Thru the Looking Glass –Here’s Looking at “u”
WARNING: Along the way, you might get the feeling that we have been here before, that we keep circling around different ideas, eternally returning to the same things over and over again. And you will be correct, however, each time we will get different insights and see things a bit differently. For David Bohm, “an insight isn’t a fixed truth, but an act or angle of perception” (Briggs & Peat, 1984, p. 99). Heidegger likened the wholeness of truth to a drinking glass: As you turn the glass to see one aspect, you necessarily have to conceal another aspect, you can never see the whole glass although it's all there in whatever aspect you do see” (p. 103). In Looking Glass Universe, Briggs and Peat while discussing Hoffstadter’s (1999) book Gödel Escher and Bach note: “Hoffstadter describes a reality or wholeness composed of continual returnings and reflections. From any of the many levels of this whole reality there is always something we can’t see.”
Gödel Escher and Bach “provide Hoffstadter with illustrations of an order that constantly turned back on itself, like a möbius strip” (p. 275). The conflict between holism and reductionism is ultimately an ouroboros, a dragon biting its own tail. From time to time, we, too, will turn to Escher, to illustrate what we are talking about.
This is the big picture with which we will be playing. Think of it as a picture on the top of a puzzle box that helps you to see where all the pieces fit. By setting this out ahead of time, I hope to prevent any unnecessary dizziness, providing a kind of “literary spotting.” It is just something to keep in mind as we keep turning and returning, like a dancer does to keep from spinning out of control and landing on her . . . . well you get the picture.