Thinking thinking thinking…

Well what a week this has been for the ol’ brain. Work and school both took it’s toll on me and required far more than I thought I had to give to either. Fortunately, all of my classes continue to stimulate the brain which is something that I’ve been longing for for quite some time. None of my classes at Metro really offered the mental challenges that CU-Denver is appearing to give to me. It’s probably not entirely the fault of Metro so much as I’m beginning the end of my college coursework which means that I’m taking some pretty heavy duty classes from here on out.

The class that’s intriguing me the most so far is my on-campus course about Globalization. My professor is a frickin’ GENIUS. It’s the only time in my entire (lengthy) college career that I can remember thinking that I’d rather just hear him lecture for three solid hours. The man has SO MUCH information stored in his head and I just want to hear more and more about everything he’s talking about.

I think there are few things that really stick with a student during their college education. Really, we don’t remember diddly about what our professors say, hoping instead to pass the course and try to come out of it with some sense of understanding.

But sometimes, rarely, there are those things that a professor will say that will stick with a student forever. My globalization prof is that person for me (ranking with only one other professor, Todd Slechta, from CBC).

My professor is John Whitesides, just in case you wanted to know.

Anyway, a couple weeks ago, we were talking about maps and geography (something I’m actually quite good at) and he brought up a photo of the class Rand McNally map we’ve all seen in all our elementary schools. (click on the map if you can’t see the whole thing here)

He proceeded to point out some very interesting things, that any of you may or may not have also noticed (there was only one that I was aware of):

  1. There are NOT, in fact, two India’s in the world;
  2. Alaska is really only about the size of Texas, not the size of half of the continental US;
  3. South American is actually approx. 8 times larger than Greenland; and finally
  4. The United States is not, surprisingly, the center of the world as this map would suggest.

But what is really interesting is what Whitesides said next:

When the United States is the center of your world, you HAVE TO deform the rest of the world.

I had to actually take pause when he said that. I mean, it’s kind of true, isn’t it? So often, Americans are so fricking entho-centric, it’s appalling. I won’t get into it too much here, but take the Iraq War for example. Is worldwide democracy REALLY the best way? America has really only been doing this for about 200 years. Do we REALLY have the very best option? Especially considering that so many nations around the globe are, in fact, theocracies it seems a bit absurd to waltz on in there and proclaim that WE ARE THE BEST!

I digress.

This class just continues to remind me that whatever we do, nationally, has huge impact on the rest of the world. I think this goes for all major and industrialized countries the world over.

To paraphrase a portion of the President’s inauguration speech, we will not apologize for being a wealthy country, but we will take responsibility for how this affects the rest of the world.

2 thoughts on “Thinking thinking thinking…

  1. I agree 100%, that map is just disturbing. No wonder all Americans are bad at foreign geography; I can’t even name the Canadian provinces and we’re on the same fricking continent!!You know me and my American sentiments, so I’m with your prof on the subject too.The only place I might disagree here is that European countries represent way more of “Democracy” than we do, since we’re a “Republic” rather than having a Parliament, and I believe only Islamic countries are theocracies. China is still a Communist Republic, or so I’m told, and yet we’re not bombing the shit out of them like we did with Vietnam—what gives? Global Politics are fascinating, but it’s just too bad that Americans are so blinded to them.I think we poked ourselves in the eye with the “We’re #1!” foam finger.P.S. My word verif is “bergiso”… sounds like Italian breakfast sausage.

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