Friday, September 4, 2009

Territories versus maps ...

I'd like to add to the post on Money & Writing & Desire the quote by Korzybski: The map is not the territory.

I don't know where I first read it. I butchered it for years. In fact, I used to say, "Don't confuse the territory for the map," because this was what I did more than I wanted to.

And I still very well may be interpreting the quote wrong. I can only tell you that in those very lean years, it protected me from my desires for the material. If I wanted something of the world and unnecessary, I reminded myself that buying it was like buying a map when you want the land.

It was a thing I held in my hands that would represent a life that I wanted. But it wasn't the life I wanted. It was only a map, a flimsy piece of paper in my hands.

I didn't want the photo album, I wanted the trip. I didn't want the good dining room table, I wanted the conversation with my family while eating. I didn't want my kids to one day have a good job that could afford them a big fat house, I wanted to give them a good education.

I don't want a picture of the life hung on the wall. I want the life.

The world offers you lots and lots of maps. In every store, there are maps for sale. If you spend all your time and money and energy buying maps, you'll have nothing left for the land.

Harder still, in life, you've got to imagine your own land and find it or create it. Easier to buy a map, yes, but not as enduring...