# Boundaries—A map and territory experiment. [post-rationality]

Origi­nal post: http://​​bear­lamp.com.au/​​bound­aries/​​

This is an ex­per­i­men­tal in­ves­ti­ga­tion of map and ter­ri­tory.

Map and ter­ri­tory is a re­la­tion­ship where the map rep­re­sents the ter­ri­tory.. The map is not the ter­ri­tory, that we know.

Scrib­bling on the map does not change the territory

I am in my house, sit­ting at a table with a pic­ture of planet earth. There’s a re­la­tion­ship be­tween the pic­ture and my­self be­cause tech­ni­cally I am in that pic­ture map. But also I am look­ing at that pic­ture and I recog­nise it as a map of the ter­ri­tory that I live in. There’s a bound­ary be­tween me and the map.

Now I have a map of the land mass of Aus­tralia. I am both in a ter­ri­tory rep­re­sented by the map, and this map de­scribes me (weakly).

Now I have a map of my city. There’s again the same re­la­tion­ship. Two ways. I am in my city, but also my city map is sep­a­rate from me be­cause it sits on my table in front of me.

now I have a map (floor­plan) of my house.

I am look­ing at a piece of pa­per, the map is ex­ter­nal to the ter­ri­tory of me walk­ing around my house.

Now I have a 3d model of my house. It in­cludes the table I’m stand­ing in front of, and a mini ver­sion of all my maps on the table, and a 3d house model.

there’s a bound­ary where I am look­ing at the map and not in the map.

but I’ve also got a lit­tle figurine of my­self in my 3d model. My figurine ap­pears to be look­ing at the mini 3d model of the house that’s rest­ing on his table. There’s a bound­ary here. A re­la­tion­ship be­tween me and the model.

where I am look­ing at an ex­ter­nal model of my­self look­ing at an ex­ter­nal model of my­self.

But now I am here. In my head. With an in­ter­nal map of my­self, stand­ing here, look­ing at my­self in the whole­ness of my be­ing, and I ask,

“where is the bound­ary be­tween my­self and the map?”

Now might be a good time to pause or re­flect on the ex­er­cise be­fore read­ing on. Ob­vi­ously I can’t make you do that but I con­sid­ered end­ing the whole ar­ti­cle here for that effect.

## Some Discussion

Friend: would it be that you is what re­mains when you turn away from the map. If it’s in your mind, then you re­main when you stop think­ing of the map?

Me: “what is the “you” that re­mains when “you” stop think­ing of the map?

Friend: If we define iden­tity the way I think you’re point­ing at, then the you con­stantly changes. So, sure, that “you” is no longer there when you turn away from the map.

Me: Yes. From that place, re­peat­ing the ex­er­cise, the new map now in­cludes that in­for­ma­tion “the ‘you’ always changes“. And I can ask the same ques­tion. “what is the you that re­mains sep­a­rate from the map?”

Ex­ist­ing map-less is very hard. The hu­man brain re­ally likes to put maps around things. I will be think­ing, “I am map-less” and then re­al­ise that “think­ing, ‘I am map-less’” is a map too. There is a re­al­i­sa­tion that there is only one real ter­ri­tory (that we live in), and it’s very hard to ex­ist in the ter­ri­tory and not the map. And a fur­ther re­al­i­sa­tion that, for ev­ery­one else who ex­ists in their maps and not “in the ter­ri­tory” they are also just gen­uinely ex­ist­ing in the ter­ri­tory too be­cause maps are in the ter­ri­tory too.

From that place can come an ac­cep­tance of any­one and any­thing as they are. Be­ing as their be­ing is, bring­ing what they bring. Be­cause that’s (from my per­spec­tive, from the out­side that per­son) the ter­ri­tory.

I feel like this ex­er­cise has the op­por­tu­nity to gen­er­ate weird feel­ings. Some­times con­fu­sion, some­times fear or dizzy or any num­ber of other ex­pe­riences. That’s the point. The pur­pose is to then en­able the ex­per­i­menter to ex­plore the feel­ings that have come up. What does that mean for the na­ture of re­al­ity that I live in. What’s the dizzy try­ing to help ex­plain to me? I won­der what is go­ing on.

Spe­cial men­tion of the book No Boundary by Ken Wilbur of In­te­gral Theory

• Ex­ist­ing map-less is very hard.

That state­ment sounds to me like a mi­s­un­der­stand­ing of what maps are about. The act of per­cep­tion is an ab­strac­tion on the world that’s out there and even if you don’t layer in­ter­pre­ta­tion on it, it’s still a differ­ent layer of ab­strac­tion then ter­ri­tory.

I think read­ing Science and San­ity (the book from which “The map is not the ter­ri­tory” comes) would be valuable for you if you are in­ter­ested to clearer un­der­stand that topic.

• I’m afraid the only con­fu­sion this gen­er­ated for me was con­fu­sion about what the con­fu­sion was sup­posed to be...

• Seems you are only a step re­moved from what I have been say­ing here for years, it’s maps all the way down. The idea of the ter­ri­tory is just an­other map.

• It’s maps all the way up, not all the way down. At the bot­tom, out­side of our­selves, is the ter­ri­tory.

• “Maps are in the ter­ri­tory, too”. Where else could they be?

• Ra­tion­al­ity tries to in­sist it can get above the map and out­side the ter­ri­tory to use the map.

Post ra­tio­nal­ity is start­ing to in­te­grate map and ter­ri­tory into one ac­tion. Un­for­tu­nately for the hu­man con­di­tion, there is no bound­ary be­tween map and ter­ri­tory.

• “Above the map”? “Out­side the ter­ri­tory”? This is ut­ter non­sense. Ra­tion­al­ity in­sists no such thing. Ex­plic­itly the op­po­site, in fact.

Given things like this too:

Ex­ist­ing map-less is very hard. The hu­man brain re­ally likes to put maps around things.

At this point I have to won­der if you’re just round­ing off ra­tio­nal­ity to the near­est thing to which you can ap­ply new-age plat­i­tudes. Frankly, this is in­sult­ing.

• If you find your­self get­ting overly emo­tional over a re­ply on a ra­tio­nal­ity fo­rum post, a pru­dent thing to do is to step away and chill for a bit be­fore re­ply­ing.

• You are wel­come to think this is ut­ter non­sense and feel like this is in­sult­ing. That’s fine. I un­der­stand that. It makes no sense to you and it seems like I’m gib­ber­ing about noth­ing.

I un­der­stand where you are and why you would say that. I’m sure it’s very frus­trat­ing to see these new age plat­i­tudes and have no idea where I’m get­ting this from.

For me this is sig­nifi­cant in­for­ma­tion, for the sev­eral peo­ple who have read it and pri­vately mes­sages me and been im­pressed and sur­prised by the ex­pe­rience. For my­self and these peo­ple, there’s some­thing here that we see. It seems strange that I can talk in a se­cret lan­guage right un­der your nose and make sense to other peo­ple. How long un­til you won­der what that is and how you can see it for your­self?

• I am not sure what you are refer­ring to, and I’d be in­ter­ested if you can link/​PM me more de­tails about what those peo­ple read.

• Ra­tion­al­ity tries to in­sist it can get above the map and out­side the ter­ri­tory to use the map.

I have no idea what that means.

• Some­times “where” is a wrong ques­tion to ask. Sort of like “where does the Uni­verse ex­pand to?”

• Now show that it’s the wrong ques­tion in this case. We don’t need an­other rep­e­ti­tion of “maps all the way down”, we need a proper ex­pla­na­tion.

• I would have an­swered that ques­tion with, “we don’t know yet”. But I don’t know my physics to say if that’s cor­rect.