The Maps and the Territory

This post is dedicated to my friend Dr. Kirsten Hacker, who is a multi-talented individual with incredible knowledge, creativity, and intuition about physics, life, authoring, and more. Kirsten introduced me to the quote “The Map is Not the Territory.”

The map–territory relation describes the relationship between an object and a representation of that object, as in the relation between a geographical territory and a map of it. Polish-American scientist and philosopher Alfred Korzybski remarked that “the map is not the territory” and that “the word is not the thing”, encapsulating his view that an abstraction derived from something, or a reaction to it, is not the thing itself. Korzybski held that many people do confuse maps with territories, that is, confuse models of reality with reality itself.

A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness.” — Alfred Korzybski, Science and Sanity, p. 58


It is an imperative that we reexamine the period 1870—1930 and revisit the concept of æther, which physicists believe in today but they won’t call it æther for some unknown reason — they call it the quantum vacuum. This has led to physicists attempting science in the hardest possible and most confusing way that leads to incorrect narrative, wrong answers, and lack of progress. There is a much easier way to approach physics and cosmology. I’ve written several posts that provide relevant background:

In this post I’ll illuminate a critical issue that has plagued physics and cosmology for 150 years (circa 1870 through 2020). That issue is the lack of a proper understanding of the maps (plural) of nature. While physics has an enormous body of work on relativity and frames of reference they have missed the fact that there are TWO maps of importance.

The first map is the base map of reality and nature, which describes a 3D Galilean/Cartesian/Euclidean space with absolute distance and absolute time. The is the intuitive geometry of Newton that we are all familiar with because of our experience in a low gravity part of the universe where the rules of Euclidean geometry apply to what we can observe with our senses.

The second map is used to describe Einstein’s spacetime. Nature is a trickster so the lowest level of emergence is a construct – a neutral æther composed of point charges. The spacetime æther contracts as local energy increases and expands as local energy decreases. To compound this complexity, general relativity and its descendants erroneously use a continuous Riemannian geometry to describe Einstein’s spacetime. The continuous geometry works well for many scales of interest, however, since the spacetime æther is actually constructed from fundamental particles, there are cases where it is important to understand how the geometry and behaviour of the spacetime æther differs from a continuous Riemannian geometry. The Riemannian geometry breaks down in the high energy regime. This is why physics has recognized the ultraviolet catastrophe and ultraviolet divergence and has introduced techniques such as renormalization to deal with non-perturbative geometry. The reason that the geometry is non-perturbative is that at high energy and at scales near the Planck scale we are working with real fundamental point charges, aka the electrino and positrino.

Map One

  • M1 is fundamental.
  • M1 includes 3D absolute space aka Galilean, Cartesian, Euclidean, Newtonian.
  • M1 includes absolute linear time.
  • There is no origin for space or time
  • There are no fixed points or waypoints
  • M1 is presumed to be infinite until we know otherwise and that includes past and future time
  • Some candidate symbols for Map One are :
    • As an entity : Map1 : M1 : M1
    • R4

Map Two

  • M2 is an emergent physical structure.
  • M2 describes Einstein’s spacetime.
  • M2 may be approximated by a continuous Riemannian geometry for applications at scales that do not require knowledge of the non-perturbative discrete nature of the fundamental point chargees.
  • A proper understanding of M2 requires modeling the discrete nature of spacetime æther particles.
  • Some candidate symbols for Map Two are :
    • As an entity : Map2 : M2 : M2

Physicists of the GR-QM era focus on relativity for observers in different reference frames within the M2 spacetime construct. That is the hardest way to do science on fundamentals. It is hard enough working in the Riemannian geometry. It is worsened by using a continuous Riemannian geometry when spacetime is actually a physical construct and isn’t smooth because it is a sea of point charge assemblies.

A particular example where this scientific misunderstanding of spacetime æther has led to enormous waste is the concept of a black hole singularity. When you have a geometry that includes zero, you can get divide by zero coordinate singularities. A century after Einstein, physicists will generally assert that the singularity is not real and represents a break down of general relativity theory. However, in the meantime there has been an enormous amount of wasted thought and creativity on things such as wormholes that capture the popular imagination and even the imagination of some scientists. With the proper understanding that the spacetime æther is a point charge assembly, then the ultimate core of a black hole becomes simply a very dense collection of Planck scale point charge – the ultimate battery where entropy and information reach zero. So while one might say, well the singularity was nonsense all along, this huge miss caused a huge amount of wasted scientific effort in topics like information theory and entropy.

Now that we understand the nature is described by two maps at the lowest level, the next challenges is to reframe science accordingly. We must

  • Be clear about which map is being used in narrative and equations.
  • Be able to translate concepts and equations mathematically from Map M1 to Map M2 and vice-versa.
  • Understand whether M1 or M2 or both are best suited for developing understanding of particular scientific use cases.
  • Understand which concepts in science are fundamental in M1 or emergent in M2. For example:
    • M1 includes classical electromagnetics and mechanics
    • The concept we call mass is emergent in M2 from the interaction of matter-energy and the spacetime æther.
    • What do we mean by the speed of a photon in M1 and M2?
    • What are the implications for velocity, momentum, acceleration, gravity?
    • Does the ads/cft correspondence and non-perturbative functions relate to the discrete particulate nature of spacetime æther in M2.

There is a tremendous amount of work remaining to be done, and the concept of Maps M1 and M2 are essential as we build the foundation for the next era in physics and cosmology with NPQG.

J Mark Morris : San Diego : California