The Difference between The Map and The Territory
In my last article, I discussed the idea that you should use whatever occult or mental discipline most inspires you. I equated this discipline to a kind of propellant and a rocket, that could be used to get you off the material space.
But as I mentioned in the article, once that discipline has taken you far enough, I said that you should strive to go beyond it, to be able to get off the rocket as it were, because if you did not, you might be stuck within the limitations of that discipline itself, within the boundaries of that rocket, and in that sense you would go from one trap to another.
After posting that article, I received some feedback that was wonderful in helping to clarify some key points, and it is my desire to further define and give clarity to a key issue that I think are of extreme importance.
This key issue has to do with a fundamental facet of the way of inner alchemy, one that is so important that I feel needs to be further described and redefined from another angle here, and one that is seldom defined in exactly this particular fashion, at least in my opinion.
To try to explain this in the best way possible, I could say that a key component of any particular inner discipline, that is any good mental or occult science, is that such a discipline makes it clear at some point as you progress through it, that, as Alfred Korzibski said, the map is not the territory.
And beyond this, and this is the important part, this discipline gives you a starting technique, for learning how to see the territory yourself directly.
So, whether you are studying the Kabbalah, ceremonial magic, alchemy, Wicca, or whatever else, if such a mental discipline is worthy of you, then it should be spelled out as you progress within that discipline, that the map is not the territory. And within such a discipline, there should be some effort made for the practitioner to be able to go beyond that map, and to see the territory that is the foundation of that map.
What this statement basically means, the map is not the territory, is that the description of a thing, a theory of a thing, a model for a thing, the discipline itself, is not the thing in itself, it is instead just a map of the actual thing. So, in the context of this article, if we think of alchemy for example, we could say that the model of alchemy, the discipline of it, its basic foundational terms and symbolism, its dogmatic principles, are in essence the map, they are not the territory itself. As such, it is always the case that as the adept progresses and moves beyond the many restrictions that are imposed on them in this material world, that they also begin to understand that alchemy itself is not the ultimate truth, that it does not hold some kind of underlying meaning to existence in and of itself, but that it is itself just the model to try to explain something that is beyond all models. In other words, the territory is beyond all maps.
To explain further, I could say that, no matter which phenomenal structure you use, which model, no matter which mental discipline you are using therefore, such a model because it is trying to define something that is beyond itself, must use a communicative process, a language, that in and of itself could never explain the territory, but at best could only give the clearest and cleanest, the most impeccable if it is a good discipline, map of a territory that exists outside of it, beyond it.
A simple and accurate way to think of this, is to imagine the idea that certain explorers travel outwardly, far beyond their country of origin, and through those travels they are able to discover new lands, new territory. Then when such voyagers return to their original place, and in trying to explain the nature of that land they saw, and the way to get to that distant country, they create maps, the most accurate maps possible for them, so that others might be able to travel to those lands themselves. The maps therefore are highly useful, all important sometimes, but they are not the territory itself, they are just a way to understand and get to that land where those intrepid scouts have gone.
This was all discussed in the last article, using my version of a map to try to define the reasons why you must discover that territory for yourself. But in doing so, while it is my hope that such an article was in and of itself concise, a point that needs to be addressed with far more precision and clarity, is that the physical senses cannot in the case of the kind of territory that inner alchemy is talking about, for example, perceive the territory.
The physical senses can only perceive the map, only the inner senses can perceive the territory.
The map is not the territory. The inner senses allow you to see the territory, the physical senses allow you to see the map. The map is useful to traverse the territory, but once you have gone far enough you must throw away the map. The map, no matter how useful and how powerful it seems to be, holds no underlying fundamental truth, the only way to truth is to perceive the territory directly yourself, to use the inner senses yourself, because everything else beyond the inner senses is in a way folly, it is just a model, a map, in broader terms the map is a kind of illusion.
The key and important point here, the reason for this article, is to explain that the physical senses can only see the map, it is only the inner senses that can see the territory.
The land that inner alchemists are trying to describe, the territory that they have travelled to, is so distant and so far, you could say, that the physical senses can never be used to perceive such a land. This is of key importance, the physical senses can only perceive the map, it is only using the inner senses that you will be able to perceive the territory that alchemy is trying to describe.
Inner alchemists therefore strive to develop their inner senses, because if they do not then they will be stuck potentially believing that the map is the territory, and this can be a costly mistake. Given enough time, it is a fatal one.
The map is very useful, it allows us to traverse and to work effectively within this dimensional space where the physical senses work relatively well. Our maps therefore are necessary and can be highly useful if used effectively, but in order to go beyond the limits of those maps, we must learn to engage our inner senses, and develop our own maps as we progress further and further.
There is no greater truth in the map. If such a thing is perceived when one studies a map of occult science, if one feels that there is some kind of underlying truth in a particular model, then the perception of such an underlying truth comes from the fact that the map is so good, that it accurately describes many of the aspects of the vastness to be found beyond this physical dimension, and being that this discipline, this model, seems to go beyond this purely physical dimension, it seems like the model is better than the purely material world, and it therefore hold some kind of fundamental truth about reality. But this can be a dangerous mistake, because in the end a map is just a map, and it is imperfect being that it is bound to this material dimension.
As such, this map then seems to, and truly does in a way to some extent, provide a kind of greater truth within physical parameters, in that thanks to it one can understand things even beyond this physical dimension. But such truth is relative as I will explain, and without understanding the use of the inner senses, those truths become obsolete the minute that they are communicated.
So, to explain this relativeness further, this instant obsolescence, I could say that for the current of inner alchemy, the only truth is energetic truth, the only foundational truth, therefore, is that which can be perceived by the inner senses only. And such perceptions are, of the moment only, they exist in the moment only, there is no past or future in them.
In other words, there are no pasts, or future projections in the perceiving of the territory using the inner senses, there is only direct perception in the infinite now moment point. As such, in accordance with inner alchemy as it is practiced by my current, we can define dogma as something that is stuck within a linear time model, that is, it is something that has a past and future, something of the physical world, something that can be perceived by the physical senses. While energetic truth, the perception of the inner senses, is something that goes beyond linear time models, beyond all material dimensional rules, and exists in an infinite moment point that is beyond the perceptions of the physical senses, and the language, the phenomenology, of physical reality, of the limited physical dimension.
The physical senses work within physical space. It is within this physical space that we communicate to each other, and such communication, being that it is happening within the physical dimension, must abide by certain rules, and the biggest rule being linear time. What this means is that in the physical dimension time is a linear event, the vastness of the now moment point is not perceivably possible for the physical senses, therefore that infinite moment point is filtered, broken apart and fed to the physical senses and the physical cognitive structure, in accordance to a linear time model, where we see the infinite moment point separated into a past, present, and a potential future.
Being that all dogma exists within the physical dimension, all dogma has a past, present, and a future. The territory described by inner alchemy on the other hand, is not bound by such linear frameworks. Such a territory exists and is part of an infinite now moment, as such any map that relies on linear time to try to describe something that is outside of such a time limitation, is flawed the minute that it was created, because the moment that it was created it attained a kind of stasis that binds it to a very limited causal framework.
A more useful way to see this, would be to say that even though a scout and adventurer might have travelled to distant territory, and may have seen incredible wonders and incredible energetic truths there, on their return to their country of origin, to their home dimension in this case, in order to describe and communicate where they have gone and what they have seen, they in essence have to create a map of that territory. But that map, by the time it is created and it is being used by others who are hoping to go to that same place that the scout discovered, is already in some ways obsolete, because even though this map is static, unchanging on the page that it has been drawn, the territory that it is describing does continue to change, is continually changing. As such, that map needs to be constantly updated, but only updated by those that can truly see, that have seen the territory. This is an infinitely important point.
As such, maps can be a dangerous thing, they can lead you astray. And in that sense then, inner alchemy tries to offset the dangers of the map by always making it clear to the practitioners of inner alchemy, that a key balancing component of the current, is the ability to right from the outset, begin to practice using the inner feelings sense.
Nothing out there is true, nothing that you look at, touch, smell, taste, or hear, using just your physical senses is true, it is just a filtered and constrained possible representation of something that was, and that continues to evolve, beyond the physical brain structure. If you would like to know more about this, I recommend reading the book, The Occult Experience.
In order to be able to begin to use the inner senses yourself, I recommend the book The Magnum Opus, a step-by-step course, there in chapter 4, I describe how to use the inner feelings sense, and that, using such a technique but extending it further and developing through your own practice, will be the only way that you will discover any fundamental truth to anything. Only through the continual use and development of the inner feelings sense, will you ever have a chance of accurately and truthfully seeing the territory yourself directly.