Quote of the Day: Lewis Carroll’s Paradox of the Complete Map

…from Sylvie and Bruno Concluded, by Lewis Carroll, 1893…

‘That’s another thing we’ve learned from your Nation,” said Mein Herr, “map-making. But we’ve carried it much further than you. What do you consider the largest map that would be really useful?”

“About six inches to the mile.”

“Only six inches!” exclaimed Mein Herr. “We very soon got to six yards to the mile. Then we tried a hundred yards to the mile. And then came the grandest idea of all! We actually made a map of the country, on the scale of a mile to the mile!”

“Have you used it much?” I enquired.

“It has never been spread out, yet,” said Mein Herr: “the farmers objected: they said it would cover the whole country, and shut out the sunlight! So we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I assure you it does nearly as well.”

2 thoughts on “Quote of the Day: Lewis Carroll’s Paradox of the Complete Map

  1. Pingback: Twitter Trackbacks for Quote of the Day: Lewis Carroll’s Paradox of the Complete Map « GIS and Science [gisandscience.com] on Topsy.com

  2. a ha..
    Finally I got a name to this paradox. Lewis Carroll.

    I heard of this before, that as humans we conceptualize the world through models as we are incapable of understanding it in completion.

Comments are closed.