On Exactitude in Science . . . In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the map of the Empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it. The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast Map was Useless, and not without some Pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography.

Suarez Miranda,Viajes de varones prudentes, Libro IV,Cap. XLV, Lerida, 1658

From Jorge Luis Borges, Collected Fictions, Translated by Andrew Hurley Copyright Penguin 1999 .


Is this familiar?? Read this excerpt from the tradition of Dao:
Nature can never be completely described, for such a description of Nature would have to duplicate Nature.

No Name can fully express what it represents.

It is Nature itself, and not any part (or name or description) abstracted from Nature, which is the ultimate source of all that happens, all that comes and goes, begins and
ends, is and is not.

But to describe Nature as "the ultimate source of all" is still only a description, and such a description is not Nature itself. Yet since, in order to speak of it, we must use
words, we shall have to describe it as "the ultimate source of all."

Tao Teh King - Archie J. Bahm (Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1958)

and see Alfred Korzybski's "The map is not the terrory" , developed more clearly for biologists by Gregory Bateson ... and compare to McLuhan's "The Medium is the Message"