In the three following essays: Douglas Hofstadter’s “I Am a Strange Loop”, Sigmund Freud’s “The Uncanny”, and Allan McCollum’s “Matt Mullican’s World”, the conscious and the unconscious have been explicated through the scientific and artistic exploration of concepts, such as pattern, repression, repetition compulsion, the double, and uncanniness. In “I Am a Strange Loop”, Douglas Hofstadter explores the basis for understanding factors that constitute “I”, the illusion he argues which defines the human condition. He characterizes the brain as more than a clump of neurons and particles; postulating an advanced level that is a complex system of significant patterns, the interchange of which is powerful and productive enough to make us aware. This awareness takes place in a “feedback loop” which exists in the brain in a remarkable layout – the actual thing that makes us who we are as individuals. Around this context, he introduces a principle structure with which consciousness is modeled. He further claims that the notion of nested “self-reference” results in the rise of consciousness which is contingent on the categorization of “patterns” as it involves thinking, and thinking thus signifies and/or evokes consciousness. In other words, “the dance of symbols” inside the cranium represents consciousness as Hofstadter states, “Though no one would call the swing itself alive, here is no doubt that its mental proxy is dancing in the seething substrate of your brain. After all, that is what a brain is made for – to be staged for the dance of active symbols.” Within the brain, discerned external events are constantly activating the highly selective repossession of symbols from dormancy, and inducing them to be active in all types of unimagined and extraordinary structures. This dance of symbols in the brain, which has to be perceived at that level, is what constitutes consciousness. Furthermore, Hofstadter adds that the interaction...
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