Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid

Mar 24, 2003

I’ve got an edition of Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid (GEB) by Douglas Hofstadter, a gift from my parents. Two words about this book: oh my!. I’m currently also reading A storm of swords by Martin but I don’t think I’ll be able to read in that book as long as I haven’t finished GEB. I mean, if a book like this can make a 23 yr old person fond of Zero 7, Yonderboy and Norah Jones yearn to hear Musical Offering by J.S. Bach. Damn.

Well, I’m only 50 pages into the book and it really gets my interest. I was especially surprised that Hofstadter was able to make the same strange loops one can find in Escher’s drawings, Bach’s music and Godel’s math in the dialogues between Achilles and Tortoise!

I don’t get the clue of the last two paragraphs of the dialog between Achilles and Tortoise for the second chapter. The part of accepting rules A, B but not Z is not that hard to get but what I don’t get is the “adopting pun”-part:

“And would you mind, as a personal favor, considering what a lot of instruction this colloquy of ours will provide for the Logicians of the Nineteenth Century would you mind adopting a pun that my cousin the Mock-Turtle will then make, and allowing yourself to be renamed TAUGHT.

‘As you please,” replied the weary warrior, in the hollow tones of despair, as he buried his face in his hands.”Provided that YOU, for YOUR part, will adopt a pun the Mock-Turtle never made, and allow yourself to be renamed a KILL-EASE!”

(from G.E.B. by Hofstadter)

That is the part I don’t get. Are they setting up for the same conversation this time about a comment the Mock-Turtle will make in the future, instead of two sides of a triangle? Someone comment, track-back or mail me please!