Re: ruminations on the big 5; two-thirds-- and 3!

Jack Gerber (
Fri, 29 Sep 1995 08:44:53 -0400 (EDT)

On Tue, 26 Sep 1995 wrote:

> c) The Self-Referential 3-Way Mirror Limit???
> Has anyone noticed, taken seriously enough to research, or even published
> something on the following limitation in our apperceptions of iterated
> self-referential statements: (*)
> - I can aprehend the meaning of a sentence like "I think" readily, of course
> - I can similarly apprehend the meaning of the sentence "I think (that) you
> think" easily enough
> - I can manage to apprehend "I think you think I think"
> - but one more iteration, "I think you think I think you think" and my
> ability to hold the reflected meaning evaporates, and all I'm left with is
> the value of the written text as a calculus for (i.e. representation of)
> the meaning.
> (*) If no-one has, I hereby claim this as _Jankowicz's_ Self-Referential
> 3-Way Mirror Limit; fame at last!
> Something to do with information-processing limitations, no doubt;
> something to do with the way in which we encode information, perhaps.
Devi -

This is a particularly interesting example because it is a perfect
illustration of the fact that our thinking is a non-linear system (from
Chaos theory) which suddenly breaks down in a predictable way.