Regrowing the deposed Knatz.com / Teaching / Thinking Tools / Semiotics /
Semiotics, Semantics … Intelligence, Survival
Korzybski laid the foundation for modern semantics (and for semiotics as a whole) when he emphasized that “the map is not the territory.” The two are of different existential types; and, symbolic representations are never perfectly accurate. In 1492 Spanish navigators mapped the earth at scales they could only guess at but invariably without North or South America being represented: or Hawaii, or Australia. Columbus remapped the world at a smaller size, one in which India would be reachable by sailing west from Spain, but still without any inkling of the Americas. When Columbus “discovered” the “new” world, he still believed he had ion fact sailed to his intended destination: India. Today our maps of the earth have verifiable correspondences to the planet’s extension, the Americas, the Pacific are shown. But they’re still symbols, and we can trust that there are still refinements to be made. Nevertheless, as we hope to survive, we know we have a vested interest in accuracy. We won’t pay for pictures of dragons or for messages such as “Here endeth the world.” There’s less discrepancy between map and territory in today’s maps at least with regard to geography.
Were we intelligently interested in survival we’d also strive to see that other maps also have their errors reduced.
I’ll develop this as I can. I’m writing in the context of just having scribbled the post at my IonaArc on Pretend Authority.