The Young & The Ignorant

On a recent trip to Walt Disney World my family and a few friends were able to enjoy the ride Soarin’.  The ride is a flying simulation with a very large screen that takes guests across different landscapes around the world.  Among the landscapes and scenes the ride takes you to include India’s Taj Mahal, Monument Valley in the United States, and Egypt’s Pyramids. The ride’s duration is only a few minutes, but it’s a delightful presentation of the beautiful things created by both God and man.  As we were walking out of the ride I turned to my wife to ask a question.  She gave me the ‘don’t talk to me’ look.  Later on I found out why. She was listening to the couple talking behind her.  Of course they were talking loud enough it was hard not to.  The guy was explaining that he understood why all the things were part of the ride except for “that random-a– castle in Czechoslovakia.” Let’s discuss this for a moment.  First, this is the random castle from the experience:
This is Neuschwanstein Castle.  It’s not in Czech.  It’s in Bavaria To further the experiment I have a mental exercise that I do where I try to understand how the other person came to their conclusion.  I try to find logical potential reasons for them to consider their beliefs to be valid.  This is based upon the idea that we believe we’re right and we believe that we’re logical creatures–though we’re also terribly fallible.  This particular set of statements about the castle being random and in Czech has me a bit puzzled.  So this post is dedicated to asking how could someone come to that conclusion? Here’s what I can imagine:
  • The castle is in Bavaria and built by a king with little influence outside of his kingdom.  Had it been built by Charlemagne or Napoleon or someone else with greater significance maybe it would be better known.  Ludwig just doesn’t make it into American History Books.
  • A lack of knowledge of where the castle is can be further caused by the problem of it not being associated with a major historical figure combined with the reality that many of the maps this couple have seen in their lifetime are digital.  As kids I grew up with the printed cartoonish maps of the world that included major landmarks.  As things have gone digital fewer of these may be available for people to consume.
  • There’s no movies set in the castle.  That sounds minor, but we’re visual creatures used to consuming visual media.  There’ very little popular visual media (outside of tourist videos) that include the castle.  Things might be different if the castle were used more as a location in movies.  As much as the Mission Impossible series have used world locations this hasn’t been one of them.
  • Bavaria is a backwater state in Germany.  My friends from Northern Germany would often comment about how backwards Bavaria is about some things.  Imagine there was a king of West Virginia, and that right before losing the kingdom he built a castle.  That’s the way my friends in Erfurt made it sound like Neuschanstein castle was.  It’s often used as a symbol for Germany, but it’s really part of the backwater state in the country.
  • There’s not much exciting about the castle.  When you go, it looks good, but the experience isn’t Disney.  It’s about the king and how hard he made people work (for very little pay) to create the castle to satisfy his desire to impose his rule as near to God-like as possible.  There’s some discussion about whether or not he was actually murdered.  Why?  Because a king who acts that way might have made more than just a few enemies.
  • There’s lots of good reasons to believe that Czechoslovakia is still a country, but most of them fall apart as soon as one cares to look and I doubt our young characters in this post had ever had the need to look.
While I didn’t follow up with the young couple to actually discover what there reasons were, reviewing these potential reasons helps to humanize how such a situation could happen.  How can you use an exercise like this to help you relate to others.

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