Bach made an impromptu visit to King Frederick the Great of Prussia, and was . Gödel, Escher, and Bach are deeply intertwined in this very short Dialogue. on: Gödel, Escher, Bach: A Mental Space Odyssey Not % sure if that torrent is legit, but I’ve had the mp4 files on my harddisk for a few. I don’t think it’s at all pretentious, it’s just an exploration of a bunch of fun things that occurred to Hofstadter, some of which probably occurred to.

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It’s only pretentious if you consider, say, Neal Stephenson pretentious. I generally find that the people who say kind of thing that don’t understand the topics, but are intimidated to say so. I remember when it came out: I think every student had read it by the eschee of that year. I can’t imagine that happening at your standard public school nowadays. What high school did you go to?

I went to a bah called Roxbury Latin in Boston. Admittedly there were only 39 in my totrent class, so it doesn’t take that many copies to satisfy the student body! I remember reading this but can’t remember finishing it so I presume I’m one of the multitude who let it slide halfway through. When I read it in high school, I thought it was great. I read it twice, though I skipped most of the poetry parts and discussion of Bach.

Ask HN: Is “Gödel, Escher, Bach” still worth reading? | Hacker News

A year or so back, I mentioned my admiration to a friend, who had a copy but hadn’t yet read it. My friend a CS person with a degree in Physics tried reading it, and found it very hard going. So I looked through my own copy signed by the author, I’ll have you know.

Yes, it’s all of what you listed. It looks like I mostly skipped the pretentious parts, and read the parts with whimsical humor. It gldel also at a time in my life where I didn’t know much about recursion or self-referential statements, which made the book’s ideas all the more engaging.

My suggestion is to give it a go, skim when it gets turgid, and admire some of the lengths the author went through to explore an idea. Eg, an exploration ttorrent the three different ways to translate the abbreviated letter of a street name from Russian into English. Whereas the year-old me loved the Bach as well as the whimsy, appreciating the connection between maths and real structures. Time to look again. For me, GEB was a considerable waste of time and contributed nothing to my fodel of intelligence or AI.

The time would have been be better spent elsewhere. Instead of Hofstadter’s GEB, read some of his papers, e.

But there are others who have focused longer on analogy, e. All of your links appear to be broken. Looks like they were copy pasted from an auto-truncated source or something.

Here’s a better link for Analogy is the Core of Cognition: I read that in college and met a few times with a math prof to talk about it. What fun to work through the whole proof and see each piece build on the last!

mp4 format here | Hacker News

Now, over 15 years later, I’m still telling myself to read GEB, but Escheg always wonder how much point there is. It’s more textbooky, but still short, and it will let you see how some of the same themes played out in geometry as well as arithmetic. I would also suggest “Advent of an Algorithm” more of a history of mathematics including Godel. It is a timeless classic which will draw you in if you give it the chance it deserves. If you find parts to be a bit heavy, you can speed up or slow down per your personal preference.

I chose to slow eschrr and read all the more carefully.

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I feel I was truly rewarded for the effort but believe that hurrying through such parts would be a viable alternative — certainly better than abandoning the book as often seems to happen.

It’s my favorite book. I recommend you do try it. Its unconventional and tackles tough topics so its bound to split opinion. When those situations arise, IMHO the best advice is to give it a go and form your own opinion. Is the core thesis outdated? Well we still don’t have a meaningful grasp on what consciousness is. We know a lot more about physical processes but little more about how the physical world gives rise to consciousness.

We are stuck in roughly the same place pondering whether its just a non-causal phenomena of the brain or a different type of stuff entirely. GEB is about the spine-tinglingly freaky consequences of feedback and self-reference. It gives rise to mind blowing mathematical results of Goedel, hypnotic images in Escher, the beauty of Bach but its not really about them, they are just demonstrations of the phenomena, the real message is that self-referential rules and information processing are the essence of computation, the core of language and most likely, the underlying mechanism of consciousness itself.

I think he is right. I predict tlrrent revolution in our understanding of consciousness will not come from a philosopher, or a neuro-scientist or a psychologist but from a computer-scientist who once read GEB Indeed, it takes a little effort to read things from an unfamiliar historical context, but it’s worthwhile learning to appreciate them.

I’m not sure why anyone would consider it out-dated. None of the concepts are really things that are ‘datable’. That said, you’ll probably find that you need to read it more than once to glean everything from it. I have to say I was surprised by that statement, but, thinking of it Category theory and Type theory are godwl Set theory torretn the fundamental basis of Math, or at least it’s fashionable to try to do so, and the book revolves around the Whitehead and Russel set theoretic work and Godel’s deconstruction thereof.

Which isn’t to say that Category theory or whatever are immune to Godel’s theorems, I have no idea how those would translate, and my gut tells me that they would have roughly the same outcome. But yeah, anyways, wonderful exposition of the kind of extremely bare-bones framework fundamental mathematicians operate in, magnificient demonstration of what recursive and self-referential structures imply, and overall a great read.

One thing that stood out during my reading was Hofstadter’s speculation on the reproduction of viruses. We have a bsch better understanding of that now and it doesn’t match his speculation. Thats the only thing that comes to mind and it’s godep a minor quibble. When he writes about AI, he’s writing about “good old-fashioned AI” — the kind that was supposed to be advanced by clever representations, recursive data structures, and layers of abstraction. Contrast “good old-fashioned AI” with “machine learning”, where the representations are as minimalistic and low-level as possible, because the only important thing is that when you update them bch few billion times the right results emerge statistically.

It involves trying to think about how you think and formalize it, which rarely happens in modern AI. Imagine a world where brute-force alpha-beta search was just not good enough to beat humans at chess; a world where advances in chess-playing computers would require chessmasters to encode their expertise in interesting data structures. It’s dated, but it’s interesting. JamieLewis on Jan 5, I read GEB during my final year of university, during winter break.

It took about 3 weeks of solid reading wake up, read, pause and think and clear my mind, do other stuff, go back to reading, sleep, repeat to get through it. By that point in my life I had already been exposed to many of the topics discussed, escner even unwittingly read works that cited GEB, so had been also been exposed to some of the ideas presented as well – I don’t however think that matters too much.


It really is, in my opinion, an amazing and clever book. If you can, I would recommend yorrent a few weeks to really digest it, it is not a book you can read for hours and hours on end – you will need to stop, clear your mind and reflect on some of the points made – at least that is what I had to do.

Be warned, the book will start to mess with you The GEB was instrumental in making me a self-conscious and godrl fan of post-modernism and deconstruction, and an avid reader of tales about failure. To answer the question: Yes, still worth it. Just read baach and make up your own mind. To ask my own Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking”? I’m just starting it and it has entranced me quite a bit What are toerent expecting it to be?


I don’t think it pretends to be anything other that what is is: A book that weaves together similar ideas, basically, self-reference and the resulting paradoxes and mystery that self-reference can generate, from the the worlds of art, music and math in an entertaining way for the layman. It’s a classic, and cannot go “out-of-date” as in “invalid”.

Should you read it? Only you can decide if your time would be more richly spent on something else, but I suspect the answer is yes, reading GEB is probably a good use of your time.

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I first encountered it in high school. In the back of the class my friend Rich would read it during second year Algebra lectures – he’d sit under the light on the emergency circuit while the rest of the class was darkened so that the teacher could write on the overhead projector while monotonically lecturing for fifty minutes after lunch. Before the images of Escher and fractals and recursion had a couple of decades to work their way into the background noise of common culture, GEB was mind blowing.

Now, with high speed internet, cleverly written essays interconnecting ideas are much more common, and Escher’s black and white drawings feel less visually rich in a world saturated with computer graphics. The Bach still stands on its own, but the fact that the book can only talk about it and the reader is still on their own in so far as experiencing the music goes, and an appreciation for Bach is both the part of the book that took the longest to develop and the part which has stuck with me the longest Though Hofstadter might have become pretentious in the thirty-five odd years since he wrote the book, in its time, it certainly wasn’t pretentious – it was a risky literary exercise by an unknown author.

It’s essentially Hofstadter splattering his young and brilliant mind onto the printed page – drawing connections between the principles and intermingling Pythonesque dialogs and treating the whole thing seriously is absurd.

And wonderfully entertaining for the right readers. That said, the most dated aspect of the book is the mindshare it has obtained. The idea that a book offering such deep technical engagement could achieve popular exposure in today’s world, bwch on the unthinkable.

It’s not for everyone, and it certainly isn’t fundamental to computing and the world being more jaded and less stoned and more informed than the world of the Carter administration, calling GEB dated is a fair criticism. Anyway, my recommendation is to pick up a copy from the library and see if you enjoy it.

Life is to short to should one’s self. Its an amazing book.

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