The Map of the Map
The map is not the territory.
Our understanding perception of reality is not fully accurate. This is important to understand. Not being aware of it, assuming that you are percieving reality as it is when in fact you aren’t, is a source of error.
But our understanding of our model of reality is not fully accurate either. Not being aware of that is also a source of error.
Reality is the territory.
Our mental model of reality is the map.
What we think our mental model of reality is, is the map of the map.
We have mental models of other people’s minds. We also have a mental model of our own mind. It is not fully accurate.
Specifically, I want to talk about concepts.
A word/concept has two different meanings, what we think it means to us (map of map), and what it actually means to us when processed by our brain (map). (while the similarity cluster of reality that the concept is meant to capture would be the territory).
Or, a different way to put it, a concept has two different interpretations depending on which mental machinery we use to process it, and yet we aren’t automatically aware of that.
As you can imagine, this can cause all kinds of errors.
Tabooing helps. What do you do when a word doesn’t mean to your brain what you think it means, or when you are aware its meaning is somehow ambigous/contradictory/misleading? Remove the word from the equation entirely, and replace it with actual meaning you want to use.
Simply saying, “I define ‘human’ to mean ‘featherless biped’” is not good enough—actually remove the word entirely, in order not to contaminate what you are saying with whatever meaning our brains already have attached to the tabooed word.