The Map Is Not the Territory, But Is There Really Even A Territory?

While we should not confuse our experience as the totality of reality, neither should we make unverifiable assumptions that a totality of reality exists outside of our experiences.

“The Copenhagen Interpretation is sometimes called “model agnosticism” and holds that any grid we use to organize our experience of the world is a model of the world and should not be confused with the world itself. Alfred Korzybski, the semanticist, tried to popularize this outside physics with the slogan,
“The map is not the territory.”
Alan Watts, a talented exegete of Oriental philosophy, restated it more vividly as “The menu is not the meal.”
-Robert Anton Wilson

Ten people stare at a blank surface

Half of them are wearing blue-tinted glasses.

Half of them are wearing red-tinted glasses.

The first half insist that the surface is blue, while the other half insist that it is red.

Finally they combine their perceptions and come to an agreement that the surface is purple.

But the surface is blank, it has no color. The alleged color of the surface was dependent on the perceptions and interpretations of people who were looking for color through a colored lens.

The hypothesis is not the hypothetical.

Your perception of the world is much the same. Everything you observe and interpret has been filtered through the lens of your beliefs, expectations and limitations. When you discuss a world that is alleged to exist outside of your beliefs, expectations and limitations you are assigning color to a blank surface.


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