Log24

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Thursday July 12, 2007

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 7:00 PM
On Interpenetration,
or Coinherence, of Souls

The August 2007 issue of Notices of the American Mathematical Society contains a review of a new book by Douglas Hofstadter, I Am a Strange Loop. (2007, Basic Books, New York. $26.95, 412 pages.)

A better review, in the Los Angeles Times of March 18, 2007, notes an important phrase in the book, "interpenetration of souls," that the AMS Notices review ignores.

Here is an Amazon.com search on "interpenetration" in the Hofstadter book:

1. on Page 217:
"… described does not create a profound blurring of two people's identities. Tennis and driving do not give rise to deep interpenetrations of souls. …"
2. on Page 237:
"… What seems crucial here is the depth of interpenetration of souls the sense of shared goals, which leads to shared identity. Thus, for instance, Carol always had a deep, …"
3. on Page 270:
"… including the most private feelings and the most confidential confessions, then the interpenetration of our worlds becomes so great that our worldviews start to fuse. Just as I could jump to California when …"
4. on Page 274:
"… we choose to downplay or totally ignore the implications of the everyday manifestations of the interpenetration of souls. Consider how profoundly wrapped up you can become in a close friend's successes and failures, in their very …"
5. on Page 276:
"… Interpenetration of National Souls Earlier in this chapter, I briefly offered the image of a self as analogous to a country …"
6. from Index:
"… birthday party for, 350 "bachelor", elusiveness of concept, 178 bad-breath analogy, 150 bandwidth of communication as determinant of degree of interpenetration, 212 213, 220, …"
7. from Index:
"… phrases denying interpenetration of souls, 270 271; physical phenomena that lack consciousness, 281 282; physical structures lacking hereness, 283; potential personal attributes, 183; …"

The American Mathematical Society editors and reviewer seem to share Hofstadter's ignorance of Christian doctrine; they might otherwise have remembered a rather famous remark: "This is not mathematics, it is theology."
 
For more on the theology of interpenetration, see Log24 on "Perichoresis, or Coinherence" (Jan. 22, 2004).

For a more mathematical approach to this topic, see Spirituality Today, Spring 1991:

"… the most helpful image is perhaps the ellipse often used to surround divine figures in ancient art, a geometrical figure resulting from the overlapping, greater or lesser, of two independent circles, an interpenetration or coinherence which will, in some sense, reunify divided humanity, thus restoring to some imperfect degree the original image of God."

See also the trinitarian doctrine implicit in related Log24 entries of July 1, 2007, which include the following illustration of the geometrical figure described, in a somewhat confused manner, above:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07/070701-Ratio.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

"Values are rooted
in narrative."

Harvey Cox,    
Hollis Professor
of Divinity
at Harvard,
Atlantic Monthly,
  November 1995  

Related material:

Steps Toward Salvation:
An Examination of
Co-Inherence and
Substitution in
the Seven Novels
of Charles Williams
,
by Dennis L. Weeks

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