My Own South African Cave
While on the NESA Expedition in South Africa, Ethan and I explored and surveyed numerous caves. Perhaps the coolest part of this experience, was the promise from the Wits team that they would choose one of the caves we visited and name it after us! Here is the map of my cave:
It came as quite a surprise as they only mentioned this to us in the last few minutes of our time on the University campus, and to be honest, I thought they were mostly joking at the time. However, a month or two after returning, Ethan and I now have our own caves! I guess this will just give us one more reason to go back for a visit.
Speaking of our own caves, I think it is a very interesting tendency we have of naming things after people in general. The logical way to name something would be based off of its attributes or location, rather than who discovered it. However, we have been naming things after ourselves, our leaders, or historical figures for centuries, if not millenia. Does it have something to do with our pride, or a feeble attempt to inflate our own egos? Regardless, I think it important to take a moment's pause and consider why we name things in the manner that we do.
Here is a map of Ethan's cave:
I asked Ethan for his thoughts, and he wanted to share his musings on the subject:
"I agree with Noah for the most part. I do believe naming places after ourselves and others inflates or ego and adds to our pride, but I think the underlying reason why really breaks down to our need to be recognized and praised and also commemorate certain relationships. In this instance with the caves, I see it more as a commemoration rather than a reward for discovery. Especially since both caves had clear indications of mining and therefore had been utilized in the last few centuries.
The naming of the caves after us Scouts also aided the cave mappers in remembering the cave in order to assist them in making the maps. In a more historical context it appears to me that naming places adds a piece of ownership or a piece to that person's life to the place they ‘discovered’. For instance there’s been numerous occasions where waterfalls are named after the loved ones of those who supposedly found them. Outside of just the ownership and commemoration this does add a personal tie in our brain, making the location easier to remember and thus find again.
In a sense, naming it makes it a monument to that person and assists the adventurer in relocating it. I can’t say I’m willing to state whether its good or bad, as I believe it's part of human nature to explore and have pride in one's ‘discoveries’."
Well, by the time this post goes live, I'll have completed my first week of living in Chicago. Hope everyone back in Pittsburgh and Hamburg is doing well. I miss you all and wish you the best in wherever life is currently taking you.
Photo is of my favorite geological formation in one of the caves we explored.