Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"I Am a Strange Loop"

I finally moved husband-recommended "I Am a Strange Loop" to the top of my pile! I've been thinking about it for over a year now, and the universe encouraged me to think that now is the right time: a damaged copy in the donate box at work beckoned at lunch break.
WOW-- now I can see why Jordan was raving! Some parts are for skimming, but so much is for enjoying and pondering. Hofstadter is exploring consciousness and the sense of "I," so far delving into such fascinating concepts as "soul shards" (bits of people's souls that live on in objects and memories-- not horcruxes, but the way a photo of someone you love will call to mind that person) and a gradation of "souledness" (there can be bigger and smaller souls-- the difference between your beloved pooch and your beloved, wise old grandmother... or the difference between Ronald Reagan affected by Alzheimer's and President Obama).
I'm riveted! There are some bits that remind me of my least favorite part of my Philosophy core class ("What if the car were made out of CHEESE?"), but even those are funny and punny, like little tickles to my brain, rather than big brain squeezes of absurdity. I really enjoy Hofstadter's rigorous arguments coupled with playful analogies. His examples are delightful, as is his sense of humor. (For example, he writes something about the fact that he can't imagine his audience could have possibly missed all the Star Wars movies-- and the interesting examples of soulful robots C3PO and R2-D2, acknowledging that many of his readers might be classified as, well, geeks...)
Huzzah, Mr. Hofstadter! You're a gentleman and a scholar! AND a vegetarian!

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