We live in a world where everything seems known.
Thriller and mystery stories (adventure stories too) ride on
mystery. Which used to be very external—well in some genres still is—
but there is so inner that is knowable if not actually known
by a person. Reading the scriptures just now I was struck
how my children will never really know the “wilderness”
and how little I knew it. At her fingertips is at least a view of every part of the world. So what is unknown—what
is mystery—is no longer the unmapped or unseen parts but the
places that have been seen and hidden by Power to preserve that power. Literally the only places unseen on Google Earth/Maps are those areas mandated by governments to be obfuscated. What’s more the deception is not always clearly marked.
The other limits are resolution and refresh rate. Even as I was growing
up and developing my viewpoint there was a sense that the world
was mapped and known. But access to that mapping inherently limited
the scope or resolution any one person could hold access to. Now
the majority of people hold an unfathomable level of access in their
phones, tablets, and computers. How often are these maps updated?
I don’t know other than that it depends on the map. Some
only every few years (decades?) some (small) portions, thanks to
GPS enabled camera phones, are essentially updated minute by
External (as opposed to interal, psychological) mystery can only happen
in between these refreshes or as a power dynamic between those who
know the topography and those who seek to find it. Obviously this
isn’t true only for cartography but I can’t think of anything for
which it is more true and since cartography is the pursuit of a discrete
truth its language is very precise in this matter.