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ORIENS Geographical orientation: An alternative, integrative geographical perspective

Por Cristóbal Cobo Arízaga. www.quitsato.org The objective of “The Oriented World” is to generate a new view of where we are, thus re-thinking the global scenario in order to leave traditional conventions behind. We aim to propose a new conception of the globe that emphasizes global integration over arbitrary distinctions about central and peripheral nations. We wish to promote the notion of a united globe and question historical constructions presented by the dominant nations. In effect, we re-orient how the globe is visualized geographically, toppling the North-South division of cultural hierarchy. Given our Latin American identity, this is our moral obligation. Yet, this initiative represents a call for a profound reflection among all races, nationalities, creeds, and genders that there do not exist countries above others, but rather that all nations of the world have a specific position in space that can be oriented and re-oriented. The present study expounds upon the theoretical bases of such an integrated geographical visualization of the world, offering theoretical and scientific support for this re-orientation. We aim to break down stereotypes and historical constructs that lack reason and divide nations rather than unite them. The world needs such initiatives to promote a new dynamic of thought, which takes into account technological advances in order to favor the integration of humankind, the universe, the sun, and the earth. The Issue of Perspective: Visual perspectives of the Earth: We will briefly analyze three visual perspectives of the earth in order to differentiate the positions of the earth with respect to the sky, cartography, globes, topographic cards, and other types of models. The spacial perspective: In outer space there exist no cardinal directions. Therefore, we might imagine observing the earth from any angle whatsoever. The heliocentric perspective: From the sun, we can imagine observing the earth with an inclination of 23°26'29”, which is the inclination of our planet with respect to the plane of its orbit in the solar

The geographical perspectives in history: Before the Middle Ages arrived in Europe. 2009). and time become enigmas for the vast majority of humankind.” which in turn derives from the protoIndoeuropean word “ner. there exists evidence that the Egyptians developed maps with south as the principal reference. there do not exist technical reasons to justify scientifically the use of north as the principal directional reference.. 1987). North: The use of North as the principal direction has predominated until today because of the appearance of the compass in 15th century Europe. the wind. Therefore. Kononovich. E. Everyone who uses north as a reference suffers from an absurd confusion by breaking with the natural perspective of our surroundings. In addition. The same would happen with the south. The first known map having a northern reference was that of Ptolemy. Currently. the ancient cultures were accustomed to observing the world from different perspectives. Using north as the principal reference is not only unsustainable due to a lack of technical and scientific arguments. Terrestrial perspective: This refers to the perspective that we have of our surroundings from any point on earth's surface. For the Maya of Mexico. we will lose sight of the southern skype. the weather.” given that north is left for an observer who faces the sun in the morning (Wikipedia. east was the principal cardinal direction (Shele and Freidel. Thus. this did not represent a fixed point in the northern sky given that the earth moves due to the axial precesion (Bakulin. Our relationship with nature falls apart and the understanding of the seasons. The use of north as a geographic reference is nothing more than a historical custom that arose due to need in early navigation and cartography. VII to XIV) placed south as the uppermost direction (Wikipedia. However. the lambda star of the constellation Cephei. The majority of Arab maps during the rise of Islamic powers in the Middle East (c. North. and V. P. which completes a cycle around the northern pole every 25. 1542).system. 2009). calenders. These are biased and incomplete geographic perspectives. if we direct our view to the north.” meaning “left. the alpha star of the Draconis constellation. an unsustainable geographic reference: “North” comes from the old English word “noro. it becomes more difficult to understand the apparent movements of the heavenly bodies. Other problems that we face by using the north as our superior referent include the ambiguity generated by historical conventions with distorting consequences in socio-cultural.875 years. about 4 thousand years ago the northern reference in the northern sky was Thuban. and even class terms due to the fact that the majority of people understand the north as being . 1999). This breaks with a natural comprehension of the earth's movements with respect to the stars. Moroz. it is also a historical construct that has generated confusion for all everyone who uses maps or globes given that north is used as the superior reference. However. where we would lose sight of the north. North has been used predominantly as the principal direction for navigation (Mexía. it is the North Star and it will become Errai. For example. on which we orient ourselves according to the cardinal directions. geo-political. Navigation and cartography needed a fixed reference point in the sky and the North Star of the Litte Dipper served as just that.

or person over the earth's surface with respect to a reference system. object.(Encarta. the position of a point. diametrically opposed to the north. Arnal. direction. inferior. 2009). we must understand their true movements. In addition. with the objective of integrating our knowledge of nature and giving scientific support to the production of geographic information in general. It is for this simple reason that the east is justified technically and scientifically to orient our maps and globes. we must direct ourselves to the east. the direction in which the heavenly bodies. In this sense.” “oriens. and underdeveloped. In the area of development work. calculation. this is the integrative reference given that it is the direction in which we observe the heavens in its entirety. and measurement of horizontal coordinates. which comes from the Latin verb “occidere. in addition to the use of geographical projections. developed. which means sun due to the fact that this star indicates the southern cardinal point when it is observed to the north of the Tropic of Cancer (Wikipedia. north. This is the technical and scientifically sustainable reference or geographical direction due to the fact that it is the direction in which the earth rotates. South: The etimology of the word “south” can be traced to the origin of the hindu name Surya. Wikipedia. and sun appear to us. The only way to understand these movements is from the momentum in which the heavenly bodies appear in order to study their transition in space. This position negates the use of west. topographies. The south is one of the four cardinal points located over the horizon. in order to understand the movements of the heavenly bodies. Thus it is denominated as a cardinal point. the west indicates that which opposes the east. The term “orientation” comes from the Latin word for “east. If we want to orient ourselves. moon.” indicating the place where the sun sets. 2009).” meaning “to appear” and which designates the place where the sun appears. It is 90° from the east. 2008. which in turn comes from the verb “oriri. in effect. it has become synonymous with “poor countries” (Wikipedia. East as the integrative geographic reference.” meaning “to fall. Bibliography . A properly oriented view ought to be applied to the study. better. stars. and heavenly bodies. planets. as opposed to the west. It is. and wealthy and the south as being downwards. 2009. Mariano. “south” refers to a group of countries with lower per capita incomes. and inferior type of country or region according to eurocentric convention. as the Latin meaning of east indicates. place.upwards. West: Again. or south as the geographic reference point to understand nature or orient maps and globes.2009). East: East is a spacial orientation. From a theoretical-scientific framework. -entis”. though they may not be perceivable by the naked eye.

Ed. BAKULIN. y V. Mexía. ENCARTA 2008 Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2008. 2009 El Almanaque.. © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. LINDA Y FREIDEL.Cap XX. SCHELE. Internet. Reservados todos los derechos. Pedro 1542 "Silva de varia lección". MOROZ 1987 CURSO DE ASTRONOMÍA GENERAL Editorial MIR. KONONOVICH. Cátedra Letras hispánicas. Tomo II. Fondo de Cultura Económica. México. DAVID. 1996 UNA SELVA DE REYES. E. MARIANO. P. Moscú.ARNAL. .