|I am a Strange Loop - Douglas Hofstadter (à lire absolument)
||[21e jan. 2008|11:24 pm]
SL #642: And so, in your view, should we also be able to shift points of view concerning the existence of an "I" ?
SL #641: Definitely. My claim that an "I" is a hallucination perceived by a hallucination is somewhat like the heliocentric viewpoint -it can yield new insights but it's very counterintuitive, and it's hardly conducive to easy communication with other human beeings, who all believe in their "I"'s with indomitable fervor. We explain our own behavior, and that of others, through the positing of our own "I" and its analogues in other people. This naïve viewpoint allows us to talk about the world of people in terms that make perfect sense to people.
SL #642: Naïve ? I notice that you haven't stopped saying "I" ! You've probably said it a hundred times in the last five minutes !
SL # 641: To be sure. You're absolutely right. This "I" is a necessary, indispensable concept to all of us, even if it's an illusion, like thinking that the sun is circling the earth because it rises, moves across the sky, and sets. It's only when our naïve viewpoint about "I" bangs up against the world of physics that it runs into all sort of difficulties. It's at that point that those of us who are scientifically inclined realize that there has to be some other story to be told about it. But believing in the easy story about an "I" is a million times more important to most of us than figuring out a scientific explanation for "I", so the upshot is that there's no contest. The "I" myth wins hands down, without a debate ever taking place - even in the minds of the majority of scientifically inclined people !
I am a Strange Loop
In the end, we self-perceiving, self-inventing, locked-in mirages are little miracles of self-reference. We believe in marbles that disintegrate when we search for them but that are as real as any genuine marble when we're not looking at them. Our very nature is such as to prevent us from fully understanding its very nature. Poised midway between the invisualizable cosmic vastness of curved spacetime and the dubious, shadowy flickerings of charged quanta, we human beeings, more like rainbows and mirages than like raindrops or boulders, are unpredictable self-writing poems - vague, metaphorical, ambiguous and sometimes exceedingly beautiful.
To see ourselves this way is probably not as conforting as believing in ineffable other-wordly wisps endowed with eternal existence, but it has its compensations. What one gives up on is a childlike sense that things are exactly as they appear, and that our solid-seeming, marble-like "I" is the realest thing in the world; what one acquires is an appreciation of how tenuous we are at our core, and how widly different we are from what we seem to be. As Kurt Gödel with his unexpected strange loops gave us a deeper and subtler vision of what mathematics is all about, so the strange-loop characterization of our essences gives us a deeper and subtler vision of what it is to be human. And to my mind, the loss is worth the gain.
Vous ne l'avez pas encore commandé ?
Je n'ai pas de mot pour le recommander !
Bien plus percutant que "Gödel, Escher, Bach" ... et beaucoup plus facile à lire.
Pour amateur en quête de (Grande) Perfection.