The Convergence Zone
CODES AND IMPLICIT MEANING
Douglas Hofstadter, Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, Page 267:
"Now it could be objected here that a coded message unlike an uncoded message does not express anything on its own. It requires knowledge of the code. But in Reality there is no such thing as an uncoded message, there are only messages written in more familiar codes and messages written in less familiar codes. If the meaning of a message is to be revealed it must be pulled out of the code by some sort of mechanism or isomorphism. It may be difficult to discover the method by which the decoding should be done; but once that method has been discovered the message becomes transparent as water. When a code is familiar enough it ceases to be appearing like a code. One forgets that there is a decoding mechanism. The message is a message and the meaning is so strong that it is hard for us to conceive of an alternate meaning residing in the same symbols.
Namely we are so prejudiced by the symbols......but Godels' isomorphisms compel us to recognize this second level of meaning...."
It did not announce itself, the 'second level of meaning', had to be discovered by me, over a span of years between 1982 and 1986. By then I'd had enough experiences to suspect that my own mind was creating a kind of conversation itself. If that reads as 'strange', the process of creating a book like Godel, Escher, Bach was created by the same pattern/process. The bibliography, the books and experiences he'd had in life, resulted in that prize winning book.
The second level of meaning was not easy to discern because of the form in which it came. I can describe now what was completely new to me then: It began with a gradual change in my 'mind/body/thought', into a single unit, an object that a new kind of perception (to me) saw myself as both audience and 'actor' in my life. The 'change' altered everything subtly but didn't change any thing real, I could see that. The change was obviously in my mind, but it had a real world cause that I recognized myself, was not the effect of brain damage from an automobile accident. It was a deeper marital bond, a kind of role reversal almost literally, in the so called 'change of life' phase.
The 'second level meaning' emerged gradually as the 'effect' of a mechanism of mind that 'repeated back' certain specific content. A new context was part of the re-play!
The content of the 'reflection' was turned around and an attribute of 'self reference' was added to it but this also was not an easy attribute to discern. It became quite evident one day that this attribute caused the re-generated content to seem to be 'spoken' to me as a person would speak to me. The re-occurring of content happened in a flash of time, in a united batch, without space between the words so to speak. The 'rehearing' of this 'unit' caused that content, whether it was something I read or had thought about, to seem spoken to me as another person would speak to me. This is what I mean when I write that an attribute of self reference, turned towards me, content that would not have otherwise had any special significance. The 'voice effect' was created by adding 'self reference' although this is a very simplistic way to describe a very complex continuum of a pattern and a process.
This effect was not easy to notice and find a name that fit, but the correct word came to me through a string of events that led (over a period of about 4 years) to that one word: echo. The reflected content seemed to be there for some months before I was certain it was happening automatically all the time at that point. It became distinct one day in 1987 as best I can date it and afterwards I was able to separate the 'reflection' and even name it myself as an experience that generated 'second under-lying contexts'. The best example I have come across was in Theodore Reiks' book Listening with the Third Ear in the chapter titled "In Small Packages where he thought about a bridge game his wife had played the day before. He ruminated about the bridge game, replaying in his mind the game hand by hand, using the words commonly used in bridge games. But at certain points he noticed his thought 'stuck' on certain words and a 'secret meaning', a 'double bottom' seemed to occur that linked to his wifes' frail health. His mind seemed to me to be working purposefully to 'talk' to him as I'd experienced myself although the words were square dance terms, familiar to me and very useful in this situation especially one square dance movement: cast a shadow and other words, motivate, chain reaction, track two and others.
The period of about 2 years after July 31 through August 11, 1984 was nearly overwhelmingly confusing for me until that point in Time.
One day I was physically doing something at work that generated 'thought' where I could see the 'reflected content' of that thought and I heard it as though the words were spoken to me. The words in this thought had occurred as a result of what I was physically doing at work and the 're-generated' thought packet was very clear. That content actually described what I was doing in both worlds, the physical world and the Larger Domain. That was my name for it after I was certain it really exists. I had walked onto a metal grid floor over a lighted room directly below it for the first time. After a few steps I became disoriented because the metal grids of the floor seemed to have disappeared. "It's just like standing on an invisible floor. I can see what's going on around me but I can see what's going on below me too." That thought clearly repeated in a flash as a 'unit, a batch' with no space between the words. But this 'unit' was turned around and was not 'about' something but was spoken to me as though by a person. This was distinctly evident for the first time in this incident although this 're-occurrence' had seemed to be there for several months. I had been puzzled by many changes in my thought, but I couldn't talk about those changes.
The idea of 'recurrence' was an attribute of a book I'd been reading, The Fourth Way by P. D. Ouspensky but his idea was quite different than the mere recurrence of episodes of thought. I became convinced the myths of Narcissus and Echo were names for the psychological pattern I had recognized in my life.