Scholar Doug Howick
has pondered the mysterious dots in the Scale of Miles on the blank map in Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark
. Howick writes, "The sequence of dots on the scale has always intrigued me. The original has a '22132' arrangement, but I have been unable to make anything of that. I've also wondered whether it was a message in Morse code, which had been invented by Samuel Morse in 1844. If so, it would spell 'IIESI,' which doesn't make any sense to me either."
We might suggest that the dots are "blind spots" indicating the "forgetfulness of antecedent spatial configurations," the "discrepancies and approximations" which cannot be obliterated (as per José Rabasa
's critical reading of Mercator's 17th-century Atlas). And/or, the scholar of silliness and its metaphysics, Nina Lyon
, writes of how a place inevitably becomes a metaphor, "an elastic description of its describable characteristics as required to illustrate a point plucked from the mind's ether." She writes about how
the bumps of a terrain's anatomy become apparent "only with movement" as one repositions oneself in time and space so as to perceive "the multiplicity of it. The many bits of detail, those many geographical features marked out in contour lines and dots of scree on maps, all unfold from the single furrowed surface of the earth upon which your feet continue to move, with slow determined pace. ... The features exist for as long as you can see them, and then you keep on moving and they fall back into where they were before, into the mass again. What seem to be individual entities all fall back into one thing in the end. They are merely attributes of it. The one is ontologically prior to the many." Yes.