Place of Refuge

Place of Refuge

25 June 2010

Grids, Maps & Second Life

The idea of 
The Grid
is a recurrent theme in this blog,
and this is because of a message
that I received about six years ago,
while I was sleeping. 
I've had trouble 

ignoring that message ever since.
It went like this:
"Jesus will come as the Scholar in the Four Days of the Grid"
Yeah, that was the message.  
I detail the circumstances 
of its delivery
in earlier entries (especially here), so I'm not going to do that here.
At this point,
you can either decide
that this Makropoulos chick is just a little too nuts for you,
and move on to the next blog.
If you do, thanks for stopping by!
But the message may linger in your mind,
as it has in mine.
In fact, many of my entries here
fixate, either directly or remotely
on the challenge of untangling that message,
word for word,
and that's what this entry will do again,
with special attention
to the idea of The Grid

The reason I'm thinking about Grids is because, last week, 
I dared to take a stroll in the world of Second Life.

As aggravating as I found Second Life to be, I also think 
its theory and potential are fascinating, and this
allure has been enhanced as I've come to understand,
this week, that the basis of all creation in Second Life


grids are the scaffolding upon which 
almost all acts of artistic representation and creation
are built.  How many of you learned to draw a person 
like this:


The other day, I was looking at some pictures of very early maps,
and I thought to myself: well look at that, we've been using 
grids for a heck of a long time to draw maps, as well:

(Yu Ji Tu Map of the tracks of Yu Gong, 1137 -
wikipedia on cartography )

( Tabula Rogeriana  by Muhammed al-Idrisi (1154) )

( 15th Century depiction of

In fact, it was Ptolemy who, back in 2 A.D., came up with this
still very useful notion of latitude and longitude, and what is that but an
acknowledgement that we can perceive of the world by imagining it
as being embraced by a giant grid.  Ptolemy, by the way, knew that
the world was round (and still is).
It was actually some of the navel-gazing generations that followed him
that sort of lost sight of that fact.

So essentially, Ptolemy, in developing 
those elegant "l"s (latitude & longitude), developed an 
intellectual technology
to help in both perceiving and reproducing
an entity.
That intellectual technology works in conjunction
with the imagination to help us extend
the limited scope of our eyes.


Forty years ago,  the city I was living in
was available,
in book form,
and each page of that book
focused on one section
of a grid in the map of my city.

I loved that book;
I would look at those different pages
for hours on end,
memorizing the streets 
in my neighborhood,
then turning the page to see
how they changed in the next neighborhood.
I learned my city that way.

In our lives, we can live in
one square of a grid
and get to know it very well

or we can get to know it
well enough,
and move to another square,
and ultimately
(and ideally)
look for the points of
between the squares.

This is how we get the bigger picture.

rely on grids to help represent 
the experience of hovering 
over and seeing
those interconnections:

The problem with maps like these is that
they exist on one dimension.
Map makers over time
have attempted to add
a second dimension
with drawings that indicated
either elevations in the land
or human monuments:

( pictoralmaps )

They still relied on grids!

Perhaps the most
significant artistic development
in extending our perception of grids
while also refining our ability
to reproduce reality accurately
was the development of
perspective drawing, and the concept of the
vanishing point

Fundamentally, the vanishing point
is the artistic expression
of the limitations of
a single glance.

Think about it this way:
it's as if the bird hovering over the one dimensional map
landed on one of those roads, and looked
down its length;
the vanishing point is the place where
the road disappears
on the horizon.

As the Wikipedia article I link to above explains,
you can suggest  a bit more complexity with
two-point perspective
(ie: with imagining there are two points
on the horizon, in two different places
where the line disappears.)

and produce depth with
three-point perspective:

(I must credit Wikipedia for these drawings;
please follow the link above for more details.)

~ ~ ~

Notably, when we get into the realm
of the three dimensions,
it's as if we're taking that flat,
one dimensional
map impression
and lifting it up,
adding grid upon grid above it
and acknowledging that those grids
extend in a limitless fashion
beyond the range of our vision;

we're using the
multiple grid layers
to provide
a scaffolding
for creating
a multi-dimensioned

This is ultimately
the logic
of the Second Life Grid.

Now what on God's earth,
I suspect you're wondering,
is she going to do with this?

Why has she gone through
this rather elaborate contemplation
on grids, representation and maps?

Well, I'll tell ya' -
I do this partly because it kind of
amuses me.
I love to take an idea and tease it out
and see where it might take me.

But also,
there is this matter of the
and the Four Days of the Grid

The only part of this message that I'm a little blurry on
is the word "days."  I am certain the voice said
"days," but I interpreted it as "age"
because "days" didn't make sense to me.
At that time.
More on that later.

But in any event, there is the number 4,
and the idea of the Grid,
and to me this suggests
stages of development
in the Grid
and in the technology
it has produced.

Whether we like it or not,
we live in
The Age of The Grid
right now.

I have contemplated elsewhere
how the Grid Ages
could very well have to do with
the various Ages of Artistic representation;

Second Life ups the ante on that idea.
Because Second Life
is a domain where humans have used the technology of the grid
to produce another living space,
a virtual living space
that we can traverse,
and actually, if we so desire,
create a better life than the one we have.

We could perhaps
correct the mistakes that we made on this domain
or fight the wars that would be better if fought
in a virtual domain.

Could Jesus come
in Second Life?
Or perhaps
Second Life?
now that would be unexpected,
wouldn't it?

I guess it all comes down
to how you define

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