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“A picture is worth a thousand words” tells more about human nature than you would guess. Some link the popular saying to Confucius (born 551 BC). Others trace its origin to ad man Fred Barnard in 1921. Check it out.
Our nature also chooses the meanings of today’s photographs of Earth from space. The pair of photos confirms for each reader that his or her world view is far wiser than the views that others express.
The sunlit photograph of Earth was taken from Apollo 17 shortly after launch on December 7, 1972. It displays what we are given to work with: Earth, its bright water and air hanging together in the black void. We also have the abilities to take such a photo.
NASA’s montage of Earth at night shows what people conceive in the surroundings. As the world spins ever on, chance has set Africa in the center of both our pictures.
The night image is a grand compilation of demography. Run your eye along the ancient coastlines, across the dark hinterlands and over the densely spangled tracts.
Think of the ways the picture reflects populations, population subgroups and population density; then schooling; governance; commerce and industry; modernity; and dominion. The mind works to sort out causes and effects.
Now try picturing the pattern of things to come. Imagine the comparable montage on this date, August 7, in the year 2062 ... or 2100.
Political science is the art of conjuring up the future. Candidates who do it better win elections, where human nature plays king, as of old.
Venture through the world from space. Find the stories that match your politics. Take in the other stories, too – the facts that weigh against your politics.
John Bartilit, New Mexico Citizens for Clean Air & Water