The map is not the territory

In this clip Marshall Rosenberg refers to our tendency to fall for the illusion that words present to us and mistake the words for reality. This is summed by the famous quote: “The map is not the territory.”

Until you understand that the map is not the territory, you’re not aware of the danger of words.

Words are never what they describe.

It’s so obvious on the one hand, but we actually don’t realize the meaning we ascribe to the phenomenon by the words we put on it.


The quote “a map is not the territory” comes from Alfred Korzybski, the father of general semantics:

A map is not the territory it represents, but if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness”.

To sum up, our perception of reality is not reality itself but our own version of it, or our own “map”.