Lesson 13: You Are A Strange Loop

You Are A Strange Loop

Man is ignorant of the nature of his own being and powers. Even his idea of his limitations is based on the experience of the past. Therefore, there is no reason to assign theoretical limits to what he may be or what he may do.

 Reality is a strange loop.

A strange loop is when something looks back upon itself.  It is also known as a tangled hierarchy.  This means there is no higher or lower level.  Wherever you start, you eventually come back to where you started.


In the example above, every letter is larger than the other.  This is an example of a strange loop/tangled hierarchy.

The picture above is a strange loop.  Start on any step.  Keep moving either up or down the stairs.  Notice even though you keep moving up or keep moving down, you always end back on the step you started on.  You seem to be going farther and farther away from your origin, but you end back at the same spot.

Now picture this.  A man is in a field, and he decides to paint a picture of the field.  When finished, he realizes something is missing.  He and the canvas were also part of the field.  So he repainted but then realized something was still missing.  Himself and his canvas on which he was painting himself and his canvas in the field.  So he paints a third time, a fourth, and a fifth time forever and ever.  This is another example of a strange loop.

Let’s do one more and make it more personal. 

You are more than your mind (mind-1).  You are the observer and that which contemplates your mind (mind-2).  But now, there is a mind (mind-3) contemplating mind-1 contemplating mind-2.  But now there is a mind (mind-4) contemplating mind-3, contemplating mind-2, contemplating mind-1.  You can see the mind can go on for eternity.  An eternal mind?  What does that even mean?

Look at the drawing above by Maurits Cornelis Escher. Escher was known for playing around with reality in his work. The drawing above is know as Escher’s Drawing Hands.  One hand is drawing the other.  But how can that be? One hand would have to exist before it draws another.  Yet, these two hands are each drawing the other into existence.  That is not possible. Is it?

Picture yourself looking through a very powerful microscope at a cell.  You keep zooming in, and you see the molecules.  Then you see atoms.  Then you see the subatomic particles.  Then you see the back of your head.  This is a strange loop.

Remember from the previous lessons; we introduced you to a classic strange loop.

This statement is false.

Well, if it is false, then it is true.  But if it is true, then it is false.

This is the strange loop Gödel introduced into math.

A strange loop tries to point to itself.

Are strange loops real?

Some believe we are strange loops, and that is how we get our consciousness and become aware of ourselves. We point to ourselves and look back on ourselves.  But that is from a materialistic point of view.  It doesn’t go far enough.   It is limited.

The brain is inside the universe, observing the universe, but the universe is also inside the brain.

Reality must be one because anything outside of reality becomes a part of reality.

Everything is relative.  You can’t have up without down.  You can’t have hot without cold.  You can’t have pleasure without pain.  You can’t have something without nothing.

Nothing and something is the same thing.  That is why we exist.  It could be no other way. You are something and you are nothing. WOW!!!

You can contemplate the universe.  But you are part of the universe.  You have to include yourself in the universe to explain reality.  This is a strange loop.

We will stop right now because I know I have been saying some really deep stuff that can take some time to grasp.  But you will get it, and once you do, how you see yourself in the universe will be forever changed.

We are going to discuss this a lot more.  In the next lessons, we will go back to Gödel and see how he can help us make more sense of this lesson.