How beautifully can someone convey a spirit ? How beautifully can someone grok a concept, GEB is here to stay. I had just finished reading this elegant material and found I’d write something about it.
Explaining the essence of interplay, strange loops, level mixing, by _using_ interplay, strange loops and level mixing, Hofstadter pushes his mysteries that has held him hooked right from the days he was marveled by Godel’s proof.
So what’s really beautiful about Godel’s proof ? Its a death sentence, a strict Godellian sentence brought down on mighty machines, mighty enough to self reflect. In so stating that anything that self reflects ends up being broken .. How ? can I then self reflect ? Here he brings the mayhem brought upon oneself by trying to understand the self.
I like the version of GOD’s Lamp, the Meta Lamp, the Meta-Meta-Lamp. Typed wishes, Type-less wishes, tortoise’s confession of meta agnosticism. The way the tonic of the music, becomes the tonic to push oneself up, the same pleasure you’d feel when you are back to the same part of the tune again . Maybe tonic’s the feeling of coming home ? Completely satisfying!
Personally I loved Godel’s proof, and I even more loved the way Hofstadter has explained it, through a liar paradox, the cantor’s diagonal, the uncle, and finally a string, a mighty string (G), a string whose very existence troubles us. Cause we have NO levels to judge it, we stand in a level and reflect on “G” and try to see if it true, it leads us to truth and quickly not long before we started it leads us to false.
The mind is the buddha ? The mind is not the buddha ?
Personally I would love to know what’s after death. I’d choose Tumbolia! the state where all our context is saved, all our lives all our memories..maybe that’s the lovely place where old Bach lives too ? along with Tortoise, Achilles, the Zen waving flag which wasn’t invented, the Crab ? Aunt Hillary ? Alisa P Hacker ? . It’s also the zen view of life after death, the place where all the dreamed characters would go when the dreamer wakes up. Tumbolia hosts the foster-child of silence and slow time.
And Old Bach ushers in with his canons, Fugues(not minds and machines, just music, Hofstadter does the rest).. what’s all this need ?Is this levels ?
No Not Lisp again!..I was simply fascinated by lisp’s computational expressiveness mixing code and data, for that which is code becometh data, and that which was data, runs your code(eq? (wishful.thinking)), Now Hofstadter teases me!! throws in this multi-level mixing ..four levels in the DNA process
((Metaevaluator, Evaluator, Code, Data).(Wishless.wishy.wishful.thought))
Probably the box and pointer of truth and beauty ? Working through this strange levels helps me reflect on my own levels ? Then Am I understanding myself ?
Like this Zen master who gives up trying to understand himself, any system powerful enough (Like you and Me?), to reflect on oneself, to contradict oneself, lives in an apparent state of falsehoods, paradoxes.
I think therefore I’d never understand myself.
Maybe I should pick on some Holism to try to avoid the notion of “me”, from henceforth me is not, but everything else, I’m this bigger picture… Again the notion is taken apart, tormented, played with, put apart, and given back to the very nature it claims to do, the bigger picture. But what really is the bigger picture ? (The MU), consisting of reductions, fractals ? the infinite ? stuff from which we mortals can never recover .
A Zen Master lives in a apparent state of contradiction ?
A Zen Master awakens an inner Gödel ?
To the tortoise who spots the “MU”
I loved the tortoise, I sometimes wanted a deep , beautiful deepest insight like it had, the slow patient creature, probably touched me ever so deeply with its insight. There was this part in the story when the trio gathers to listen to the story of ant eater talking to ant hillary. The slightest remark it made(very subtle.. call for astuteness) to Achilles when he pities the ant carrying the messages of its own death (Ignorance cause of Level Mixing ? ) …..I pity you missed the “G” note (running in the background) that you just uttered (“Gee I missed it”) . A astute reader would probably grin with the victory of spotting it ? Maybe you did..I did so too, but I stood up applauded , Hofstadter you reached me, you did, that one single metaphor went right through.
Now back to the Zen master, what awakens a(MUMON) zen master ? Complexity ? What awakes a formal system ? Self reference ? What puts these two in an apparent state of contradiction ? Giving rise to fractals between Truth and Falsity . Then comes the big number, nobody is spared, Nanjunamar who took upon him the task of contacting hardy (Ydrah ? ) , with his great mathematical proof , what can simply represent Najunamar (Ok.. it’s Ramanujan) Ramanujan’s talent ? It’s the Crab of course, the ability to spot a musical piece as a genuine koan by just listening to it ? Where the ‘f’ is the decision procedure ? Ramanjuan was smart, he could deliver result quickly but still these are interplay between levels , Fast reasoning, Chunking, short cuts, like chess, like computers, similar things which can do similar stuff ?
The more closer we come to consciousness we more we know what exactly is NOT consciousness. Soulists call it a soul ? I don’t know really, where were the souls before we were born , did our birth offshoot a soul and our death nullify it ? Or what really is Consciousness, the simple tiny fractal line between the greatest eternal sleep, the tiny fractal which never ends , which never begins, goes on and on.
Big Numbers ? Entropy ? (Which now is running down of time , everything runs down you see). Finally Turing shows up, Babbage shows up, they had to be conjured up by the author, all the foreplay was just setting up the stage for the characters to meet their masters. And when the characters realize they are not their own it sometimes is a weak reminder for us to reflect on our own free will; I have spent the better half of my life arguing about the existence of freewill. For me it seems finite (Scott Aaronson says it too!) . In simple words, our choices in our mind that we use to live, to choose situations, though many are limited, hence it’s a deterministic will, we are deterministic . Roger Penrose (Emertius) can live in his quantum world . If I the grandiose thinker can, then maybe even a machine can do the same thing, give a run for my arrogance, self reflect and ultimately understand and feel a little after reading GEB, marvel at its revelation, its bible, its genesis, its origin of beauty.
Finally my beautiful curvilinear language(Tamil!) ( I remember this from the first reading only) is also mentioned in this book, took me by surprise, it spoke about the messages that can be reconstructed from languages, codes. It gave a personal touch :) .
Recursion levels of recursion(characters talking to each other from other other’s stack) , Maybe SICP can take few from here, again SICP is bigger gem, standing away from the fads of this tech savy world, ushering mortals to the world of Apply&Eval, Truth&Beauty, Yin &Yang.
Something awoke in me when I was _made_ to grok this beautiful book, something that is sorta happy, excited, to see the world in a brand new sense, something that was genuinely genuinely genuinely written to convey a “spirit”, that is something that I’m sure won’t discover again.
The pristine nature of this relationship I shared with this book will probably never be found again..these are the kind of material which brings some inner intellectual awakening, the art of the great wizard, whose very touch imparts wizardry. There is so much to take from this material, I feel sort of gifted for having able to experience the experience I been part of, and learning a little about me.
So who am I ? I’m this delicate balance between my own self knowledge and my own self ignorance, I’m the Escher, Bach, and Godelian vortex where all levels cross, and become a tangled realization of the Eternal Golden Braid.