04-17-2012, 11:17 PM   #1

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Mapping the Territory (courtesy of John Magee)

Charts are a visual record of price movement. If one isn't interested in price movement, one may not find much of value in them. As a map, however, they are about as close to the "territory" of price movement as you're going to get, one degree of separation, if you will.

But then we begin to fiddle with it: time bars, volume bars, tic bars, range bars, equivolume bars, candles, lines, histograms, etc, etc. Then we lay on the Fib and the Gann and the Wolfe and the Pivot Points. Plus all the infinite number of indicators with all their variations. Eventually price is nearly lost, and we can't even determine the trend, much less where we are in it. This is analogous to travelling someplace and drawing a map of that place, then moving on to some other place, checking off that particular task, believing that it's "done", relying on the map one has drawn for far too long. Revisiting that place after a number of years, one finds that the territory has changed dramatically, that landmarks and signposts are no longer there, that one's map bears little relation to what is, only to what was.

In the market, the transaction and the agreed-upon price is the "territory" and everything begins there. If we massage it, or ignore it entirely, we become disconnected with what the market is doing. In order to know what to do at the time that one needs to do it, one has to be connected with what is happening in front of him, not on a fanciful representation of it. He has to walk the territory, not just trace a route on a map, a route that may not even exist in the present.

Db
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