In times gone by, when mapmakers reached the limit of their knowledge, they would often mark areas beyond what they knew with the legend, Here There Be Dragons, or some such. They were imaginative, to say the least. The maps would have pictures of sea serpents and lands that didn’t exist drawn on them. Why you might ask, wouldn’t they just mark the map as ‘unknown?’
It seems to be human nature not to want to admit ignorance. I think it has gotten worse today. The ‘information age’ has brought us to a point where to say that we don’t know something is also to show that we are too lazy to just check it on the Internet. But what happens when all your sources of information are gone?
In the novels, the world undergoes a series of natural, manmade and supernatural cataclysms. This destruction leaves a severe void in both the ability to communicate and to collect information. When we lack these two essential items, we are faced with a survival scenario that is grim.
Not having information about what is happening around you is terrible, not knowing what is happening to the rest of the world may be worse. The concept of ignorance being bliss is false. The axiom that knowledge is power is truer than I can express. Knowledge, facts, give you the ability to make rational decisions and valid choices. Do you know the difference between amoxicillin and erythromycin? If you are allergic to penicillin, you had better know which you can take. More important than that, what do you do when all the drugstores have been raided, and there are no antibiotics left? There are answers to that question as well, but you won’t be able to find those answers easily when your sources of information are gone.
Lack of information does not make you stupid, it makes you ignorant of a subject or subjects. In the world of the Senses Novels, the entire planet is plunged into ignorance. It is a new dark age.
It’s easy to see why the mapmakers would place warnings in the areas that they couldn’t know. It would take brave men and women to shed light on those areas in the centuries following the creation of those maps. It will take that same kind of spirit to survive a world plunged into the night brought on by worldwide devastation.