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View Diary: Godel, Escher, Bach series: Mumon and Godel (56 comments)

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  •  Meaning of dualistic ... (1+ / 0-)
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    ... is not the common definition. It doesn't mean that words provide two or multiple meanings. It means (and I hope my paraphrase is meaningful and helpful) that words are used to define things in relation to other things, that they work by dividing things into categories. Thus, in words, the world isn't one thing, no thing is one thing. For Hofstadter's discussion of this, see page 251.

    I agree that words are dualistic, but there's really no way around them. For example, the chef's way of saying what a vase is without using it's name, by kicking it over, is maybe a bit better than the Monk's saying it wasn't a wooden shoe. But only a little. After all, the demonstration was only a way of miming the words, "This is a vase." The method still uses words, still imparts the dualism of categorizing a vase from everything around it.

    I guess we think in both words and symbols and translate back and forth, but isn't the thinking itself dualistic? Makes me think of reports of people with split brains(from injury, virus, etc). It's as if the individual is two people -- one verbal, one non-verbal -- who seem unaware of each other. (There are stories of wrestling matches between the left and right hands of such individuals.) Would the non-verbal one be enlightened?  

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