Saint Augustine declared that “the world is a book, and those who have not traveled have read only one page.” Only firsthand experience can validate or challenge our intuitions, giving us confidence about risky political decisions in a complex world of instant feedback loops and unintended consequences. During travel, perception and thought merge; a contradiction can emerge as a truth to be revealed, not some exception to be disproved. Such ambiguity is the corollary of complexity, after all. Reality is famously resistant to theories that measure the world according to what it should be rather than how it really is. Instead, exploring the patterns of the second world aesthetically, honoring the value of purely sensory judgments — this exposes characteristics that are common to the entire second world; differences are revealed to be more relative than absolute.
Parag Khanna, The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order (2008)