WWSP's "The Alternate Boot!"

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Brain = Abbie Normal!

I jumped into a mind-bending book called, "Godel, Escher, Bach." It is about the brain, music (J.S Bach's beautiful, complex, music), art (Escher's beautiful, complex drawings), Godel's incompleteness thereom, complexity, artificial intelligence, puzzles, etc. Some of it already is well 'over my head,' but it's a dazzling brain-teaser about our brains, which I realize is one of my eternal subjects of inquiry. I've always been intrigued by the idea of a brain trying to examine and understand itself, which is one of the 'plots,' embedded in the book. This idea of 'self-knowledge,' 'self-reference,' was one of Kurt Godel's great acheivements: he discovered 'self-reference' (and incompleteness) in an abstract language (mathematics). The implication is that this discovery applies to other 'formal systems' as well (for instance: a brain?)

We're always trying to come up with an analogue to our brains, to put them in a neat box: its a computer, its a sophisticated clockwork, its a complex circuit. I like this description: a brain is "a squishy bulb, poised between dread and dream." So, of course, this all sets me off on a wild flight. Our brains are like little universes that use our bodies to propagate other brains. This way, 'the brain,' continues to grow and evolve just like the expanding universe we live in. The mystery is how do 'animate beings' spring from 'inanimate' matter? Maybe the question is besides the point? Animate and inanimate are possibly arbitrary labels? So we are pieces of a mosaic, we, in microcosm, reflect the universal macrocosm?! It seems universe/brain is growing and evolving, maybe without purpose - except to fill the void (how can void exist?).

Edgar Allen Poe (after smoking large quantitites of opium) wrote in his philosophical treatise, "Eureka," that we are all little pieces of god, that basically "universe" is a description of god. Not sure if that explains anything, but I kind of like the idea that we are "universe" too and we all together (everything animate and inanimate) are on a journey to fill the void! William Blake: "everything that lives is holy." Sunny Jimmy: "everything lives!"

OK, obviously the coffee is having it's desired effect, my head is spinning with self-referentiality. Yikes --- watch out for the organic french roast! It's a good trip, but where does it lead?

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