Hofstadter on the Self

Douglas Hofstader
Douglas Hofstadter

The main thrust is that meaningless symbols in a meaningful pattern create meaning; and depending on the system, be it mathematical, or sentient, when the system the pattern produces perceives itself it becomes self aware.

In this way, the system “acquires a self.”

His book(s) are extended metaphors for “how selfhood originates, a metaphor by which to begin to grab a hold of just what it is that makes an ‘I’ seem, at one and the same time, so terribly real and tangible to its own processor, and yet also so vague, so impenetrable, so deeply elusive.”