The Role of Models
"Models are lies that lead us towards the truth." - Anon.
"All models are wrong, but some are useful." - George E.P. Box
"Make your theory as simple as possible, but no simpler." - A. Einstein
"...And then comes the grandest idea of all! We made a map of the country, on the scale of a mile to the mile!"
"Have you used it much?" I enquired.
"It has never been spread out yet," said Mein Heer, "The farmers objected: they said it would cover the whole country and shut out the sunlight! So we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I assure you it does nearly as well." - Lewis Carroll
On Exactitude in Science . . . In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the map of the Empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it. The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast Map was Useless, and not without some Pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography.
- Suarez Miranda,Viajes de varones prudentes, Libro IV,Cap. XLV, Lerida, 1658 From Jorge Luis Borges, Collected Fictions, Translated by Andrew Hurley Copyright Penguin 1999 .