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The Map is Not the Territory

The Map is Not the Territory, and all the meaning that goes with it.

An article about NLP and finding new meaning, by Wesley Kew, Clinical Psychologist

The world as it is, has been and will always move towards homeostasis or balance if you will. I dare go further and say that the world and its surrounding universe are in a state of perfect harmony. Yet, I have come to learn through my professional and personal dealings with many individuals, that many people experience life as unfair, chaotic and imperfect. There is no denying that all people have had negative and sometime horrendous events happen in their lives. Yet the incompletion of those events can take the mind on a journey of illusion about that this events actually mean in the grand scheme of things.

You may be saying to yourself, ok that’s true but so what?

In order to make a delicious cheese, mushroom and truffle omelette you have to break some eggs. All too often we forget that a door has to close for another to open or more bluntly following the death of something can birth occur. Meaning that when you feel that life is too much for you or that you are going to snap or saying “I just can’t handle this anymore” you are in fact in the process of growing. Remember that shit happens and then you get compost as Terry Elston of NLP World reminds me!

This is regularly witnessed in my home country of South Africa. Along the southern tip of Africa in Cape Town, there is an indigenousness vegetation locally named Fynbos (it’s from a Dutch word Fjinbosch meaning “fine bush”). Fynbos is referred to as a pyrophylic or fire-loving vegetation – meaning that fire plays an important role in its germination and acts as a mineralizing agent. Basically if the shrubs are to survive they need to experience a scorching demise. This gives us more reflection on whether pain is to be avoided or learnt from?

This I know is thought of as common knowledge, but I have come to understand that common sense is not so common. The simple fact of the matter is that the mind perpetually distorts, deletes and generalizes almost all perceived sensory input. Added to this, much of the information that is processed must not be taken on face vale. The Map is Not the Territory, as you well know by now. However, its not that we don’t know it, it is a case of not wanting to digest the reality of things if they go against what we desire or feel we are entitled to.

This is how limiting beliefs are maintained, why some of us remain in abusive relationships or just believe that we cannot change because we are just not worth it. The truth of the matter is that many people don’t want to change because it is simply too much effort and not to mention the fact that they may have to enter the unknown.

All experienced discomforts are a precious gift bestowed upon us to learn what we need to from it. I recall when I was in India doing a 10-day meditation retreat and during the course, myself and many others began to experience great physical pain and discomfort following 8 hours of sitting in the cross-legged meditation position. To this the teacher replied that we must be thankful for being given this opportunity to pain, because in everyday life we so quickly remove ourselves from discomfort and pain that we don’t get to transcend our physical plain.

I immediately cast my mind back to my sporting and studying career. Had I not suffered through long pre-session fitness routines and brutal gym routines I would have not become a professional sportsmen. Added to this had I not spend what feels like countless hours in isolation reading and attending lectures I would not have attained my educational honours. Not to mention the fact that had I not had the courage to do my own gardening and delve into my own psyche I would not have become a Master NLP Practitioner.

There is always a silver lining and it is true that tough times don’t last – only tough people do. However, this requires us to remain in our now and understand that the map is not the territory. It will never be! If you want to begin to experience greater peace and joy in your everyday life you must begin to understand that your subjective perceptions of the world are just that, your subjective understanding and experience. You are in control of your mind therefore your results, that means that you decided how you will respond during a epic storm, veld fire or the next time you experience discomfort in your relationship or the office.

If you begin to trust in The NOW State and remember to apply the presuppositions of NLP to all situations you will begin to see that you have all the resources you will ever need and moreover that the abundance of the universe is seeking to provide you with more.

Keep in mind that the scales of lady justice are very much like the NLP. For one she is blindfolded and therefore is acting in an unbiased way. So remember you are not a victim, she is not picking on you and the world owes you nothing. Secondly before the scales come to rest in a balance, ALL factors and experiences must be weighed. This means that at times the scales will go up and down potentially more than once, but they will come to rest if you remain in your NOW state as you respond to life and stop reacting.

There is no good and there is no bad, it simply is what it is. You are the only one that creates your reality; you are the one in control of your mind and you are the one that must find the structure in all experience.

Wesley Kew, Clinical Psychologist

Alfred Korzybski coined The Map is not the Territory in 1933.

Quotes by Alfred Korzybski:

“There are two ways to slide easily through life: to believe everything or to doubt everything. Both ways save us from thinking.”

“God may forgive your sins, but your nervous system won’t”

“If words are not things, or maps are not the actual territory, then, obviously, the only possible link between the objective world and the linguistic world is found in structure, and structure alone.”

“It is amusing to discover, in the twentieth century, that the quarrels between two lovers, two mathematicians, two nations, two economic systems, usually assumed insoluble in a finite period should exhibit one mechanism, the semantic mechanism of identification — the discovery of which makes universal agreement possible, in mathematics and in life.”

“You can’t have a better tomorrow if you are thinking about yesterday all the time.”

“Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.”

Korzybski’s books:

Korzybski’s first book, Manhood of Humanity, published in 1921, introduced the notion of time-binding as the defining distinction between humans and other organisms. There, he used the imagery of dimension to spell out the unique niche humans occupy among organisms. The book became an immediate best-seller, and remained in that status for several years. He rejected explicitly the claim that we could consider a human as either a ‘monstrous hybrid’ of animal with some supernatural or immaterial ‘mind’, ‘soul’, or ‘spirit’, or simply as animal. In his defining of humans in terms of what they do rather than attempting to state what they are, he declared a fundamental revision of the 2,500-year old Western philosophic foundations of science, philosophy, and biology.

His major work was Science and Sanity, an Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics, published in 1933. A third book of his writings, Alfred Korzybski Collected Writings 1920-1950, was published in 1990.

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