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An Interview with Douglas R. Hofstadter, following ''I am a Strange Loop''

An Interview with Douglas R. Hofstadter, following ''I am a Strange Loop''
Douglas R. Hofstadter is best-known for his book Gödel, Escher, Bach (GEB for short). In his latest book, I am a Strange Loop, he visits once again many of the themes originally presented in that book. The interview below was conducted in September 2007 and was originally published, in Hebrew, in the online culture magazine Haayal Hakore. The interview was conducted by Tal Cohen and Yarden Nir-Buchbinder. The first part of I am a Strange Loop reads like a condensed version of GEB, by explaining the idea of consciousness as a strange loop. I certainly did not believe intelligent machines were just around the corner when I wrote GEB. Am I disappointed by the amount of progress in cognitive science and AI in the past 30 years or so? I am a deep admirer of humanity at its finest and deepest and most powerful — of great people such as Helen Keller, Albert Einstein, Ella Fitzgerald, Albert Schweitzer, Frederic Chopin, Raoul Wallenberg, Fats Waller, and on and on. We'll return to Kurzweil soon.

Related:  neuropharmacology/(religious/spiritual)Mind

I Am a Strange Loop I Am a Strange Loop is a 2007 book by Douglas Hofstadter, examining in depth the concept of a strange loop to explain the sense of "I". The concept of a strange loop was originally developed in his 1979 book Gödel, Escher, Bach. Hofstadter had previously expressed disappointment with how Gödel, Escher, Bach, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1980 for general nonfiction, was received. In the preface to its 20th-anniversary edition, Hofstadter laments that the book was perceived as a hodgepodge of neat things with no central theme. Why Intelligent People Use More Drugs The human consumption of psychoactive drugs , such as marijuana , cocaine , and heroin, is of even more recent historical origin than the human consumption of alcohol or tobacco, so the Hypothesis would predict that more intelligent people use more drugs more frequently than less intelligent individuals. The use of opium dates back to about 5,000 years ago, and the earliest reference to the pharmacological use of cannabis is in a book written in 2737 BC by the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung. Opium and cannabis are the only “natural” (agricultural) psychoactive drugs. Other psychoactive drugs are “chemical” (pharmacological); they require modern chemistry to manufacture, and are therefore of much more recent origin.

Strange loop A strange loop arises when, by moving only upwards or downwards through a hierarchical system, one finds oneself back to where one started. Strange loops may involve self-reference and paradox. The concept of a strange loop was proposed and extensively discussed by Douglas Hofstadter in Gödel, Escher, Bach, and is further elaborated in Hofstadter's book I Am a Strange Loop, published in 2007. A tangled hierarchy is a hierarchical consciousness system in which a strange loop appears. Definitions[edit] untitled Introduction Robert Monroe developed and patented a binaural-beat technology called the Hemi-Sync auditory-guidance system. The Monroe Institute, a 501c(3) nonprofit research and educational organization, uses this Hemi-Sync system within an educational process. Syncretism Syncretism /ˈsɪŋkrətɪzəm/ is the combining of different, often seemingly contradictory beliefs, while melding practices of various schools of thought. Syncretism involves the merger and analogizing of several originally discrete traditions, especially in the theology and mythology of religion, thus asserting an underlying unity and allowing for an inclusive approach to other faiths. Syncretism also occurs commonly in expressions of arts and culture (known as eclecticism) as well as politics (syncretic politics). Nomenclature, orthography, and etymology[edit] The Oxford English Dictionary first attests the word syncretism in English in 1618. It derives from modern Latin syncretismus, drawing on Greek συγκρητισμός (synkretismos), meaning "Cretan federation".

Rosenhan experiment Rosenhan's study was done in two parts. The first part involved the use of healthy associates or "pseudopatients" (three women and five men, including Rosenhan himself) who briefly feigned auditory hallucinations in an attempt to gain admission to 12 different psychiatric hospitals in five different states in various locations in the United States. All were admitted and diagnosed with psychiatric disorders. Sam Harris on Spirituality without Religion, Happiness, and How to Cultivate the Art of Presence by Maria Popova “Our world is dangerously riven by religious doctrines that all educated people should condemn, and yet there is more to understanding the human condition than science and secular culture generally admit.” Nietzsche’s famous proclamation that “God is dead” is among modern history’s most oft-cited aphorisms, and yet as is often the case with its ilk, such quotations often miss the broader context in a way that bespeaks the lazy reductionism with which we tend to approach questions of spirituality today. Nietzsche himself clarified the full dimension of his statement six years later, in a passage from The Twilight of Idols, where he explained that “God” simply signified the supersensory realm, or “true world,” and wrote: “We have abolished the true world. What has remained? The apparent one perhaps?

Sequences A sequence is a series of multiple posts on Less Wrong on the same topic, to coherently and fully explore a particular thesis. Reading the sequences is the most systematic way to approach the Less Wrong archives. If you'd like an abridged index of the sequences, try XiXiDu's guide, or Academian's guide targeted at people who already have a science background.