Friday, August 22, 2008

Maps and Territories of the Beijing Olympics

Here you can see the Running Man logo of the Beijing Olympics—in the cross-hairs of a rifle scope.

Do I have your attention now?

Korzybski presented three fundamental new non-aristotelian premises for consciously evaluating humans:
1. A map is not the territory.
2. A map covers not all characteristics of the territory.
3. Mapping constitutes a potentially self-reflexive process, i.e., you can revise a map, i.e., make a map of a map, and a map of that map, etc.

Now when he was talking about maps, he wasn't talking about just geography maps, he was referring to any sort of representation, which could include the images you see on television, movie, newspapers and websites, what someone says or writes, what you perceive when you look out of the window, your favorite or un-favorite belief system, etc.

Korzybski's three premises, interconnected, serve as guides, heuristics that we can use as we navigate through the territory of life because...let's face it, don't fool can't navigate without some kind of maps. Premise number 2 reminds us to remember to ask: What is getting left out of this or that particular map? Am I missing something important? What else should I know about what's going on here?

If you've been watching and enjoying the coverage on television of the Beijing Olympics, those questions also apply: What has the coverage left out? And, if there exists some systematic way in which some things have not been covered, how has that happened? and who are responsible?

Mark Alexander has written an article about some important things left out of the mainstream media Olympic coverage. He presents a valuable (in my opinion) map of the maps we have gotten on television and elsewhere. Enjoy the rest of the Olympics this weekend and read China's Porcelain Facade

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