borders are drawn in thin impenetrable lines and as long as I have one plastic soldier in the middle of the territory, that land is mine to drawn resources from. Alas, growing up, even as I lamented last week, things are often not drawn so clearly in black and white anymore.
This week, I read the first few chapters of the book, “The Greatest Show on Earth : The Evidence for Evolution.” by Prof Richard Dawkins. By faith, I am a creationist. However, that does not mean that I am not open to reading about the other side. In fact, one of my deacons once told me to read more and to be careful with what I read, cause every book we read forms a mold inside our mind, changing us, especially if it is the first book we read on the subject. As such, I try to read as many books as possible, getting molded from all angles to be nicely rounded… Hehehe..
Anyway, he described our initial process as a child understanding the world as, in a sense, simplistic. We teach a child that a certain object is named a certain sound and that all these things under the same sound are essentially the same. A cat is a cat and no matter what color of its fur, it is a cat. Thus is the Platonic understanding that all we see as present relate to an ideal form and that despite the variations we see, they all “belong” to the same ideal. It is the Allegory of the Cave, if you want to read more on it. However, if we truly think about it, the lines between the species are not as clearly cut as they seems. If so, we would not have creatures such as the mule or the ass, a mix between the horse and the donkey.
Similarly, I have been trained since young to think of countries as lines drawn on the map clearly defined and intact. The events of Ukraine and Crimea has shown us differently since then. Each region (definition of which is also porous) has their own characteristics and how each individual person can relate to the bigger group will be an fascinating topic to study indeed.