Do you know the difference between the map and the territory?
It’s a key skill to have, to be able to distinguish between the map and the territory. It puts you at the cutting edge of thought. It gives you clarity and personal power.
The territory is what is. The map is our personal web of interpretations and perceptions – and judgements – of what is.
We need our maps to navigate our world in which we are literally bombarded with sense impressions – many millions more per second than we can consciously process.
However we tend to become so identified with our maps that we forget they are maps and mistake them for the territory.
This is particularly so when we ‘have an opinion’ or ‘defend a point of view.’ When we have a prejudice. When we come to blows over a ‘matter of principle’. When we go on our high horse.
When we need to be right.
In particular, we become dysfunctional – and possibly harmful to others – when we cling obstinately to an outdated map which has lost any relation it might once have had to the territory.
Would you drive over a precipice because your map says there’s a bridge there but you can’t see one in situ? Would you stop, assess the territory and acknowledge that the map is out of date or just plain wrong? Which would you believe?