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[cdt-l] Re: the concept of the CDT

Nope, vehement discord from this corner of the room. The Continental Divide
is not a "very real entity." Again, it is a concept.

The geographer's equivalent of a mathematical proof, the Divide is true only
in as much as a pre-existent set of rules allows it to be true. Even then,
it is a line that appears on a map, not in the field; political boundaries
are the same, and by my definition are not real either. (I hear the current
administration is set to declare that Four Corners National Monument is
actually a monument to nothing, and should be open to oil and natural gas
exploration.) Anyway, none of these interacts with the environment in any
way. A rock, a mountain, a river, a hiking trail, a pumpjack - these things
do, and so they are real. We can point to each of these, touch them, maybe
know them in some way. But can we point to the Divide? Really?

Even if we know for certain that we are standing on a ridgeline - let's make
it a knife edge - which "is" the Divide, we cannot say for certain how that
ridge would drain in microcosm. Which sounds like an absurd argument, but
the point is, this line on the map we call the Continental Divide occupies
only two dimensions, and our world has three.

Like the North Pole, the equator, or the International Date Line, the
Continental Divide is almost real. It is a product of human intelligence,
designed to assist us in understanding our world or organizing it to best
advantage. Meanwhile, the aurora borealis, the wind, a rainbow - even these
ephemeral things I would argue are as real as the earth we walk on. And we
can never replicate them on paper.

(A rainbow, real? Sure it is. If a rock can exist without the human mind to
ponder it, then a phenomenon of refracted light and visual perspective
exists even if the rock is oblivious to it.)

- blisterfree

Right, Ed?


From: "mike elliott" <farmboyman@hotmail.com>
To: cdt-l@mailman.backcountry.net
Date: Tue, 03 Dec 2002 03:39:26 +0000
Subject: [cdt-l] Re:  the concept of the CDT
Reply-To: cdt-l@mailman.backcountry.net

the Continental Divide is a very real entity (more or less obvious depending
upon the spot)
the Contental Divide Trail is a concept which is on its way to becoming a
reality, though to keep free thinkers happy i hope there will continue to be
"multiple realities" :)
go out and see for yourself...