Friday, April 6, 2007

Recursive thinking

Recursive thinking is a miracle to me. I read Douglas Hofstader's book, Godel Escher Bach, and I think that was the first time I became particularly aware of it. He won a Pulitzer Prize for that book in 1980, the very year I read it. Rarely am I so current. Recursive thinking is thinking that takes itself into consideration. An example would be to ask oneself, in all seriousness, "What thought am I thinking now?" Think about the question for a moment. That's recursive thinking.

This is more interesting I think: read the instructions I will give you and then do what I suggest.

First, take a moment to think of yourself sitting where you are, reading this blog. Can you get a picture of that in your mind? Take a second and close your eyes and imagine yourself sitting where you are sitting, reading this blog.

Finished? Okay, open your eyes.

Next exercise. Take a moment to think of what you just did - see yourself in behind your eyes, seeing yourself sitting where you are, reading this blog. In other words, watch the watcher who was watching you while you were thinking. Take a moment, close your eyes, observe the watcher watching you.

Who is that back there, watching you watch yourself?

And then take the next step, picture yourself sitting there watching yourself sitting there reading this blog...

That is phenomenal. And the question remains, who is that back there, layer after layer of you, doing that?

I think it was you. Some fruit loops (forgive me, Deeprak) argue that it was a cosmic consciousness that we all share. Humbug, it was just you. (This is a hint of the overwhelming possibilities of the word "just.")

I don't know how you did that, but you are amazing. You did recursive thinking.

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