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Godel, Escher, Bach

I finally finished reading it.

I can appreciate the author's intention with the book, and the introduction to a whole series of interlinked concepts associated with number theory, logic, math, and artificial intelligence.

That said, I found it unnecessarily long. There might not have been much of a workaround, given the author's interests and goals for the text. I suspect that alternative texts exist that cover many of the same bases in what would be for me a more pleasant fashion. On the other hand, I could see how this approach could be a worthwhile diversion for someone with a job that allows one to read in bits and pieces (e.g. scrottie says he read it while working as a movie theater usher).

I am glad to be moving on to reading other things now.

Honestly, I've never cared that much for Escher or Bach, although I can appreciate that they made important cultural contributions. Probably the biggest red flag, but now at least I can say I've read the book.

One could get away with just reading the Wikipedia page.



( 15 remarks — Remark )
Jul. 21st, 2015 08:02 pm (UTC)
Heh, I know that feeling of accomplishment from wading through a tome! I read most of what Hofstadter had at that point published in college, and loved him, but I haven't reread that one in like 20 years. "Metamagical Themas" was the one I found hard to get through, and "Le Ton Beau de Marot" is my favorite and still one that I recommend to people more than passingly interested in poetry translation.
Jul. 21st, 2015 10:30 pm (UTC)
Huh. I wonder if I would have had an easier time with _Metamagical Themas_ since it appears to cover topics in more discrete units (based on a quick skim of the Wikipedia page). Some of the summarized ideas suggest greater breadth to Hofstadter's intellectual exploration, and perhaps I haven't fully appreciated it.

I think reading too much of Dennett's work made me start to tire of books on consciousness. I can only revisit them in brief spurts.
Jul. 21st, 2015 11:01 pm (UTC)
_Metamagical Themas_ since it appears to cover topics in more discrete units
It does. I read the original articles, and they're much shorter than the chapters in GEB.

Some of the summarized ideas suggest greater breadth to Hofstadter's intellectual exploration, and perhaps I haven't fully appreciated it.
Once he got the reputation for thinking fascinating, esoteric thoughts, he pretty much did whatever he wanted. I have one of his other anthologies, which is mostly about the nature of creativity.
Jul. 21st, 2015 11:54 pm (UTC)
It's funny how well that works for certain personality types (doing whatever one wants) - I think of them as dilettantes. I think I'm more cut out for in-depth explorations of specific subjects. Both approaches can yield interesting insights.
Jul. 21st, 2015 09:43 pm (UTC)
I think I may have attempted to read it as a teenager, but ended up just skimming it.

I bought another copy a few months ago and got a few pages in, but I won't have time to tackle it for a while now. Maybe I'll just read the wikepedia page :-)
Jul. 21st, 2015 10:24 pm (UTC)
What insights would you wish to gain from reading it? For me, enough people mentioned it across different contexts to make me think it would be informative and influential.

The crux of the book (for me) was the idea that formal systems are necessarily incomplete. I can see how this would be a useful level of understanding to achieve for a lot of people, and I don't necessarily know of a better method for conveying this concept, so I should convey some respect for this aspect of the book. I think part of what cheesed me off was feeling like I needed to take notes to keep track of all of the introduced lingo, and not wanting to keep notes because I was not invested in studying the book at great depth.
Jul. 22nd, 2015 01:35 am (UTC)
Yeah, I read it because at that point all my friends were and I wanted to be able to talk to them about it.

While I look back on it as A LOT OF WORK, I also remember bits and pieces at the oddest times, often when I'm trying to break down a problem. I think it was subconsciously useful.
Jul. 22nd, 2015 07:47 pm (UTC)
I could see it being that sort of book, subconsciously useful. So I don't regret working through it, even if I wouldn't call the whole experience an enjoyable one.
Jul. 22nd, 2015 05:47 am (UTC)
not to blow your mind to quick but have you ever heard about the sophia correction?

ay Weidner joins us on"Shattering The Matrix". He speaks about Stanley Kubrick's involvement in creating the "Faked" Moon Landings. He then puts on his "hat" of modern-day Indiana Jones and begins to reveal things he has not revealed in any Radio Show before! So, you are all getting it for the first time!

He goes in depth into the Archons/Entities that are controlling this planet but he reveals an amazing link to the Nazis, Kubrick, J.R.R. Tolkien, 911 & Rennes-le-chateau! Join us for this amazing investigative journey in discovering what is at the root of the evil on the planet and how it may culminate in a very large False-Flag/Staged Event to get us to relinquish our freedom to the dark forces.

Jul. 22nd, 2015 07:54 pm (UTC)
Re: hi
Hmm, I hadn't heard of it, and unfortunately my days aren't structured in such a way as to listen to this type of material. What made you think of it?
Jul. 24th, 2015 06:07 am (UTC)
Re: hi
godel escher bach fascinated me back in the day when it first came out.. the question of whether one could mathematically prove god exists, then there came the holographic universe, does reality exist?


it's all related to relativity, isn't it? now the talk is of parallel universes co-existing side by each
Jul. 24th, 2015 09:07 pm (UTC)
Re: hi
Ah, okay, now I see, to the ability that I can under my present constraints. :-) I'm reminded, to some extent, of how I felt during the brief period when I was taking the second semester of Physical Chemistry (digging into Schroedinger's Equation, etc).

I am still in a headspace where I have to moderate my intake of these concepts; as I commented to thewronghands, I think I read a bit too much of Dennet's work and burned out. He's more focused on verbal arguments (vs. mathematical proofs), but touches on many of the same topics as Hofstadter.
Jul. 25th, 2015 06:50 am (UTC)
Re: hi
you see, that's the brilliance of this, to reduce the concept of existence to a mathematical premise in which god doesn't exist until proven so
Jul. 22nd, 2015 05:30 pm (UTC)
I fell deeply in love with Hofstadter's book "Le Ton Beau de Marot (about language, poetry, translation, brains, and love) but still never have managed to finish GEB.
Jul. 22nd, 2015 07:46 pm (UTC)
Hm! A second recommendation for it...I'll have to consider it. :-)

I think one of the main reasons I managed to finish GEB was because I decided I didn't need to bother with trying to keep careful track of everything. I can understand why doing so could be important for some people, but that would have turned the book into even more of a slog for me.
( 15 remarks — Remark )

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