A Strange Loop

memoakten Presstube333/333


A whiff of pattern begins to emerge. Out of disarray comes the familiar pulsation of an ordered signal. The sense of regularity strengthens and we feel it swelling towards a singularity. Heeere weeee goooo… BAM! Then off again marching back into chaos to repeat the cycle.

Proposed by cognitive scientist Douglas Hofstadter in his 1979 book “Gödel, Escher, Bach”, and further developed in his 2007 book “I Am a Strange Loop”, “Strange Loops” are Hofstadter’s attempt at explaining the mechanisms that give rise to the sensation of “I” - through hierarchical, self-referential, and at times seemingly paradoxical feedback-loops of abstraction and causality.

“Who shoves whom around in the tangled megaganglion that is your brain, and who shoves whom around in ‘this teetering bulb of dread and dream’ that is mine?”

“Do dreads and dreams, hopes and griefs, ideas and beliefs, interests and doubts, infatuations and envies, memories and ambitions, bouts of nostalgia and floods of empathy, flashes of guilt and sparks of genius, play any role in the world of physical objects? Do such pure abstractions have causal powers? Can they shove massive things around, or are they just impotent fictions?”

"In the end, we are self-perceiving, self-inventing, locked-in mirages that are little miracles of self-reference. [...] Poised midway between the unvisualizable cosmic vastness of curved spacetime and the dubious, shadowy flickerings of charged quanta, we human beings, more like rainbows and mirages than like raindrops or boulders, are unpredictable self-writing poems — vague, metaphorical, ambiguous, and sometimes exceedingly beautiful.”

- Douglas Hofstadter, “I Am a Strange Loop”, 2007


Memo Akten
ƈօʍքʊtǟtɨօռǟʟ Aʀȶɨֆȶ; AI wrangler; curious philomath; PhD in Creative Artificial Intelligence with Meaningful Human Control; works with code to create images, sounds, films, large-scale responsive installations and performances; fascinated by trying to understand the nature of nature and the human condition.

James Paterson
Synthesizing drawing, animation, sculpture and code under the moniker Presstube since 1999. Inspired by meditation, molecular biology, music, parenting, psychedelics, the seen, the heard, the felt, the cognized.


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