THE MAP MAKER
An Illustrated Short Story About How Each of Us Sees
the World Differently and Why Objectivity is Just an Illusion
This short story explores the topic of human perspective. The story line centers on a seemingly obvious but overlooked question: “How is it that we all believe that we see the world objectively and yet we all know that each of us sees the world differently?” No one will admit to being the handsomest, smartest, or funniest person. But everyone believes he or she is quite objective and very fair-minded. However, since we all see the world differently, how can we trust that we are seeing the world in an objective manner?
This story attempts to reconcile these two contradictory outlooks. It is designed to be used as supplementary material for courses in English literature and philosophy, especially in the Theory of Knowledge course that is taught within the high school International Baccalaureate (IB) program. In addition to being suitable for high school and college courses, this book should be a welcomed companion for home schooling programs.
Based on a reading of this story, the following provide questions that could serve as key discussion points:
Do you believe you’re an objective person? Why or why not?
Have you ever met a person who did not believe that he or she was an objective person?
How can different people, holding differing views of the world, each believe that his or her own viewpoint is reasonable and accurate?
What is the meaning of “truth” as used in this story? How is this meaning different from the way it is typically used in a religious sense?
Explain in your own words what is the likely meaning behind by the phrase “the subjectivity of truth and the relativity of reality”?
When might it be useful, perhaps necessary, to see the world in a subjective manner and when might it be important, perhaps critical, to view the world in an objective manner?
Sometimes events or situations are described as “Rashomon-esque.” What is the likely meaning of the term “Rashomon-esque”?