The map is not the territory is the idea that the way we see the world isn’t reality itself. We don’t respond to reality. We respond to our internalized map of reality. How we represent things are our interpretations. Interpretations may or may not be accurate.
All maps are inaccurate to some extent. A map of a street would need to be as large and detailed as a street to be accurate. A map is a summary of what we deem to be the important features.
If we have inadequate maps, we don’t see all our choices. Re mapping is an important problem solving strategy. Our language reveals the maps and models we use to guide our behavior. Communication is how we explain the world to others and ourselves. This is why the Meta Model is such an important tool, it enables re mapping.
As human beings, we input output and process information about the territory around us. Our five sensory systems code this information. Our five senses (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory and gustatory) are the language of our brain.
The NLP term for these five sensory systems is Representational Systems. When people communicate, they translate their experience into words. Language is a representation of our sensory representations, a map of another map. Words have no built in meaning. Words only have meaning in that they trigger sensory representations in a speaker or listener.