Mapping the Landscape Mapping Itself


[A little philosophy of language to kick off the year folks. Have a great 2017. The image is supposed to be a ‘3D model’ of a known unknown called ‘dark matter’.]

Mapping the Landscape Mapping Itself

There are more things twixt heaven and earth than are contained in thy philosophy, Horatio. (Shakespeare’s Hamlet)

As far as the propositions of mathematics refer to reality they are not certain, and in so far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality. (Einstein)

The frog thoroughly known in all its parts, juices, and processes, is a frog that no longer hops and catches flies on a lazy summer afternoon. (Walter Benesch, An Introduction to Comparative Philosophy, p. 197.)

The Buddha’s Diamond Sutra insists on truth being undeclarable. To declare is to use words, names, theories. Words and theories are (using Alfred Korzybski’s distinction) maps, not the landscapes themselves.


what if all words and theories are different ways of looking at the same thing, the same landscape?

What if no map (words or theory) can ever fully describe the whole landscape because to do so it would have to become, at the very least, as large as the landscape it is describing? If the landscape is all there is, then how can there be room for a map of the landscape that is as large as the landscape itself? (Unless of course, as in J.L. Borges’ story ‘The Library of Babel’, the universe itself recursively becomes one huge Library documenting itself…)

What if the landscape thus encompasses the map and the map-making but the map and the map-making cannot, by definition, ever encompass the landscape?

What if a life encompasses the writing about this life but the writing cannot, by definition, ever encompass the life?

What if the map-making is thus a possible form of recursive self-constructing which the landscape manifests as a way of ‘externally’ knowing (mapping) itself?

What if words grows out of a mind which grows out of life which grows out of the world which grows out of the cosmos like an apple grows from a tree?

What if we were thus BOTH the apple AND the tree, the landscape and the mapping of the landscape as it constructs or projects the map and the landscape, both, as in Chuang Tzu, a man dreaming he is a butterfly AND a butterfly dreaming he is a man?

What if ‘there is, brethren a condition’ in which this BOTH-AND state can sometimes be directly experienced in states labelled (mapped) negatively as ‘non-experience’, ‘no thought’, ‘no dream’, ‘no self’, ‘emptiness’, ‘silence’, ‘non-action’, ‘void-form’ etc. in which both-and is also neither-nor and all purposeful map-making ceases, and

Reality, the Landscape, is simply all there is and that Landscape is neither map nor thing nor self nor dream nor any thing at all, nor nothing?


~ by Peter Lach-Newinsky on January 8, 2017.

2 Responses to “Mapping the Landscape Mapping Itself”

  1. I can’t say I understand it yet but I like the direction the evidence is taking you/me/us Peter. Thank you

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