[Free Epub] ♲ Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid ♩ Gamegeek-denter.de

This book told me something about intelligence the smartest thing to do is to avoid this book s overly lengthy babblings of a self important graduate student who is way too impressed with himself It took this guy over 700 pages to illustrate by analogy his not particularly novel theory which he sums up finally as follows My belief is that the explanations of emergent phenomena in our brains for instance, ideas, hopes, images, analogies, and finally consciousness and free will are based on a kind of Strange Loop, an interaction between levels in which the top level reaches back down towards the bottom level and influences it, while at the same time being itself determined by the bottom level Duh. I could not with a clear conscience recommend this book to everyone, because I m simply not that cruel It would be like recommending large doses of LSD to everyone some small minority will find the experience invaluably enlightening, but for most people it s just going to melt their brain.While you do not need to be a professional mathematician to appreciate this, you really have to like math a lot You can t just sort of like it You can t just differ with the masses in not hating mathematics You can t just find it mildly interesting rather than utterly abstruse and inaccessible For example, you pretty much have to find the following joke to be hilarious There are 10 kinds of people in the world.Those who understand binary, and those who don t.If you are slapping your knee right now, then you might like this book If, during the course of slapping said knee, all the pens fell out of your pocket protector and landed scattered across the piece of paper you were using to make Venn diagrams to help you decide what to have for breakfast, that, of course, is even better.If you really like math, then this is going to be one of the best books you ve ever read Go get it now But if you really like math, then you ve almost certainly already read it If you haven t read it already, then you can t possibly like math enough to enjoy it Hmmmmm There s a recursive paradox in there somewhere Best not to think about it It might melt your brain. [Free Epub] ⚓ Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid ☧ Puede Un Sistema Comprenderse A S Mismo Si Esta Pregunta Se Refiere A La Mente Humana, Entonces Nos Encontramos Ante Una Cuesti N Clave Del Pensamiento Cient Fico Y De La Filosof A Y Del ArteInvestigar Este Misterio Es Una Aventura Que Recorre La Matem Tica, La F Sica, La Biolog A, La Psicolog A Y Muy Especialmente, El Lenguaje Douglas R Hofstadter, Joven Y Ya C Lebre Cient Fico, Nos Abre La Puerta Del Enigma Con La Belleza Y La Alegr A Creadora De Su Estilo Sorprendentes Paralelismos Ocultos Entre Los Grabados De Escher Y La M Sica De Bach Nos Remiten A Las Paradojas Cl Sicas De Los Antiguos Griegos Y A Un Teorema De La L Gica Matem Tica Moderna Que Ha Estremecido El Pensamiento Del Siglo XX El De Kurt G DelTodo Lenguaje, Todo Sistema Formal, Todo Programa De Ordenador, Todo Proceso De Pensamiento, Llegan, Tarde O Temprano, A La Situaci N L Mite De La Autorreferencia De Querer Expresarse Sobre S Mismos Surge Entonces La Emoci N Del Infinito, Como Dos Espejos Enfrentados Y Obligados A Reflejarse Mutua E Indefinidamente G Del, Escher, Bach Es Una Obra De Arte Escrita Por Un Sabio Versa Sobre Los Misterios Del Pensamiento E Incluye, Ella Misma, Sus Propios Misterios As I work my way through this dense book, I am reminded of the Zen tale of 4 blind men and an elephant To settle a dispute between townspeople over religion, the Zen master had 4 blind men and an elephant led in With the men not knowing it s an elephant, the Zen master had each feel a part of the elephant Each blind man gave a varying but inaccurate guess of what it was he felt In conclusion, the Zen master exclaimed that we are all like blind men We have never seen God, but can only guess based on our subjective feeling.In much the same way, each chapter in GEB is like feeling a part of an elephant Hopefully, by the time we touched each part, we have a good idea of what the book is about Here is my layman s take on what that elephant is, filtered by my interest in human cognition.G del, Escher and Bach The heart of this book is these Strange Loops that represent the activities inside our brains that turn into consciousness GEB uses art and music, in combination with math and computing, to illustrate these self referential loops The mechanic of the loops is represented by the works of the mathematician Kurt G del, the artist M.C Escher, and the musician J.S Bach Kurt G del s Incompleteness Theorem shows that a formula is unprovable within its axiomatic system G del s usage of mathematical reasoning to analyze mathematical reasoning resulted in self referential loopiness, basically saying a formula cannot prove itself M.C Escher creates visual presentations of this loopiness in his Waterfall and Drawing Hands.Finally, J.S Bach s Musical Offering were complex puzzles offered to King Frederick the Great in the form of canons and fugues A simple description of a canon would be a theme that played against itself, such as in Row, Row, Row Your Boat J.S Bach The Musical Offering s visual endless loops, G del s incomplete self referential theorem, and Bach s canons and fugues in varying levels help to illustrate the characteristics of consciousness The book alternates between Chapters and Dialogues The Dialogue is between Achilles and the Tortoise inspired by Lewis Carroll s What the Tortoise Said to Achilles , which in turn was inspired by Zeno of Elea s dialogue between Achilles and the Tortoise The purpose of the Dialogue is to present an idea intuitively before it is formally illustrated in the following Chapter GEB presents varying ways of explaining about systems and levels that create these self referential infinite loops.SystemsTo discuss intelligence, GEB starts off explaining the playground in which this takes place We re introduced to the idea of a formal system by the MU puzzle In a formal system, there are two types of theorems In the first type, theorems are generated from the rules within the system The second type is theorems about the system This puzzle contains the string MIU This system tells us to start with the string MI and transform it to MU by following certain rules After going through the process, we find that we cannot turn MI into MU following these steps no matter how long we try We would merely be generating countless strings To stop endlessly generating strings requires the second type of theorem in which we analyze the system itself This requires intelligence in which we gauge that this will be an endless task We then guess at the answer intuitively If a computer was told to try to generate the answer, it would go on ad infinitum We humans, however, would soon realize that this is a hopeless situation and stop We, the intelligent system, critiques ourselves, recognizes patterns, and jump out of the task it is assigned to do It is difficult, however, for us to jump out of ourselves No matter how much we try, we cannot get out of our own system We, as a self referential system, can talk about ourselves, but cannot jump out of ourselves Thus, it is impossible to know all there is to know about ourselves The countless self help techniques are testaments to that.Formal systems are often built hierarchically, with the high level meaning where consciousness lies building from the low level primitive functions The most interesting example of levels is in the typogenetics of the DNA GEB gives a detailed account of how enzymes work on the strands, with typographical manipulations creating new strands The new strands in turn act as programs that define the enzymes The enzymes again work on the strands This system of enzymes causing the creation of new strands, strands defining the enzymes, creates a change of levels as new information are created from the process Even readers who don t like math would find it interesting to see how the coding of our DNA works, as chemicals help to turn simple codes into us GEB gives further details on the complex process of chemicals and codes, but this is the basic idea.IsomorphismIsomorphism is a process of change that preserves information As intelligent beings, we are able to detect isomorphism and thus recognize patterns This allows a system to be interpreted in varying ways without losing important information This is illustrated by Bach s canons and fugues A canon can vary in complexity, in which the copies can vary in time, pitch, and speed Also, the copy of the theme can be inverted, in which the melody jumps down whenever the original jumps up The copy can also be played backwards, such as in the crab canon However the copy modifies itself, it still contains all of the information of the original theme Isomorphism is mathematically illustrated in the author s pq system invention In this system, we are able to perceive that the string p q means 2 plus 3 equals 5 , with the dashes representing numbers, p representing plus, and q representing equals The recognition of an isomorphism leads toisomorphisms, such as in the development of language This pattern recognition occurs countless times as part of our intelligence process such that we don t even notice it We regularly see patterns in our daily lives The lower level isomorphisms are so simple, that we only see explicit meanings However, the lower level isomorphism helps us to create the higher level isomorphisms.From our experiences, we all have lower level explicit isomorphisms from which we deduce new patterns These are our conceptual skeletons When we see new patterns, we create higher level isomorphisms until the system is consistent to us This process involves interplay and comparisons of our conceptual skeletons, seeing similarities and differences Our conceptual skeletons can even exist in different dimensions that enables us to comprehend the multiple meaning of this statement, The Vice President is the spare tire on the automobile of government When two ideas match in their conceptual skeleton, the mind is forced to link and create subideas from the match While this is an important function of cognition, it also can create erroneous beliefs This was illustrated visually with M.C Escher s painting, Relativity.When you look at this, do you see a puzzling world that does not follow the physical laws Most of us who are familiar with building structures expect some sort of an organization with stairs, gravity, and other physical laws If you are familiar with building structures, you would start off identifying the lower or established isomorphisms, the staircases, the people, etc From the lower isomorphisms, you create higher level isomorphisms with the new bizarre patterns that defy the physical laws Suppose a person viewing this is from a primitive tribe living in the forest, and have never seen a building What do you think that person would see when looking at Escher s art piece Perhaps that person would only see geometric shapes and nothing else, since there are no lower level isomorphisms of building structures, etc The Dreaming in Aboriginal art adds a further dimension to interpretation of geometric shapes.In much the same way, we build language based on isomorphisms Children increase their word count by identifying matches to words they already know Interesting problems with meaning comes when translating words from one language to the next, especially in literature and poetry, which often relies on implicit meaning to understand the content This implicit meaning can change according to a society s culture and history The author s book, Le Ton Beau De Marot In Praise of the Music of Language, seeks to analyze that by featuring the work of the French poet Cl ment Marot Figure and GroundThere are two types of figure ground The first one is cursive, in which the ground is only a by product or negative space of the figure, and is of less importance than the figure The second one is recursive, in which the ground is as important as the figure This idea is also compared to theorems and nontheorems, or provability and nonprovability, nonprovability being key to the Strange Loops that is at the core of this book.The chapter Figure and Ground starts with a set of rules for typographical operations which were used in the MU puzzle and the pq system, which is the mechanical process of the Turing machine, the parent of what we now know as computer intelligence Basically, the process involves reading and processing of symbols, writing it down, copying a symbol from one place to another, erasing the symbol, checking for sameness, and keeping a list of generated theorems This process of generating theorems is reliant on the sifting out of nontheorems The parallel to this is the idea of figure and ground, and the idea of recursion with figure and ground holding equal importance This is aesthetically explained using Escher s art, Tiling of the Plane Using Birds, and a discussion on melody and accompaniment.Figure and ground form the basis for the idea of recursive and recursively enumerable or r.e A recursive set is one in which figure and ground holds equal importance That is, its r.e and the complement of its r.e are equal However, GEB showed that there exists formal systems in which the figure and ground are not recursive, do not carry the same weight, and are not complementary Basically, this is saying that there are systems in which its nontheorems cannot be generated via a typographical decision procedure A typographical decision procedure sifts out nontheorems from theorems by performing tests that use the logic of the figure ground Hence, there exist formal systems for which there is no typographical decision procedure RecursionWe are led to the process of recursion Recursion is the process of building up from a block of structure The simplest explanation of recursion would be the visual imagery of the Russian Maruscha dolls, in which an item is nested within an item within an item However, this doesn t mean that a process is simply a replication of itself For example, in language, we start with smaller components such as words and phrases, and build up complex sentences from there The process is explained in GEB as push, pop and stack of Artificial Intelligence When you push , you are temporarily stopping what you are doing to do something else When you pop , you return to it but starting from where you left off, at one level higher To remember where you left off, you store the information in a stack The example given in the book is of someone answering multiple phone calls We use the push, pop and stack process especially in our usage of language The most complex example of recursion is in the genetic mechanism of DNA, in which the DNA molecules are formed from the smaller building blocks The defining characteristic of recursion is the change in levels, so that it is recursive instead of being circular Neurologically, this is illustrated in the process of how symbols interact with each other At its minimal are the bare particles that do not interact with others They are nonexistent since all particles interact with each other The process of interaction creates entanglement and a hierarchy of entanglements, a 6 degree of separation of infinite loops Recursion is a part of this entanglement.Recursion is reliant on sameness differentness The same thing happens with slight modifications and at a different level This is visually represented in M.C Escher s Butterflies image error This book was so metal G del s incompleteness theorem, which states that all consistent axiomatic formulations of number theory include undecidable propositions, is certainly a large part of what made the book so fascinating and addictive The issues of self reference and self awareness, and how they relate to both human and potential artificial intelligence, were likewise extremely compelling But the magic is in the math.Here is a brief summary of the G del in the book The above image knocked my socks off when I first saw it, and I m still running around barefoot The longer I think about it, theastounding it becomes No matter how many new branches you form on the trees, no matter how small they might be, there will always be some unreachable truth Wow No socks.The preceding picture by Escher demonstrates another key point of the book, to witsuch twisting back, such looping around, such self enfolding, far from being an eliminable defect, was an inevitable by product of the system s vast powerG del s second theorem states thatneither G nor its negation can be a theorem We have found a hole in our system an undecidable propositionYou can even see the corresponding hole in the drawing by Escher it is in fact necessary for the image to make senseThe fascinating thing is that any such system digs its own hole the system s own richness brings about its own downfall Once the ability for self reference is attained, the system has a hole which is tailor made for itself the hole takes the features of the system into account and uses them against the systemNo truly robust system can be consistent, and no consistent system can be truly robust.Thus far, I have attempted to summarize the main thematic elements of the book as succinctly as possible Now for some of the pros and cons of the book Pros It was conceptually packed full of food for thought The book had everything you could ask for logic, mathematics, philosophy, music, art, psychology, genetics, recursive paradoxes, bad jokes about recursive paradoxes, bad jokes about bad jokes about recursive paradoxes the list goes on and on Sorry, had to go there Anyway, I also thought that the examination of the nature of intelligence was a worthwhile portion of the book The Bongard problems were a particularly neat way of looking at meaning, pattern recognition, and how to program critical thinking analysis reasoning My personal favorite part, math wise other than G del s insanity of course , was Cantor s Diagonal Argument The infinitude of the real numbers never ceases to blow me away Just think of the all the real numbers contained between 0 and 1, for instance there is an infinite universe contained therein Infinite And that is only between two integers How many of those integer guys are running around again Oh yeah, quite a few Thus your mind is blown, or at least mine always isit s too beautiful to imagine Then you have Cantor s Diagonal Argument, which demonstrates this amazing property, and the proof smacks you right in the face with its elegance and its simplicity, its sheer genius By the way, I highly recommend looking at Cantor s argument on its own if you re that way inclined Basically, Cantor showed thatno exhaustive table of reals can be drawn up after all which amounts to saying that the set of integers is just not big enough to index the set of realsThe insidious repeatability of the diagonal argument indeed Goddammit math The field of real numbers is just so badass and beautiful.Cons The book was a bit repetitive at times, and muchlong winded than it needed to be Hofstadter s personality also definitely started to wear on me I love math puns and groaners as much as the next nerd, but one can be too cute, too clever The sense that the author was a little too satisfied with all his tricks and puns and overly witty structuring was often irritating In fact, it bordered on feeling smug and obnoxiousoften than not.Overall, however, no matter how annoying the author s too clever cleverness could be, the fact remains that the book explored some genuinely fascinating, complex conceptual realms, and did so in quite a bit of detail For that reason, it was an excellent read I ll leave you with two philosophical nuggets from the book the second is clearly humorous in tone, but fun to think about nonethelessFrom the balance between self knowledge and self ignorance comes the feeling of free will Everyone knows that the insane interpret the world via their own peculiarly consistent logic how can you tell if your own logic is peculiar or not, given that you have only your own logic to judge itself I don t see any answer I am just reminded of G del s second Theorem, which implies that the only versions of formal number theory which assert their own consistency are inconsistent from Randall Munroe Mouseover says This is the reference implementation of the self referential joke I know, I know, I know I m just kidding myself I m as likely to read this as a book on string theory Please don t Please don t tell me I have read a book on string theory, I m trying to forget the whole sordid story But I hope you like this.A friend of mine established The Harvester Press in the 1970s He did it on a wing and a prayer, he was a young teaching academic who couldn t find in print the old literary books he wanted to use as texts and so he set about publishing them He was probably as surprised as anybody when the idea quickly became viable He put together a list of books, sold them as a subscription to libraries and away he went He wasn t an academic any , he was a proper publisher with a strong reputation for intellectually high end output.At some point he got sent a completely insane looking ms, ridiculously long, bits of paper stuck on bits of paper, all these pictures which hadn t any copyright permission, and as for the titlewell, who was going to buy a book called that.he sent it back with a polite letter.Some years later he was in NY lunching with the boss of Basic Books, a US academic publisher He wanted to publish this strange ms he d been given As he was describing it, John interrupted with Godel, Escher, Bach I presume Evidently Hofstadter had gotten lucky and had on loan a very early word processor The whole thing was no longer the shambles it once was Basic Books was keen John got talked into taking some thousands of copies This turned out well for him, but What he had lost Ouch Godel, Escher, Bach in English and in translation would have made him many millions I won t say he cried about it, but he did ask for a discount on the books he was buying After such a sad tale it was impossible to say no. If I were clever enough, I would write this review as a fugue This is the formal structure that Hofstadter uses throughout G del, Escher, Bach Whether the whole book is a fugue, I m not smart enough to tell But the fugue is used as a metaphor for layers of brain activity, thoughts, superimposed over the hardware of the brain, the neurons.In fact, though I would recommend starting at the beginning of the book, I suppose one might begin anywhere and read through and back again, a la Finnegan s Wake No, the book isn t designed this way, but considering that I couldn t discern a solid central idea until page 302 of the book, and that this was only one of several theses in the book, I wouldn t be surprised if it proved possible to begin anywhere.The idea presented there is To suggest ways of reconciling the software of mind with the hardware of brain is a main goal of this book The question is, does it succeed I would argue that it does not.And it does not matter.There are some works, such as Giorgio De Santilliana s Hamlet s Mill or Daniel Schacter s Searching for Memory that are so vast and all encompassing that it is difficult to pin down one central thesis These are the kind of works that you might not understand in your lifetime, the thoughts of a genius transposed directly to paper that, unless you are an equally gifted person or a savant, you cannot hope to fully comprehend Still, the threads and nuggets of gold that are spread throughout make it worth the time spent in the dark mines of incomprehension, if only to find that one fist sized chunk of precious metal and appreciate its beauty set against the background of your own ignorance.As far as I can tell, the book is really about intelligence, both human and artificial Hofstadter does a lot of preliminary work priming the reader s brain with assumptions taken from theoretical mathematics and computer programming But don t let that scare you off I m no math whiz, but I found most of the logical puzzles at least comprehensible after a few careful reads Hofstadter also gives the occasional exercise, leaving the reader without an answer to his question Like all good teachers, Hofstadter understands that the students who work things out on their own are the best prepared students That doesn t mean that you won t understand many of the book s salient points if you can t successfully answer his questions You can But in order to understand the finer points, I suppose one would have to have a pretty good grasp on the answers to those questions.I don t.And it didn t matter.What did matter, for me, was having a little bit of a background in the idea of nested hierarchies and a smidgen of knowledge in non linear dynamics aka chaos theory For the former, I d recommend Valerie Ahl s seminal Hierarchy Theory A Vision, Vocabulary, and Epistemology For the latter, just do what you were going to do anyway and look it up on Wikipedia I won t tell anyone.The idea of nested hierarchies is central to the understanding of what makes human intelligence different from machine intelligence The short story is this human thought is structured from the ground up according to the basic laws of physics, in particular, electricity, because it is through electricity that neural networkswell, network The issue is that the layers interceding between neural electrical firings and human thought are tangled They are explainable, or ought to be explainable, by a series of tangled layers that lead up to the higher functioning of thought Again, this is one of the central points of the book.And this is the point where Hofstadter utterly fails.And it doesn t matter.You see, Hofstadter never convincingly shows those transitional layers between neural activity and thought, though he claims they must be there He claims that it should be possible to create an Artificial Intelligence AI that is every bit as human as human intelligence The problem is, how do you define human intelligence Hofstadter presents the problem like this Historically, people have been na ve about what qualities, if mechanized, would undeniably constitute intelligence Sometimes it seems as though each new step towards AI, rather than producing something which everyone agrees is real intelligence, merely reveals what real intelligence is not If intelligence involves learning, creativity, emotional responses, a sense of beauty, a sense of self, then there is a long road ahead, and it may be that these will only be realized when we have totally duplicated a living brain.One of the big issues in identifying whether an AI is actually intelligent is the notion of slipperiness The concept here is that human thoughts can deal in a larger possibility space my words than machine intelligence Hofstadter quotes from an article in The New Yorker, in which two statements are made that, while possible, would constitute lunacy on the part of anyone who actually believed them They are If Leonardo da Vinci had been born a female the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel might never have been painted. And if Michelangelo had been Siamese twins, the work would have been completed in half the time.Then he points out another sentence that was printed without blushing I think he Professor Philipp Frank would have enjoyed both of these books enormously.Hofstadter comments Now poor Professor Frank is dead and clearly it is nonsense to suggest that someone could read books written after his death So why wasn t this serious sentence scoffed at Somehow, in some difficult to pin down sense, the parameters slipped in this sentence do not violate our sense of possibility as much as in the earlier examples This allowable playfulness is something so complex and multi layered, that an AI would be hard pressed to correctly parse an appropriate reaction.This is just one case portraying the difficulty inherent in trying to define and understand intelligence and the connection between brain hardware and mind thought The book is rife with them I m not convinced that Hofstadter was fully convinced that there will ever be a machine so intelligent as to completely mirror human thought.And, one last time, it doesn t matter.This book has set me to thinking, thinking hard, about what it means to be human Not merely as an intellectual exercise, but deep in my emotional breadbasket, if you will, I feel human in a way that I can t explain when I think about the difficulty of trying to translate my hopes, fears, love, creativity, wordplay, happiness, sadness, and ambitions into machine language There has been a lot of talk lately about singularity, that moment when machines become self aware I m beginning to think that it will never happen And I m fine with that.Besides, Hofstadter gives an implicit warning when quoting Marvin Minsky, who said When intelligent machines are constructed, we should not be surprised to find them as confused and as stubborn as men in their convictions about mind matter, consciousness, free will, and the like.In other words, if we do somehow construct true Artificial Intelligence, with the same capacity for thought and feeling as human beings, whose to say the person we create isn t going to turn out to be a real douchebag Terminator, anyone The reading of a book and its interpretation are determined in part by the cytoplasmic soup in which it is taken up This reader s soup consists of a large portion of metaphiction This is how Hofstadter apparently intended to structure his work a Lewis Carroll styled dialogue between Achilles and Tortoise and friends introducing a subject followed by a rigorous but popularly accessible explication of that topic This is how I read Hofstadter s book as a crab canon A crab canon, as our musicologists will tell you, inverts and reverses the main theme of the canon I reversed Hofstadter s organization of the book, reading the dialogues as the primary portion and treating the chapters as their mere explication The fiction iscompelling than the non fiction As it should be.Is it a difficult book No Not if you were in the top 20% of your high school class, paid attention in your biology classes, your math classes, had some chemistry and physics, perhaps took a few 101 courses in college, had a course on logic or mathematical reasoning, know a bit about music Bach, of course , have some knowledge and interest in writing computer programs in things like BASIC and other computer programing languages popular in the 70 s and 80 s, play chess, etc In other words, an averagely intelligent citizen in an educated nation ought to have no great difficulty with this book What makes itthan a grab bag is Hofstadter s setting side by side a fairly diverse set of topics and tracing out homologies and isomorphisms and analogies all which ought to culminate in shedding some light on the nature of consciousness and the prospect of Artificial Intelligence.So but, what is made clear, if the prospect of AI is not, is that metafiction is not just a bunch of intellectual masturbation but is a fictioning which takes real things, ie, metamathematical structures, and uses them in structuring a story or fixing them into narrative metaphors Metaphictionists are, after all, also Realists For instance, everybody s favorite metaphictionist, John Barth, subscribes to popular science journals like Scientific American in order to mine them for metaphor He writes about his fascination with the coast line measurement problem and the prospect of structuring his fiction upon principles similar to such things as fractals, Mandelbrot and all that.Fictionists and novelists deriving their narrative structures from the sciences and philosophy is nothing new Laurence Sterne borrowed from John Locke the theory of the association of ideas 19th century social realism of the Zola and Dickens sort is inspired in part from marxist and other socialist movements Woolf s studies of experience could not have taken place without Husserl s phenomenology of consciousness How much fictional ink has been spent following Freud or feuding with Freud And you really really have to read Calvino s fantastical Cosmicomics Fiction does not simply come out of nowhere Form and content have always mutually determined each other in any fiction worth reading.So, shall we say that the form and content of our beloved metafiction of the past half century is in part derived from discoveries in mathematics and metamathematics G del s contribution A mathematical theorem which is about itself A set which has itself as a member Etc etcbut you get the idea perhaps I don t intend to publish a thoroughly researched and exhaustive catalogue of metaphiction with its each and every GEB correlate I m happy to just point the way And make my claim that all these wicked names thrown at metaphiction masturbatory, self indulgent, cold, pretentious, etcetc are simply wrong headed Metaphiction is about a real thing, our experience of self consciousness and what it makes us do I believe that this wicked name calling in regard to smart fiction is due to a defense formation against the trauma of being the kind of thing we are and the kind of world we make for ourselves, compulsively And that this defense formation dreams of a time when the recursive habit of thought could come to a comforting end in God s safe arms when consistency and completeness would both be simultaneously and within the same system, guaranteed That when God disappears from our metaphysical world, it disappears from our fictional world the omniscient, in control voice of Author God is gone replaced with G del Author and character become democratic equals providing characters with the metaphysical ladder up which they may escape this terrible mess the author has tried to create.Examples, gratis, formeta than you ll wanna shake your stick at and all of which occurred to my meta thinking brain whilst GEB ing John Barth, clearly, especially that seven story deep frame tale, Menelaiad from Lost in the Funhouse and I ve Been Told A Story s Story from Where Three Roads Meet Leyner s fantastic The Sugar Frosted Nutsack exemplifying the full inclusion of self within self including the inclusion, etc M.J Nicholls A Postmodern Belch although he wouldn t have thought that he had metamathematical bile in his bones and we ll let The Belch stand in for other such character escapcapades such as Mulligan Stew and At Swim Two Birds etc Robert Coover s The Adventures of Lucky Pierre and lot of his other stuff Should we point out obligatorily that DFW was not able to overcome metaphiction for very precise reasons But enough about me How about the book Read it It s fun Don t be overwhelmed with Hofstadter s two irritating verbal tics treating mind and brain as interchangeable synonyms and his tendency to characterize his philosophy of mind opponents as soulists Also, it s a 30 year old text addressing the question of AI much has changed and much has not changed Enjoy the damn thing Also, hey, forget the mostly forgettably bland prose It s no matter it merely functions But do notice that he s got a novelist s eye and ear for structure I dare say, with a few tweaks we d have a pretty good novel Pre Review Highlights pertaining to commentaries 1 8 Review tomorrow unless I say, Review tomorrow unless I say, Review tomorrow unless I say, Review tomorrow unless I say, Review tomorrow unless I say, Review tomorrow unless I say, Review tomorrow unless I say, Review tomorrow unless I say, Review tomorrow unless I say but you get the idea This is a nice book if you want to understand the G del incompleteness proof, and get an account that is both accessible and reasonably rigorous There s a lot of other fun stuff as well, but it s the G del proof that s the core of the book, and if that doesn t turn you on then you aren t really going to think GEB is worth the effort Personally, I would say that this is one of the most amazing things ever Theyou think about it, thebizarre it gets there are mathematical theorems that are true, but which you can t prove And not only can you can prove that that is so, you can even construct examples of such theorems It sounds about as possible as eating your own head, but it really works Hofstadter shows you the machine, takes it to pieces, and then puts it back together again and runs the engine Vroom PS I remember, not long after GEB came out, leafing through an interview with Sylvester Stallone The interviewer asked him what he was reading at the moment Godel, Escher, Bach, said Stallone It s really hard Probably Rambo is in real life a smart, well educated person, and this is deeply unfair to him, but I couldn t help finding it funny. Expand your mind Not for the faint of heart yet by no means dry Hofstadter makes some fascinating observations about emergent properties such as intelligence and diverts us into the extremely heavy mathematics of Godel via the self referencing systems that are Bach s fugues and Escher s optical illusion style artwork.Before too many chapters have passed though you ll be firmly in number theory land, albeit doled out as painlessly as is possible with such stuff, leavened with imagined philosophical debates between ancient Greeks and other proxies I seem to remember Achilles spends a lot of time talking to a tortoiseNumber theory requires no great resource of mathematical knowledge just an extremely agile and open mind If you let him Hofstadter will show you how Godel destroyed Betrand Russell s Principa Mathematica his attempt to logically deduce all of mathematics from a set of axioms Godel shows us that I paraphrase drastically that all logical systems allow statements about natural numbers that are true but unprovable within the system.And somehow this isn t even what the book s about As the pages turn you will be steadilytested and at some point it will become apparent you ve not been paying close enough attention However, even without taking pen to paper and labouring through the instructive exercises you can get a pretty decent glimpse at some exciting and fundamental thinking Join my 3 emails a year newsletter prizes..