The map is not the territory

Posted by Evolved Inspired on Friday, April 19, 2019

The map is not the territory was presented as a presupposition of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) on a recent course. The term was for some reason, the trickiest of the presuppositions to grasp in a practical way. Step one was understanding that the world map and model are used interchangeably here. The map is our own model or perception of the world. I then came across this quote:

Monks, we who look at the whole and not just the part, know that we too are systems of interdependence, of feelings, perceptions, thoughts, and consciousness all interconnected. Investigating in this way, we come to realize that there is no me or mine in any one part, just as a sound does not belong to any one part of the lute

  • Buddha

The light bulb lit. Maps are incomplete they omit details and only show what is important to the person creating the map, details important to another are left out. Consider a roadmap, by necessity it doesn’t name every side street, however, if you live on the unnamed side street that is an important omission. The territory is TRUTH, the unfiltered map with all the details, the sights, the smells and the truth of the event.

Take an unknown flower growing in a garden, to you it may be a beautiful flower, but to someone visiting they may question why you haven’t removed the weed. There we have to different maps or models. The truth ‘the terrain’ is simply that there is a plant in the garden. Our map may determine whether it is flower or weed, or that it is pretty or out of place, smells nice or foul.