"Culture never stays completely intact the same way it came and that should wake us up to the reality of some things"
I would like to discuss an analogy I like to repeat often, that probably annoys enough of my friends but I hope this resonates with you. This topic is of course about true north and the way culture can softly sway us.
The truth is that the big old globe is full of different sorts of culture. The Aussies invented Vegemite and are occupied with the cricket scores. Americans are great innovators providing they keep sipping their Starbucks, and they enjoy all things bald eagles. Germans pretty much build great cars and drink microwave beer at the same time. Italians paint beautiful pictures, have mastered sculpture while mama bakes another pizza in oven aye.
All these things can change though. Culture never stays completely intact the same way it came and that should wake us up to the reality of some things. The introduction of the internet in the last several decades has brought the discussions of heavy subjects into the hands of nearly every person by way of technology. Involvement in politics is everybody’s business and there’s little sacredness into privacy at all anymore. living ‘live’ in the moment is the only way to stay relevant. It is also everybody’s prerogative with a smart phone to convince another group of people with smart phones to live life their way. If only they saw it their way, all would be fine. Things have changed dramatically since the days of horse and cart and messenger pigeons.
Finding true north is the method by which cartographers (map makers), use to establish where the earth spins on its axis. If an imaginary pole were to be put through the earth end to end there would be great importance where each end comes out so you can have an accurate guess as to where you are, or more importantly, when travelling, where you need to be heading. The problem arises when little known to the average person, that there is a True North and a Magnetic North. A mere compass is problematic.
“True north is a geographical direction represented on maps and globes by lines of longitude. Each line of longitude begins and ends at the Earth’s poles and represents direct north and south travel. … The force of that magnetic field has a horizontal component in the direction of magnetic north” – adventure.howstuffworks.com
In this video around 6 mins and 30 seconds the man explains that there is about an 13 degree difference between Magnetic north and True north. This could potentially mean a difference of approximately 1000 kilometres in distance, should he embark on a trek from his home in Canada to the north pole.
What does this metaphorically tell us?
Whenever we venture out the door we are apart of a culture whether we like it or not, and it’s important to be concious where it might be leading you. You could argue you are in danger of being taken along for a direction in ‘magnetic north’ and slowly lead you thousand of miles off course. A compass helps, but only so much.
Pop culture goes with what is attractive, popular and easy with the grain. In a place like Hong Kong at the moment, for example, people recognizing where the magnetic compass of China’s rule will lead them away from the basic freedoms that a life of democracy provides them if they don’t fight for it.
When it comes to applying true north principal in life we should give careful thought into what this means while we sift in and out of our lives people, influences, jobs, hobbies. A country will always have it’s traditions, and in a large way they this is what makes us who we are.
The nature of the world though, is that it takes us away from true north with time. Very gradually, over long years and generations pass on over time. Where do we find our basis for good and evil? Where do we discover moral truth, the meaning of life and how to conduct ourselves with the time on earth we are given?
We need our Bibles for this. God’s unchanging and final Word on issues. I believe God is the reference point, the standard to which we need to seek north from. 1 degree off course over several hundred years is damaging, 13 degrees is catastrophic. Like everybody else I must pay close attention to what is apart of my life. Things like the people I hang around, the places I go to, where I lead my family, habits to be mindful of, disciplines to implement, good routines to practice and goals to reach. The question will always be, where do all these things lead?
Go find true north.