The Mind's I — Gene's I — See?
ICGG, He C me, not?
Goof Gloop!
Cloop ergo not not.


On Religion from Sam Harris to Bede Griffiths

Draft preprint, 2009
PDF: 266 pages, 1.1 MB

By Andy Ross

This book is based on a lot of old blogs about religion and related themes. The blogs were first posted on the web in 2007 and 2008. I have added value to my efforts by stitching them together with interlocutions to form a running conversation and tidying them up editorially for the record. The result is a web-age reincarnation of a classical Socratic dialog.


God and Sam Harris
God and Others
God and I
God and Bede Griffiths



A Polyphonic Master Class

My Koan

The Mind's I — Gene's I — See?
ICGG, He C me, not?
Goof Gloop!
Cloop ergo not not.

— AtheEisegete

Voluptuaries of the enlightened mind will doubtless recognize the The Mind's I as a genially assembled anthology of readings edited by Douglas Hofstadter and Daniel Dennett, both of whom loom large in my personal pantheon, an anthology now over a quarter-century old. As for the "Gene's I" that dashes in to qualify the seeing eye, readers of panpsychology will naturally discern the genocentric trace of Goof, the God of our fathers, the trace that betrays the divine sustenance behind the Dawkinsian demagogery for selfish genes.

So much for line 1. The acronymic "ICGG" is a texted analog of "I see GG" — where GG is of course the aforementioned personification Gene Goof of the Abrahamic attractor for the gene-driven zombies who shuffle behind the monothee. And "He C me" makes eminent sense in the orthodox dogma of the great "I am" who indeed notoriously sees me and my sins in the terms of the central dogmap we call the Bible. The "not" is the Gordian knot of inwit, always negating manifest truth in order to test its awesome power. Do He or do He not? That is the question.

Now, here comes the logical crunch. A G-loop is of course a Gödelian loop, as served up to a thirsting world by Douglas Hofstadter almost three decades ago in his report on the eternal golden braid. In my new instantiation, the "Goof Gloop" is the I-see-He-see loop, with a "not" twist to give it that Gödelian agenbite that prompts the AtheEisegetean inwit to pull a wry smile, and naturally triggers a paradox that may not stand unchallenged.

The loop that apparently may not without risk of dizzying Gödelianism be allowed to stand unchallenged is a "Cloop" — a see-loop — where the I-see-He-see variant is a hottie, so to speak (assuming you are ready to accept that the self of Gene Goof is none other than your very own self-alienated self peeking through the mystic mist at its own gene-rooted self), and the notted version is, well, a nottie. (Apologies to Paris Hilton, who never asked to be dragged in this ironic fashion into a New Age fragment of hot-doggerel.) The "ergo" word is of course Latin, a deferential nod to Descartes, whose Cogito ergo sum — I think therefore I am — launched us all into the Age of Me. Finally, the conclusion of the reductio ad absurdum triggered by the Gödelian construction is of course the negation of the not-twist.

A pedantic aside may assist the more earnest seeker here. Devotees of the intuitionistic brand of logic will insist that not not A is not yet A, not yet the assertion of that doubly negated proposition. Only a classical thinker would accept that final affirmation. So we cannot uncontroversially affirm the see-loop in all its positivity. The shadowy intuition of doubt clouds the final reciprocity of the seen seer.

What drove me to this extremity of cryptic logicism? A hint may suffice. Anyone who knows the traditions of that august newspaper known to Americans as the London Times knows too that its celebrated daily crossword is second to none. Its cryptic clues are no less obscure and convoluted than my loopy tetragrammaton. And I, yours truly, bearer of the depicted eye [my forum avatar], did spend some of the best hours of my higher schoolyears puzzling with my colleagues over the said crossword. Skilled devotees of that chequered mandala can do their daily puzzle in minutes, but this skill is as finely honed as that of the solver of the Rubik cube. The devotees who polish it off in the minutes they spend each morning in the commuter trains that daily dock in the terminals of North London tend to be higher civil servants, Whitehall mandarins, with Oxbridge degrees in the classics, and deploy a mastery that transcends my modest attainments in the puzzle stakes.

AR  I still have some work to do on this manuscript.