In a long blog post titled "The Lay of the Land," Peter Richardson discusses the way that humans experience landscape and how to best represent that in a relief map. It's a fantastic read. Below, emphasis mine.
Every representation, in every medium, is subject to procedural artifacts and the judgements of its creators. Some artifacts are more obvious, and some judgements less expressly intentional, but all of our attempts to process and describe our surroundings must contend with these forces.
This fact echoes life in a body made of sensors, all wired to a brain – our experience is the sum of heavily-processed and filtered inputs. There are no guarantees of absolutes in the information we are exploring, and every sensor is a filter. And the more we learn about physics, the more we understand that we are afloat in a sea of statistical likelihoods, and that our ability to group sensations into a world of coherent, individual objects is a very free interpretation of the available data.
So it makes sense that we gravitate toward models. Unless you believe you have direct access to the world of pure being, models are all we’ve got. I’d like to get better at working within these constraints, and in understanding and manipulating them to our advantage.
Via Alexis Madrigal.