Monday, December 10, 2007

Douglas Hofstadter: I am a Strange Loop

Mobius Strip II, 1963
Douglas Hofstadter has a new book- hooray! Knowing Doug the title is almost certainly an anagram (? "A Magnolia Poster" - click here for all the others).

Mr Hofstadter nearly derailed my medical studies into cognitive science. I read "Godel Escher and Bach" about 15 years ago - VERY slowly and with a dictionary. I confess i only understood about 60% of it- but some of the stuff i still think about- particularly his dialogues: "Ant Fugue", and one on AI- "Who Pushes Who Around the Careenium?".

I went on to struggle through Metamagical Themas - and actually did find this more accessible. When i found out he took over his Scientific American column from Martin Gardner i bought all his books too- including "The Ambidextrous Universe" and "The Why's of a Philosophical Scrivener".

A year or two later i stole my friend's copy of "The Minds I" ... thereby also discovering Rene Magritte who also popped up on the cover of a strange book called "The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat". I bought this one because of the Magritte pipe painting- and discovered the incredible Oliver Sacks. He nearly diverted my career into Neurology - but didn't - since most of the neurologists i met and worked with were complete dickheads.

I probably should have been out screwing girls rather than reading all this stuff- but luckily for me they weren't interested.

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