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For too long, in the coming.

*Reserved for lame excuses for not having blogged for like 8 ass-butt months.*

Yes, with that out of the way, I should mention that an aimless Saturday evening,a day before the TOEFL can be encouraging to revive a long -dead and rotting blog.


I have been occupied with 3 rather interesting books for the past couple of days. Actually one of them has tried to keep me occupied for over a month now. Needless to say, it hasn't done a very good job of it. I borrowed 'The Constants of Nature' by John.D.Barrow from a friend(link serves as cheap thrill to a blogging noobie as well as publicity to namma Gullu's blog) of mine. The author - a research professor in applied mathematics with an obvious passion for astronomy tries to figure out the deeper meaning of the constants that arise in nature, if they ever exist. The book makes for some real heavy reading and this has been the major reason why I haven't come around to finishing it.

Anyway, the other two that have occupied most of yesterday and today are 'Glimpses of World History' by Jawaharlal Nehru and 'Gödel, Escher,Bach - an Eternal Golden Braid' by Douglas R Hofstadter. The former, as most would know is a compilation of a series of letters that the Pandit wrote to his daughter, Indira Gandhi over 30 months from jail. Nehru does full justice to his title, displaying a stunning grasp of the past and present affairs of the world, with minimal references while in immurement. The other book is what I want to write about in this blog.

Yes, it might be premature to write about a book (especially this huge one) only after reading it only for 2 days. But that only strengthens the case for it. In just a couple of days, the book has had a really strong hold over me. In the words of the publisher , the book is "A Metaphorical Fugue on Minds and Machines in the spirit of Lewis Carroll". The book actually in a some way till now has tried to address what the author calls 'Strange Loops' that he thinks occurs everyday. Basically, he is trying to address the reason why a set of apparently meaningless symbols can combine together to form meaning, just like how ultimately lifeless particles can come together to form life. He attributes this to a strange kind of loopiness whereby the particles become aware of themselves. (At least that is just one of the many things I am guessing the author is getting at).

The book begins with a descriptions of people in the title :
Gödel was a famous logician in the beginning of the twentieth century, Escher a famous Dutch graphic artist and Bach - the immensely famous German composer in the early to mid 18th century. Each of these people in some form, displayed through their works - in mathematics, art and music respectively how this enigmatic idea of "Strange Loops" can come about.

Although the material can get tiring and formidable at times, the satisfaction of having understood, at least in part what such an impressive author says , is great.
Do read the book or at least what is purports to explain. I am sure it is in someway related to your boring Sunday musing, "What is life? What is consciousness"........

Comments

Vikram said…
Try and get the third book you mentioned (Gödel, Escher,Bach - an Eternal Golden Braid) to college. I've been wanting to read it for a while now...
Vikram said…
And best of luck for TOEFL

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