Gödel, Escher, Bach
Douglas Hofstadter's award-winning book, Gödel, Escher, Bach, is a journey through surprisingly intertwined ideas from mathematics, art, music, computer science, and philosophy.
This wiki is a place for discussing the book, understanding its context, discovering its hidden tricks, and exploring its unanswered questions.
The wiki was started in December 2014, by members of /r/geb on Reddit. Anyone can begin editing and contributing to the wiki, simply by creating an account.
Gödel, Escher, Bach has introduced new fields of thought to a generation of self-directed learners. A Nature review called it "an entire humanistic education between the covers of a single book". It's become a fixture in geek culture, even bleeding into popular culture once in a while.
It's a book that encourages you to participate in it. To fully experience it, you don't just read it, you do it by doing the math, listening to the music, participating in the culture surrounding it, and discussing the ideas you come across with other people.
As much as the book is packed full of ideas, the book alone doesn't give you everything you need to get the most out of it. Reading GEB has often been a solitary experience, with readers having to go look up the music, the cultural references, the details of the math, and the ways these fields of knowledge have changed in the decades since it was written.
You could imagine a supplement to GEB that contains everything the book doesn't. A place to find "notes in the margin" written by other people sharing the experience of reading the book. That's what this wiki could be.
Sections of the book
How to get started
- Create your account on Wikia, or log in to your existing account. (This has the benefit of replacing the ad on the bottom bar with useful tools.)
- Click any "Edit" button or any red link to start editing. Look at Three-Part Invention and Chapter 1 for examples if you're starting a new page about a section of the book.
- You can make simple edits using Wikia's graphical editor, but if you're doing any interesting formatting, you'll probably end up needing to use the "source editor", where you edit the Wikitext in the same syntax that would be used on Wikipedia. To use the source editor, click the ≡ drop-down menu in the upper right, next to "Cancel" and "Publish".
- Start discussing the book!
- If you have something to say about a chapter that you think should be part of a reader's guide to GEB, put it directly in that chapter's article.
- If you have something to say that's more subjective or uncertain, such as your personal take on something in GEB that others are free to disagree with, add it to a section called "Commentary" and sign it with your user name.
- For more temporary things, such as discussing the current state of a page or replying to someone, use the comment box at the bottom of the page.
- The "Insert > Media" option on the toolbar will help you add images and videos to articles, including embedding YouTube videos.
- Read the freshly-minted Rules and guidelines. Follow them if you think they're right. Edit them if you think they should be different.