02 December 2008


A famous quote by T. S. Eliot, part of a poem in his Four Quartets, has stuck in my mind for years because I realize very personally its meaning, and informs some of my thinking about the geographic imagination. The latter I define simply as how we see the world and our place in it. I have altered his poem to read thusly:

We shall not cease from [self-]exploration
And the end of all our [mental] exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
and know the place [--and ourselves--] for the first time.

As we come to understand ourselves in relation to the local places where we dwell and the globalized world in which we increasingly inhabit, we will come to know ourselves to that degree.

Humans today are englobed (or ensphered) intellects, hopefully rooted to a particular place, and also aware of the world as a whole, as a unity. We are thus "glocal" (local and global) cosmopolitans, mindfully dwelling in a place and responsibly inhabiting, living on, the globe.

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