Within NLP we make a distinction between the surface and deep structure. The surface structure is where all the signs and symbols are.

Just as there are many things a general doesn’t want to know, and must not know if he is to keep hold of his overall view, so in our conscious mind there must be above all a drive to exclude, to chase away, a selecting drive – which allows only certain facts to be presented to it. Consciousness is the hand with which the organism reaches out furthest: it must be a firm hand. Our logic, our sense of time, sense of space are prodigious capacities to abbreviate, for the purpose of commanding. A concept is an invention which nothing corresponds to wholly but many things slightly: a proposition such as ‘two things, being equal to a third thing, are themselves equal’ assumes (I) things and (2) an equivalence – neither exists. Yet with this invented and rigid world of concepts and numbers, man gains a means of seizing by signs, as it were, huge quantities of facts and inscribing them in his memory. This apparatus of signs is man’s superiority, precisely because it is at the furthest possible distance from the individual facts. The reduction of experiences to signs, and the ever greater quantity of things which can thus be grasped, is man’s highest strength. Intellectuality as the capacity to be master of a huge number of facts in signs. This intellectual world, this sign-world, is pure ‘illusion and deception’, as is every ‘phenomenal thing’ – and ‘moral man’ will probably be outraged! Oust as, in his calculations, Napoleon considered only man’s most essential instincts and was entitled to ignore the exceptional ones, e.g., compassion – at the risk of miscalculating now and again.)

Notebook 34, April-June 1885 paragraph 131