The Wide Emblem

ancient map of the world

Map: a symbolic depiction highlighting relationships between elements of that space such as objects, regions, and themes. Some maps are static two-dimensional, geometrically accurate representations of three-dimensional space, while others are dynamic or interactive, even three-dimensional. Although most commonly used to depict geography, maps may represent any space e.g. emotional space, real and imagined.

“Writing has nothing to do with meaning. It has to do with landsurveying and cartography, including the mapping of countries yet to come.” ― Gilles Deleuze

This emblem is particularly striking in light of a recent event. In October, I sent my DNA out for processing through and then did a follow up test with I'd hoped to locate biological cousins and perhaps, one day, locate my biological parents. I also wanted to know how to read the map of my body: was I predisposed to certain illnesses; why couldn't I tolerate ice cream but had no problem drinking milk; should I worry about varicose veins? I was also interested in culture. My results came back on Friday, October 25, 2012 and they were a bit shocking. I am overwhelmingly, genetically anyway, Scandinavian. My genetic make up is as follows: 65% Scandinavian; 18% British Isle, (probably Ireland); 17% Southern European, probably Spain because of my Haplogroup (H3).

When I read the results, I guffawed. I am short; Scandinavians are usually tall. I have brown hair and eyes; Scandinavians are usually blonde and blue or grey-eyed. I tan like a Spaniard; Swedes are fairly light-skinned. Admittedly, I knew very little about the Scandinavian countries Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. But as I read about Scandinavian history, a sense of wonder fell over me. I opened the Wide Site and looked at the images again as a whole and they began to take on a deeper, even eery, meaning.

The caricature Scandinavian, of course, is the Viking. We think of Vikings as conquerors, but they were also explorers. They were seafaring warriors-cum-merchants, who traded their swords for spices. Scandinavian countries declared neutrality in the World Wars. They enjoy an egalitarian society and are known for their peaceful ways, which belie their Viking past. I share these 'instincts,' and as I looked at the images on the Wide Site--maps, stars, networks, going/return, the balance of androgens, I marveled at how these 'instincts' expressed themselves thousands of years later in me.