Monday, August 06, 2007

Europe Envy

A new map of the world with all the new discoveries by Capt. Cook and other navigators ornamented with the Solar System, the eclipses of the sun, moon and planets Published as the act directs Aug 1st 1799 No 41

It is amazing how you tend to accept things for what they are and suddenly on a Sunday morning things seem to appear different and prejudiced. At school in India, I remember continents being defined as follows: "Continents are large, continuous, discrete masses of land, ideally separated by expanses of water" and there were 6 of them North America, South America, Antarctica, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia. Like most other schoolchildren, I accepted the facts without question or analysis.

I was teaching continents to my son over the weekend, and suddenly I realized that the definition of the ' continent’, does not seem to fit Europe.

Going by the fact that the landmasses need to be large, separate and discrete, Europe just does not count as a continent. I wonder why we keep propagating myths like these even in modern times when it is woefully clear that it was originally devised as separate continent to maintain differences between the conquered Asians and the conquerors...

Have you thought of this at times? How many times have you seen ancient prejudices silently passed onto our children oftentimes without any additional thinking on our part...

Jules Didier (1831 - 1892) 'An Exotic Visitor', Oil on canvas, 32" X 25"

1 comment:

Hungry Hyaena said...

I missed this post when it first appeared, Sunil, but I've long thought it very odd that Europe is defined as a continent. Just birthed of fear and xenophobia, as you suggest.