Map the matrix to un map your mind. .
Border scholars argue that making borders is the essential modern gesture: ancient empires and medieval states had fluid and flexible borders, or none at all, and people lived and thrived in what were in every sense gray areas. The growth of the nation-state made the border an indispensable bureaucratic tool of mind and body control. Borders told us where to stand, and where we stand. We watch the red grow and shrink in the atlases as the British Empire expands and recedes. We see straight, ruled lines on a map—whether they mark the peaceful states of the American plains or the warring muddles of the Middle East—and we know that those lines were drawn by some yawning bureaucrat in a big building in the capital. And yet these arbitrary lines make cultures as much as they express them
At times, this cartographic turn gestures toward a “Matrix”-like pessimism: what you think is natural is manipulated; that nation you live in, and the country you live in, were fiendish contraptions made by power to catch your soul. That’s the sense you get from “The New Violent Cartography” (Routledge), a collection of academic essays edited by the Hawaii political scientists Sam Okoth Opondo and Michael J. Shapiro, on the problems of why people fight over borders—or, rather, in one case, “an articulation of geographic imaginaries and antagonisms, based on models of identity-difference.” They make perhaps too much of the truth that the things rich people need are better mapped than the things they don’t, and that people with power tend to be able to impose their maps on people without it. Nonetheless, the idea that imaginary lines can have real victims is a powerful one.