The map is not the territory …

This well-known saying is interesting.
It means this … we need to make a distinction between a representation of a thing and the actual thing. We shouldn’t confuse ‘models’ of things, with the things themselves.The map is a reduction of the actual territory.
But that’s not to say, those ‘models’ are not useful; quite the contrary. The reason we have the model/map is to be able to carry around (in our pocket or our brain) a compact representation of the much larger thing.

We do this with lots of stuff … and it is one of the main ways we organise the world. We take large chunks of complex data and ‘chunk’ it down into bite-sized and more understandable (and portable) packages. 

Then there is the problem of using outdated or even incorrect maps. We fail in a business or a relationship and perhaps the experience was so intrinsically painful that we draw a new map, from which we continue to operate and base our decisions on, despite the fact that we are older, wiser and in fact, dealing with a new business or new relationship.

On the mat - the training people undergo - can often mislead them into believing that it accurately represents what might happen to them in high-threat/real-life situations.

Map and models can be useful but also misleading. Worth thinking about.

Pic: The Dymaxion Sky Map - my father painted this on the lounge room wall when I was 5 years old. I remember my mother yelling at him for it.

Comments

Popular posts