As malleable as it is, I cannot help but doubt my perception. It turns out that the process of understanding and memorising are creative processes, with our mind making changes in accuracy for better and faster comprehension of the subject. Then again, the truthfulness of perception can in turn be questioned and reaffirmed by further observation and reasoning. In that way, an ‘accurate representation’ is a product of logic and imagination as a much as our sensory perception.
Our reasoning skills are useful for mapping out spaces and places into a comprehensible whole. Maps, however, have their limits: they are a description of a place in a particular moment of time, in a fixed set of conditions. Most of our environment keeps altering over time. As a description of a changeable phenomenon without constant revision maps become inaccurate or outdated. In the end, the most actual description of a place we can have is our own present experience.
All in all, as Alfred Korzybski has famously said, “a map is not the territory”, but “if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness”. Definitions and maps are tools for perception — they do not replace the actual experience, but can help us understand it.