Sunday, 29 March 2009

Mise en Abyme

Mise en Abyme is, originally, a figure in heraldry in which the figure in the centre of the shield, [the abyss of the escutcheon] reproduces the whole shield, and in the centre of that is yet another smaller representation of the whole and so on. So we have an infinite repetition with infinite regress.
Telling Rhythm Amittai F. Aviram

The blazon of sweet beauty's best

In I Am a Strange Loop, Hofstadter defines strange loops as follows:

And yet when I say "strange loop", I have something else in mind — a less concrete, more elusive notion. What I mean by "strange loop" is — here goes a first stab, anyway — not a physical circuit but an abstract loop in which, in the series of stages that constitute the cycling-around, there is a shift from one level of abstraction (or structure) to another, which feels like an upwards movement in a hierarchy, and yet somehow the successive "upward" shifts turn out to give rise to a closed cycle. That is, despite one's sense of departing ever further from one's origin, one winds up, to one's shock, exactly where one had started out. In short, a strange loop is a paradoxical level-crossing feedback loop. (pp. 101-102)

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