Or perhaps correspondence…(Asking after the Nature of Nobody, pt. 3)

from pt. 2:

This is a portion of a map that does not represent the territory.  There are, perhaps, moments – instances – in which I fit with my surround – but usually it is organizing a mapping conference of sensation, affect, percept and infinite inputs coupling to pre-formed acquired categories and classes, fuzzy generalizations to stencil lines and rivers, mounds and fissures with very little correspondence to the world.

It writes this as “my world,” or “the world that I in-habit.”

Or perhaps correspondence…

(Asking after the Nature of Nobody, pt. 3)

…is precisely what is occurring.

“Each biological life-form, by reason of its distinctive bodily constitution (its ‘biological heritage,’ as we might say), is suited only to certain parts and aspects of the vast physical universe.  And when this ‘suitedness to’ takes the bodily form of cognitive organs, such as our own senses, or the often quite different sensory modalities discovered in other lifeforms, then those aspects and only those aspects of the physical environment which are proportioned to those modalities become ‘objectified,’ that is to say, made present not merely physically but cognitively as well…the difference between objects of experience and elements of sensation is determined primarily not by anything in the physical environment as such but by the relation or, rather, network and set of relations that obtains between whatever may be ‘in fact’ present physically in the surroundings and the cognitive constitution of the biological organism interacting with those surrounding here and now.”

-John Deely, Umwelt

Given the apparent disjunction of its maps to the potential largesse and intricacy (unknowns) of the territory, it reconsiders.

It thinks it may be inextricably related to the territory.  In no way accurately or exhaustively (in relation to the territory) yet constitutively via what kind of co-respondence pertains (in relation to the species of which it is an example).

In other words, by inter-relation to the territory, and by nature of its dynamic organismal systems of sensation-perception-cognition and communication (+ language – the capacity to model the above relational systems): it is I.

It co-evolves personhood.  The capacity to refer to an I among Is.  An individual personality among a We.

Map and territory, co-respondent.  The map being a model of that correspondence and correlation.  Therefore, of course it is idiosyncratic and fraught with misperceptions, disjunctions and erroneously organized interpretations and representations of the networked environments…yet the map = correspondence with the territory in species-specific experience.


Correspondences of one to many and many to one, and to a very delimited aspect of the territory, but still constructed by real linkages (reciprocal relations and responses) to that “Territory.”

Bees’ links look different.  If a lion were to speak we would not understand.  Every organism its own relations to the territory, selecting and responding, sensing and processing various aspects of the territory into species-specific lifeworlds, but correlated and corresponding particular to their kind.

Or…our maps are our maps.  Ever changing, adapting, responding to our environments and experiences, genuinely related to the territory, representations of our habits of being in the world (in-habit-ing it as humans).

I can’t lay claim to truth about the territory, but my maps derive from it and shape my forays within it, can be shared and examined, evaluated and adjusted with other mapmakers, and trusted as the experience of a peculiar entity of a particular species modeled in reciprocal relation to specific environs of the territory.

“The map is not the territory” but a model, a depiction, a fragment co-evolved in and with that territory, a specific kind of rendering and representation, and valuable for the explorer-species of the sign.

Umwelt by John Deely

9 thoughts on “Or perhaps correspondence…(Asking after the Nature of Nobody, pt. 3)

  1. Place is a story someone has inhabited, long ago, leaving signs,debris, memory. A place where no one has been exists nowhere, inhabited by jealous dragons, guarding their own history. Blank space waiting for words, instructions. Place: a time that piles up upon itself, memory on memory, making ghosts that sing sweet, terrible songs. ( your mountains sometimes like now, are rarified so I am dizzy, breathless, just keeping a blurry eye on the rope that stops me from sliding voidwards, apologies if I ramble – too much or too little oxygen, words dance, stumbling along a taught line of thought). Maps, though, maps! A dream symbol, a thing of hidden findings, a brain turned inside out!

  2. How does new technology (like having your car verbally give you driving directions) affect a person’s or even communities map or sense of place? If we can get a street view of nearly any place, doesn’t that radically spin our sense of place in this world, our inner map? Also the car erased our maps and rewrote what our mapping system our sense of place in the world. Before we placed ourselves by natural land markers we could see and walk to and feel. Now with a car, how do we mark our physical maps vs our inner maps? How has this changed our relationships between the I and We as technology spreads us farther apart while at the same time making it possible for us to be virtually next to each other continually? So many unanswered questions. . . .

  3. indeed – and important ones. friends of mine suggest viewing technology increasingly less as an “other” and more as extension, thereby blurring the inner/outer conception of the universe, both points of view biologically represented (immune system signals “other” and defends “self”) our matter-energy organization is highly permeable and symbiotic (little inner/outer distinction)…good questions

"A word is a bridge thrown between myself and an other - a territory shared by both" - M. Bakhtin

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