Here be dragons

Early European mapmakers famously drew in dragons, monsters, and weird creatures in lesser-known or unknown areas of the map.

IMAGINING MONSTERS INTO UNKNOWN AREAS OF THE WORLD

And that’s what we do as well.

We sometimes imagine monsters in areas of the world we don’t know well. Conspiracy theories are one example of this. Another is hearing something about someone we don’t know, imagining it’s true, and then realizing it wasn’t true – or wasn’t the whole picture – when we get to know that person

MAPS AS A MIRROR

And these maps also mirror us.

We sometimes have metaphorical dragons, monsters, and weird creatures in unknown and unmapped areas of ourselves.

As with maps in general, these dragon maps – whether they are the old literal ones or the ones we create for ourselves in daily life – are projections in two ways.

First, as a mental construct that we imagine out there in the world and that helps us orient in and navigate in the world. (And sometimes not!)

And second, they are a projection in terms of characteristics and dynamics. We imagine characteristics and dynamics out there in the world, and they are also here in us. Maps may or may not describe the world, and they certainly describe us. What’s the story I have about something or someone in the world? What do I find when I turn this story to myself? Can I find genuine and specific examples, here and now and from my past?

PRACTICAL USE

What’s the practical use of this?

We can be aware of this tendency to metaphorically draw monsters and dragons into what’s unknown to us. This helps us notice when it happens and counteract it.

And we can use this to actively explore the dragons and monsters in unmapped areas of ourselves. When and how do I imagine monsters in the world? How does that mirror me? When am I like that? Can I find specific examples here and now and from my past? How is it to recognize this? How is it to include it in the image I have about myself? How is it to recognize in me more of what I see in others and the world?


INITIAL OUTLINE

Here be dragons

  • Unknown areas on the map, filled with monsters etc. 
  • In conventional sense, how the human mind tends to work, sometimes also in our life 
  • And as a projection, often also true. In unmapped areas of ourselves are often dragons and monsters and weird creatures 
  • Good to be aware of and notice when it happens in a conventional sense, and the dragons in unmapped areas of ourselves is something to keep exploring  

As any map, it’s a projection in two ways. First, it’s a mental construct that we imagine out there in the world and that helps us orient in and navigate in the world. (Or sometimes not!) Second, it’s a projection in terms of characteristics and dynamics. We imagine them out there, and they are also in here in us. Maps may or may not describe the world, and they certainly describe us. 

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