The Wrong Reality Map Can Kill You
Reality mapping allows individuals, organizations, and nations to use belief systems to chart a path through the universe. A reality map is a set of conceptual boundaries that determine the limits of expectations, what is—and is not—possible in a particular belief system.
Around 1300 [B.C.E.], a Hittite king used his reality map and the excuse of a timely eclipse to declare a politically meddlesome queen guilty of witchcraft and have her executed, in accordance with the belief system of his people. Homeric Greeks never sailed out of sight of land in their long ships. They hugged the coast, because their reality maps told them that any seagoing ship would be lost and their belief systems peopled the sea with deadly sirens, monsters, and gods. In the time of Alexander the Great, when his archrival, the Persian king Darius, wanted to cross a river with his army, the entire army stopped while the king threw hot manacles into the river and disciplined it according to the reality map of the day. If the river gods where not beaten and shamed into submission, said the belief system of the Persian army, any attempted crossing would end in disaster.
The wrong reality map can kill you, because your reality map sets your expectations. The right reality map can free you, vindicate you, or make you a hero. For individuals, nations, and cultures, all empowered by belief systems, reality maps are often the place where history is made and fates decided. The reality map of a nation defines its character and charts its destiny. Your reality map comprises the boundary conditions of your personal universe. It defines for you what is possible and impossible. It is the reference system you use to determine whether a phenomenon is real or unreal—or whether an event is an act of God, a trick of fate, or a simple coincidence.
— John B. Alexander, Richard Groller, and Janet Morris, The Warrior’s Edge, p. 103-105