Tuesday, 21 March 2006

Why did I choose this name for my blog?

"A map is not the territory it represents, but if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness." - Alfred Korzybski
The model is not the reality! A model is only useful insofar as it is isomorphic to reality. See also: epistemology.
The doctrine from General Semantics and subjective theory, later picked up by Neurolinguistic Programming, and in part supported by Neuroscientific Research and Quantum Theory, that humans in particular operate through a map of the world, rather than as the world really is. Physics makes generalizations about the world and models of the world, but physics is not the world. Psychology notes this difference between the map and the territory as the difference between perception (map) and sensation (territory). One of the goals of Zen Buddhism is to recognize this difference. The use of E-Prime by many writers attempts to more closely approximate the territory by avoiding the "is" of identity and adopting operational language. This doctrin was also hinted at by Freud with his concept of projection.

Confusion between map and territory often results in paradox.


The Map Is Not The Territory
by Rex Steven Sikes

The father of general semantics, Alford Korzybski stated, "A map is not the territory it represents, but if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness". What this means is that our perception of reality is not reality itself but our own version of it, or our "map".

No two people can have exactly the same map. While we all have similar neurological structure, it functions differently in all of us. This is the basis for our problems in communication when we try to impose our map upon another person. Learning to recognize the structure of another person's map allows us to "see the world though their eyes" and therefor understand and relate to others respectfully and accurately.

Our maps are created through gathering data through the five senses. Our senses bring certain aspects of the world to our attention, which go through neurological processes or filters, forming our values, beliefs, criteria (rules), and capabilities. These are often expressed consciously, yet most of the time they operate outside of our awareness and we don't realize that they can be changed to serve us in better ways.



Indigobusiness said...

Not only "The model is not the reality!", but often the reality model is not the model reality.

Semantics can be like peeling the onion of an infinitely complex world.

Your blog name is a good one, but now my head hurts.

Indigobusiness said...

This is a fascinating topic, and the namesake essay is a good one, but I'm going to rant a bit:

These qualities of subjectivity, projection, psychology, etc, all hinge on the pivot of our comprehensional realm. We make
"sense" of things within our sensory field of experience. Our slice of reality is as limited as any.

We may be aware of a dog's sense of smell, but we will never know the reality of it. It is a world hidden to us. We see a red rose as "real", when the reality of the color of the rose is everything but the color red. Red is the color of light reflected, because that is what it is not.

Semantics? I guess...but I prefer to see our coping with the unknowable fullness of reality as poetry.

No amount of evolution will change this. Or will it?