As far as I know, the poet and mystic never went to America, so when he coos to his mistress
O my America! my new-found-land,My kingdom, safeliest when with one man mann’d,My Mine of precious stones, My Empirie,How blest am I in this discovering thee!
A map of the known pension world.
The excitement of new found lands.
If you know Mark, you’ll know he is prone to moments of extreme excitement , when he feels inspiration in others. I know of no-one better at capturing other people’s ideas and retelling them in a new and vivid way. I thought of John Donne’s ode to his Mistress Going to Bed when Mark talked with me of maps last night.
There is another great poem of discovery that comes to mind. John Keats’ discovering Homer through the poetry of Chapman. This is how he describes how it felt to read the book
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star’d at the Pacific—and all his men
Look’d at each other with a wild surmise—
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
What links the poetic imagination of Donne and Keats is that sense of discovery and wonder, whether the object of admiration is a naked woman or some lines of poetry. Indeed their lines of poetry recreate the wonder in us readers.
Why a map is so exciting
Of course maps can be very exciting – even if they aren’t charting new found lands. When I am cycling around London, I can discover new things on google maps at the swipe of my phone. I may not be excited by going to Exmouth Market this morning, but I know that in plotting my way there, I will find things along the way, I never knew about.
London being such a huge place, it is to each of us an unexplored country, once we’ve got beyond the few neighbourhoods we know (our manor). Maps are able to bring places to life by pointing out what familiarity ignores.
One of my favorite things is to travel on the top deck of a London bus and check google maps as I go along – rediscovering London as I go.
And how they put things in context
Maps uncover new aspects of familiar places, but they also set places in their context. I always get confused by East London, especially the Isle of Dogs, where the river meanders to such a degree that you can easily forget if you are north or south of it.
Finding where you are on the map is one of those satisfying things, you make sense of your journey so far and where you are yet to go. You understand your context.
Why a map of the known pension world could help us
I think that discovering the new, rediscovering the old and putting yourself in a wider context with the words “you are here”, is what us pension cartographers should be striving to do.
We should aim to excite with the new and reassure about the old. We should find a way to place our individual endeavours in the context of the pension world around us.
So if you’re lucky enough to get an invite to the DG publishing pension conference in June, look forward to a big reveal, and if you’re not. Look forward to hearing plenty more about our map of the known pension world on this blog!