In sum, then, we are victims of our macroscopicness, and cannot escape from the trap of using everyday words to describe the events that we witness, and perceive as real…

We mortals are condemned not to speak at that level of no information loss. We necessarily simplify, and indeed, vastly so. But that sacrifice is also our glory. Drastic simplification is what allows us to reduce situations to their bare bones, to discover abstract essences, to put our fingers on what matters, to understand phenomena at amazingly high levels, to survive reliably in this world, and to formulate literature, art, music, and science.

  • From I Am a Strange Loop, by Douglas R. Hofstadter

PLATO: Then feeling one is alive is merely an illusion propagated by a reflex that urges one to utter, without understanding, such a sentence, and a truly living creature is reduced to a collection of complex reflexes.

  • From I Am a Strange Loop, by Douglas R. Hofstadter

GEB was written by someone pretty young (I was twenty-seven when I started working on it and twenty-eight when I completed the first draft — all written out in pen on lined paper), and although at that tender age I had already experienced my fair or unfair share of suffering, sadness, and moral soul-searching, one doesn’t find too much allusion to those aspects of life in the book.

In this book, though, written by someone who has known considerably more suffering, sadness, and soul-searching, those hard aspects of life are much more frequently touched on. I think that’s one of the things about growing older — one’s writing becomes more inward, more reflective, perhaps wiser, or perhaps just sadder.

  • From I Am a Strange Loop, by Douglas R. Hofstadter