Gödel, Escher, Bach Quotes

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Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter
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Gödel, Escher, Bach Quotes (showing 1-11 of 11)
“Meaning lies as much
in the mind of the reader
as in the Haiku.

Douglas R. Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
“How gullible are you? Is your gullibility located in some "gullibility center" in your brain? Could a neurosurgeon reach in and perform some delicate operation to lower your gullibility, otherwise leaving you alone? If you believe this, you are pretty gullible, and should perhaps consider such an operation.”
Douglas R. Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
“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. ”
Douglas R. Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
“The paraphrase of Gödel's Theorem says that for any record player, there are records which it cannot play because they will cause its indirect self-destruction.”
Douglas R. Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
“This idea that there is generality in the specific is of far-reaching importance.”
Douglas R. Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
“What is an "I", and why are such things found (at least so far) only in association with, as poet Russell Edson once wonderfully phrased it, "teetering bulbs of dread and dream" -- that is, only in association with certain kinds of gooey lumps encased in hard protective shells mounted atop mobile pedestals that roam the world on pairs of slightly fuzzy, jointed stilts?”
Douglas R. Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
“I can't help but recall, at this point, a horribly elitist but very droll remark by one of my favorite writers, the American "critic of the seven arts", James Huneker, in his scintillating biography of Frédéric Chopin, on the subject of Chopin's étude Op. 25, No. 11 in A minor, which for me, and for Huneker, is one of the most stirring and most sublime pieces of music ever written: “Small-souled men, no matter how agile their fingers, should avoid it.”

"Small-souled men"?! Whew! Does that phrase ever run against the grain of American democracy! And yet, leaving aside its offensive, archaic sexism (a crime I, too, commit in GEB, to my great regret), I would suggest that it is only because we all tacitly do believe in something like Hueneker's' shocking distinction that most of us are willing to eat animals of one sort or another, to smash flies, swat mosquitos, fight bacteria with antibiotics, and so forth. We generally concur that "men" such as a cow, a turkey, a frog, and a fish all possess some spark of consciousness, some kind of primitive "soul" but by God, it's a good deal smaller than ours is — and that, no more and no less, is why we "men" feel that we have the perfect right to extinguish the dim lights in the heads of these fractionally-souled beasts and to gobble down their once warm and wiggling, now chilled and stilled protoplasm with limitless gusto, and not feel a trace of guilt while doing so.”
Douglas R. Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
“People enjoy inventing slogans which violate basic arithmetic but which illustrate “deeper” truths, such as “1 and 1 make 1” (for lovers), or “1 plus 1 plus 1 equals 1” (the Trinity). You can easily pick holes in those slogans, showing why, for instance, using the plus-sign is inappropriate in both cases. But such cases proliferate. Two raindrops running down a window-pane merge; does one plus one make one? A cloud breaks up into two clouds -more evidence of the same? It is not at all easy to draw a sharp line between cases where what is happening could be called “addition”, and where some other word is wanted. If you think about the question, you will probably come up with some criterion involving separation of the objects in space, and making sure each one is clearly distinguishable from all the others. But then how could one count ideas? Or the number of gases comprising the atmosphere? Somewhere, if you try to look it up, you can probably fin a statement such as, “There are 17 languages in India, and 462 dialects.” There is something strange about the precise statements like that, when the concepts “language” and “dialect” are themselves fuzzy.”
Douglas R. Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
“I enjoy acronyms. Recursive Acronyms Crablike "RACRECIR" Especially Create Infinite Regress”
Douglas R. Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

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