I’m usually pretty allergic to discussions about map/territory relationships – they usually devolve to being as simplistic as the average discussion about ‘mental models’ (to which my default response is: there aren’t models and they aren’t mental, but it’s a 50%-decent metaphor) – but this is a good summary.
As so often, the best insight is in the Bateson quote:
We say the map is different from the territory. But what is the territory? Operationally, somebody went out with a retina or a measuring stick and made representations which were then put on paper. What is on the paper map is a representation of what was in the retinal representation of the man who made the map; and as you push the question back, what you find is an infinite regress, an infinite series of maps. The territory never gets in at all. … Always, the process of representation will filter it out so that the mental world is only maps of maps, ad infinitum.