17. 11. 2020

Metamagical Themas

Questing for the Essence of Mind and Pattern

by Douglas R. Hofstadter


One of my personal mottos is: “Apathy on the individual level translates into insanity at the mass level (Thursday, December 31, 2015, 08:20 PM, page 10)

ife is not worth living if one can never afford to be delighted or have fun. (Thursday, December 31, 2015, 08:25 PM, page 11)

many people-even remarkably smart people-turn off when faced with issues that are too big. We need to make such issues graspable. To make xxvii Introduction them graspable and fascinating as well, we need to entice people with the beauties of clarity, simplicity, precision, elegance, balance, symmetry, and so on. (Friday, January 01, 2016, 02:24 PM, page 11)

Ray Hyman, a psychologist who studies deception. (Friday, January 01, 2016, 02:27 PM, page 15)

ook The Tao Is Silent (Friday, January 01, 2016, 02:55 PM, page 16)

How should one translate the French sentence Cette phrase en francais est difficile a traduire en anglais ? Even if you do not know French, you will see the problem by reading a literal translation: “This sentence in French is difficult to translate into English.” The problem is: To what does the subject (“This sentence in French”) refer? If it refers to the sentence it is part of (which is not in French), then the subject is selfcontradictory, making the sentence false (whereas the French original was true and harmless); but if it refers to the French sentence, then the meaning of “this” is strained. (Friday, January 01, 2016, 03:42 PM, page 18)

am simultaneously writing and being written. (Friday, January 01, 2016, 03:52 PM, page 21)

am the thought you are now thinking. (Friday, January 01, 2016, 03:53 PM, page 21)

As long as you are not reading me, the fourth word of this sentence has no referent. The reader of this sentence exists only while reading me. (Friday, January 01, 2016, 03:56 PM, page 22)

urn to a most interesting (Friday, January 01, 2016, 03:59 PM, page 23)

David Moser, a composer and writer, (Friday, January 01, 2016, 04:05 PM, page 25)

This gubblick contains many nonsklarkish English flutzpahs, but the overall pluggandisp can be glorked from context. (Friday, January 01, 2016, 04:06 PM, page 25)

Does this sentence remind you of Agatha Christie? (Friday, January 01, 2016, 04:45 PM, page 27)

Machines, in trying to make sense of sentences, have access to nothing more than the form of such sentences. The content, if it is to be accessible to a machine, has to be derived, extracted, constructed, or created somehow from the sentence’s physical structure, together with other knowledge and programs already available to the machine. (Friday, January 01, 2016, 04:57 PM, page 31)

Content is just fancy form.” (Friday, January 01, 2016, 05:06 PM, page 32)

a history exam I encountered in boarding school that contained the following: ‘IV. Write a question suitable for a final exam in this course, and then answer it.’ (Friday, January 01, 2016, 11:50 PM, page 36)

Readers are asked to complete the following sentence: In this sentence, the number of occurrences of 0 is __, of 1 is __, of 2 is __, of 3 is __, of 4 is __, of 5 is _, of 6 is __, of 7 is __, of 8 is __, and of 9 is _. Each blank is to be filled with a numeral of one or more digits, written in decimal notation. Robinson states that there are exactly two solutions. (Friday, January 01, 2016, 11:58 PM, page 37)

This thesis is dedicated to all those who did not dedicate their theses to themselves. (Saturday, January 02, 2016, 12:11 AM, page 41)

n Japanese due to the relative lack of pronouns in ordinary speech. (Tuesday, January 05, 2016, 05:37 PM, page 52)

Would not be anomalous if were in Italian. When one this sentence into the German to translate wanted, would one the fact exploit, that the word order and the punctuation already with the German conventions agree. (Monday, February 01, 2016, 09:57 AM, page 53)

My own law, “Hofstadter’s Law”, states: “It always takes longer than you think it will take, even if you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.” (Tuesday, February 02, 2016, 09:46 AM, page 57)

deas like W can sometimes take on a life of their own and drive their own propagation. (Friday, February 05, 2016, 05:08 PM, page 65)

The scheme of things is a system of order. Beginning as our view of the world, it finally becomes our world. We live within the space defined by its coordinates. It is self-evidently true, is accepted so naturally and automatically that one is not aware of an act of acceptance having taken place. (Friday, February 05, 2016, 05:13 PM, page 67)

eflexivity dilemmas of the Protagoras-vs.-Euathlus (Friday, February 12, 2016, 09:49 AM, page 81)

in any modality, perception consists of many layers of processing, from the most primitive or “syntactic” levels, to the most abstract or “semantic” levels. The zeroing-in on the semantic category to which a given raw stimulus belongs is carried out not by a purely bottom-up (stimulus-driven) or purely topdown (category-driven) scheme, but rather by a mixture of them, in which hypotheses at various levels trigger the creation of new hypotheses or undermine the existence of already-existing hypotheses at other levels. (Wednesday, February 17, 2016, 10:31 AM, page 96)

Therefore any recognition program must have at its core a tiered structure precisely like that of government (or that of the rules of Nomic), in which there are levels that are “easily mutable”, “moderately mutable”, “almost mutable”, and so on. The structure of a recognition program-a “choice” program-is seen inevitably to be riddled with reflexivity. (Wednesday, February 17, 2016, 10:35 AM, page 96)

His “golden rule” is: “To be popular with your fellow man, tell him what he wants to hear. He wants to hear about himself. So tell him about himself. But not what you know to be true about him. Oh, no! Never tell him the truth. Rather, tell him what he would like to be true about himself! (Saturday, February 20, 2016, 06:05 PM, page 106)

We have to bring our knowledge and expectations to bear in order to comprehend anything in our world. In most ordinary situations, this use of context and memory enables us to correctly interpret statements and supply the necessary inferences to do this. But this powerful mechanism can go astray in situations where there is no actual message being conveyed. Instead of picking up random noise, we still manage to find meaning in the situation. (Saturday, February 20, 2016, 06:08 PM, page 107)

Chunking is the perception as a whole of an assembly of many parts. An excellent example is the difference between 100 pennies and the concept of one dollar. We would find it exceedingly hard to deal with the prices of cars and houses and computers if we always had to express them in pennies. A dollar has psychological reality, in that we usually do not break it down into its pieces. The concept is valuable for that very reason. (Saturday, February 27, 2016, 10:14 AM, page 140)