What is GEB about? Re: Book recommendation Re: [FoRK] Re: anybody remember...

Lion Kimbro <lionkimbro at gmail.com> on Mon Jul 9 14:49:52 PDT 2007

On 7/9/07, Jeff Bone <jbone at place.org> wrote:
> The money shot:  "In a word, GEB is a very personal attempt to say
> how it is that animate beings can come out of inanimate matter."

  Wait, Jeff:

  I have no difficulty understanding how animate beings
  can come out of inanimate matter.

  Actually, I have to take that back-- the whole universe
  is animated -- every particle is moving, shaking, zipping
  about somewhere.

  More appropriately, "How do animate beings come out
  of an animate world?"  But that's trivial.

  The hard question of consciousness is, "Why is there
  any experience of any of it, at all?"

  You don't have to be Hofstadter to conjecture that "any
  self-modifying, self-referential, multilayered system
  automatically produces an experience;"  This is pretty
  much (vaguely) what just about any scientifically oriented
  person comes up with when you say, "Well, how do you
  explain consciousness?"  Because everything we look
  at that we think probably has something experiencing
  something inside of it, is a self-modifying, self-referential,
  multi-layered system...

  But that "explanation" has no proof, no tests, anything
  of the sort.

  The thing that I *like* about it, is that it admits, "Well,
  yes, we are having an experience, and experience is
  something."  Once someone sees that, they have
  to explain stuff, whether it's a fairy tale set against a
  scientific background set, (such as Hofstadter's,)
  or one against a religious background, or merely
  a collection of possibilities, and understanding of
  what those possibilities entail (my personal favorite.)

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