Friday, September 5, 2008

The sound of maps

The seeming impossibility of disccussing that which cannot be fairly put in words came back to me when I read about escape means for prisoners during World War II.  There was a tiny office in the Briitsh war department devoted to helping prisoners, who escaped from German prisons, make it safely back to England.

A small part of their efforts to aid those behind enemy lines was providing maps to them.  I actually have only a vague idea of how they got the maps into the hands of the escapees, but what I did grasp was the hazards of maps if you are on the run.  Say you are hiding in the woods and the enemy soldiers are looking for you. You must both be silent and have a sense of the direction of  home,  Any rustling of paper could provide the searchers with your whereabouts.

The solution was maps on silk.  Elegant solution in more ways than one. No folding, no rustling, no danger that  is created by your attempt to avoid danger. 

Apparently some 4000 soldiers escaped the enemy by this and similar tricks.  That is a lot more folks than the number of people who escape the mechanicity of group thought (that is the only thought which can be shared.)  And yet a similar approach could assist the latter.
Picture the activity in your mind as directed towards getting home, AND so quiet that the inner guards, those unproductive concerns, don't know your intent.  Quiet need not mean inactivity.

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