Deep down, your brain is a chaotic seething soup of particles. On a higher level, it is a jungle of neurons, and on a yet higher level, it is a network of abstractions that we call “symbols.” The most central and complex symbol you call “I”. An “I” is a strange loop where the brain’s symbolic and physical levels feedback into each other and flip causality upside down so that symbols seem to have gained the paradoxical ability to push particles around, rather than the reverse.
For each human being, this “I” seems to be the realest thing in the world. But how can such a mysterious abstraction be real–or is our “I” merely a convenient fiction? Does an “I” exert genuine power over the particles in our brain, or is it helplessly pushed around by the all-powerful laws of physics? These are the mysteries tackled in I Am a Strange Loop, Douglas R. Hofstadter’s first book-length journey into philosophy since Godel, Escher, Bach. Compulsively readable and endlessly thought-provoking, this is the book Hofstadter’s many readers have long been waiting for."
Session 1; Preface, Prologue and Chapters 1-4
- Q1; When you state your “I” how is it identified? (Spirit, soul, mind, passion, sentience, consciousness, body, biology, etc.)
- Q2; From the Socratic method: What is true life? Can “true life” be described?
- Q3; Can “I” be measured? On what scale or scope?
- Q4; How has preference or aversion affected your “I”?
- Q5; Which aspects dominate your sense of “I”: Brain, Heart or Nervous System?
- Q6; From Langer’s method: At which point do we enter the abstract when in discourse with another, especially regarding your “I”?
- Q7; When thinking of your “I” within a systemic environment, can you describe a means or method by which “Progress” could be defined?
- Other relevant links or topics, e.g., leading up to this talk
- Links to additional reading, viewing, listening