Monday, December 28, 2009

Metametametametametametaism--AURGH!!! Gödel, Escher, Bach!

(Dowy: you once said that you don't like when posts have too many links. Don't feel the need to click on all the links. The links are just examples but don't really make a difference.)

There are songs. And there are songs which sing about other songs.

In the prayerbook, there are ostensibly praises to God. Many of those praises consist of saying, "Let's praise God."

Chassidus talks about all sorts of cool stuff. One of the cool things that chassidus talks about is chasidus.

On Facebook you can talk about your life. Part of your life is Facebook. So part of Facebook is discussing Facebook.

Of course, there are also youtube videos about youtube.

As this is a blog, let's discuss blogs that blog about blogging.

There are those bloggers who write things like, "There I was thinking what to blog about, and I thought that maybe I should blog about what I blogged about yesterday. Or maybe I'll blog about the impact of the blogosphere in politics. Oops! My mom's calling me. Gtg. But I'll be back tomorrow, to blog some more."

Then you have comments about comments.

"Oh what a funny comment that was! You always leave funny comments!"

"Well, why don't you comment on my blog?"

"I would, if you'd follow my blog."

(Now the blogger who's hosting this scintillating conversation chimes in.)

"Wow! Look how many comments this post has garnered!'

"wats garnered/"


"Sheesh. learn to spell. that;s 'What's,' not 'wats.'"

"Watch your own typos. According to Strunk and White, a semi-colon is not an apostrophe."

All these comments are just about comments.

The self-referential nature of comments and blogs leads to an interesting question: what is the point of a thing that only discusses itself? However, my point now is not to answer that question. I shall move on to the next exhibit: blogging about blogging about blogging.

I once blogged about blogging about blogging.

Now I'm blogging about blogging about blogging.

Now I'm blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging.

Now I'm blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging.

Now I'm blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging.

Now I'm blogging about blogging about blogging blogging about about blogging about blogging about blogging.

Aurgh! When is this going to stop? (Fyi, that previous sentence was blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging.)

Hey! Guess what? That previous sentence was blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging.)

The following sentence is true.
The previous sentence is false.

You can't resolve this kind of stuff. You just gotta pull the plug, or else your brain will keep trying to execute an endless loop.

You may also be interested in "What the Tortoise said to Achilles."

The real place to get information about this type of stuff is Gödel, Escher, Bach, by Douglas Hofstadter. He's the guy who invented Hofstadter's rule: "It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law."

Added 1/13/10:
This comic is much more relevant. I know half of it is cut off. I can't be bothered to play with it, considering that the fifteen minutes of this post's fame are long gone. If you want to see the entire comic, click here.


  1. This is the type of post that has so much that is comment-worthy that it'll necessarily fail to live up to its potential. Which I suppose is the objective.

  2. this was a beutifull post filled with lots of words and sentences and paragraghs, and i too apreciate the link, as well as the kind words about the links.

  3. Well personally, I liked the tobacco pipe.

  4. waytheby the tabaco guy(in ch) is a mathmetition

  5. I know all about it, he's my neighbor and former roommate's former teacher.

  6. When I started learning Chassidus, every time it talked about the greatness of learning Torah, I thought: "Which Torah? Like, this stuff?" Eventually I convinced myself it was Gemara.

  7. trs: nice self-referential comment. Now there's comment about your comment. Please don't comment on this comment about your comment!!

    Dowy: My posts are always have words, sentences, and paragraphs.

    Sarah: Pipe? What?

  8. Here are two things I should have put in the post but forgot:

    There's a TV show which is about these people who are making a TV show for MSNBC.

    In the New Testament, Jesus spends a lot of time telling people that they need to follow him and his teachings. But what are his teachings? Stuff like "follow me and my teachings!"

  9. Perhaps because the new testament is more about the cult of personality than the teachings?

  10. good point. There's a reason the Christians are called "Christians" and the Muslims don't like being called "Mohammedans."

  11. e, when I was a freshman in my university, the undergrad Neuroscience club (I think it was called TUNA) was formed. The first few meetings were mainly devoted to discussions of when the next meeting is going to be. Plus there was pizza. After a while I got frustrated and left the club, joining the local branch of AIPAC and a fencing club instead.

  12. Actually, I've seen Muslims called Mohammedans somewhere. For some reason it seems to me to be a novel by Henry Rider Haggard, but I could be mistaken.

  13. As far as I can make out, it's Christians who call Muslims "Mohammedans", presumably because they believe that Muslims relate to Muhammed in the same way that they (the Christians) relate to Christ.

  14. Back in the day it was more common to call Muslims "Mohammedans," but today it's politically incorrect.

  15. so that's it, he finally went crazy.

  16. Modeh B'MiktsasDecember 30, 2009 at 8:56 AM

    I love xkcd, but was that particular one chassidish?

  17. right. I forgot. The chassidish thing is to pretend that sex doesn't exist.

  18. About commenting about comments :):
    1. I like commenting about your comments specifically because they usually make me laugh.

    2. That is why I stopped commenting on certain blogs that seem to attract those comments.

  19. trs: as we say in yiddish, "The hat burns on the thief."

  20. Yiddish? We say that in Russian. На воре шапка горит.

  21. Origin: reportedly from a folk tale in which a community leader found the identity of a thief by gathering the town and saying that he sees the thief's hat burning, and then observing the real thief feeling his hat with his hands.

  22. Only a Russian thief would be so dumb.

  23. we say it in yiddish, and you say it in Russian.

  24. Arguing with MyselfJanuary 5, 2010 at 3:10 PM

    This sentence is false

  25. Arguing with MyselfJanuary 5, 2010 at 3:21 PM


    Bertie Russel pipes a smoke, and sillman too


Forth shall ye all hold.