The Mind’s I
We recently encountered the 1981 anthology “The Mind’s I,” by Douglas Hofstadter and Daniel Dennett, and we’re pretty sure our brain will never be quite the same. The collection contains “fantasies and reflections on self and soul” expressed in essays, stories and one-act plays that work as literary thought experiments meant to refine (define?) our understanding of the abiding mystery of consciousness. It’s not exactly summer beach reading, but it’s also not impossibly dense. Contributors include the philosopher Stanislaw Lem and the now-famous thinker Richard Dawkins, whose seminal essay “Selfish Genes, Selfish Memes” (in which the now popular word “meme” was first introduced) is included here. Brilliant, bizarre, and weirdly haunting, “The Mind’s I” feels like one thrilling version of the truth.