A strange loop is a combination of traits that creates the condition for selfhood. Categories of numerous symbols derive meaning from raw stimuli. Categorization leads to perception rather than reception. Abstractions create reality and high-level behavior no longer consists of lower-level behavior only. The loop reinforces the idea of the ‘self’ and the self feels the most real.
From I Am a Strange Loop.
- Godel incompleteness theorem shows that a strange loop can arise from inert systems by creating meaning through analogy
- The strange loop is the jump to universality for knowledge—categories of symbols that can represent an infinite set of ideas and thoughts
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Because the human brain is a universal machine, it contains multiple strange loops that are coarse-grained copies of other strange loops housed in other brains at varying degrees of fidelity. Those you resonate most with in life (family member, a spouse, etc.) you know so well you can almost feel their feelings, recall their memories, and experience the world they would. These can not be explained by mere rote memory (perception is not reception and awareness) but something more closely resembling our own self-hood.
There is tremendous power in being able to simultaneously hold two ideas in one’s head that appear to be in opposition. Contradictions can create boundaries on thoughts—it’s usually unpleasant to have cognitive dissonance—and can lead to dogma. I’ve found that being able to stick with it, despite the discomfort, can be very powerful.
Consciousness is an emergent property of categories. As a sufficient number of categories can be represented in a system, selfhood arises and, with it, consciousness.