map of humanity

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The Map of Humanity


Maps organize information. They pinpoint geographic locations relative to each other. The Map of Humanity also organizes information, but instead of doing it geographically, the map organizes the locations on the basis of moral, emotional, and cultural significance.

From the mythical cradle of human thought in the Garden of Eden, to the farthest reaches of human imagination, the map plots out mankind's achievements, trials, and tribulations throughout history. We have constructed a world made up of our own actions and beliefs, as much as the one formed by the land we live on. The map of humanity is formed by our thought, our feelings, our dreams, and our nightmares.

The continents of this restructuring rest upon the sea of the unconscious, the stormy basis of our thought. The land that emerges from it is broken into three main continents, each related to an aspect of the human mind: superego, ego, and id.

The superego is dominated by our higher aspirations. It is our moral centre, where our sense of compassion, love, and virtue reside. Hope, family, kindness, and beauty dwell here amongst the peaceful fields and tranquil cities. The ego is dominated by reason, rational thought, and order. It is the land of science, where nature is harnessed by the human mind; and order and reason hold sway over emotion and passion. The id is the dark continent, dominated by our primitive, animalistic urges. Here hate, greed, avarice, lust, and bigotry run rampant, and war devolves into atrocity.

This is the world of our making, carved out of our actions, built upon the collective achievements of the human race.

It is an attempt to map the last six thousand years of human history and thought upon a theoretical geography to discover a sense of what kind of civilization humanity has attained. And like the geography of human nations, it is in constant flux, changing and growing as long as mankind walks the face of the earth.

It took 5 months to build and has thousands of locations from both history and fiction.

Of course something of this scale (grandiose) is going to have limitations. Ideally locations would be assembled and evaluated by a team of experts in history, philosophy, literature, and science and then the results plotted out using a computer. Every year it would change, and over time it would grow larger and more complex. Obviously this map is not going to achieve the perfect realization of the idea. In fact, this is the second iteration of the map, which is far more extensive than the first, which was an intaglio print. Perhaps one day there will be a third.

A larger view of the map can be viewed here.