(Dis)Proof of the map at 1:1?

Alfred Korzybski (1933, 58) famously argued that "the map is not the territory." The full paragraph reads:

"Two important characteristics of maps should be noticed. A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness. If the map could be ideally correct, it would include, in a reduced scale, the map of the map; the map of the map, of the map; and so on, endlessly, a fact first noticed by Royce."

But an approximation of the infinite-mirror of representation is possible. The village of Bourton-on-the-Water, an idyllic village in the Gloucestershire Cotswalds, England, includes a 1/9th-scale model of itself, built in the 1930s by the owner of the Old New Inn pub as a tourist draw:

Bourton-on-the-Water model village

In the coverage given to the award of Grade II protection status by the British government to the model village, news accounts mentioned that the model includes a model of itself! It can be seen in the foreground:

Model of the Model Village

Fortunately, the 1/81st-scale model of the 1/9th-scale model does not include a further, 1/729th-scale model!


Korzybski, Alfred. 1933. Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics. Lakeville, Conn.: The International Non-Aristotelian Library Publishing Company.