Bart forwarded me:
Five years ago, I embarked on an expedition for which I was too unfit and unprepared. My circumstances at the time were not conducive to success, yet I stepped boldly forward anyway.
I made it as far as the third base camp, approximately halfway to the ultimate goal. The journey so far had been tiring, but perhaps even more mentally taxing. I could see the monstrous edifice looming above me, and was determined to reach the peak, but alas it was not to be.
As I stood there, gazing upwards in awe, the chill winds of lambda calculus swirled around me, bringing clouds that obscured the summit. I was ill-equipped and too fragile to continue. Reluctantly, I turned back.
Since then, I have often contemplated making another assault on that formidable peak. Yet always I still felt mentally unprepared, and the dread of another failure kept me from setting out again. Perhaps I could have done it four years ago, perhaps three years ago. But always, it was that fear of failure that held me back. A second defeat would be devastating.
But I have become stronger and more capable over the intervening years. I have exercised regularly and am fitter now than I was five years ago. I have broadened my horizons. I have written and published over a thousand webcomic strips with topics ranging far and wide, trawling all realms of history, language, mathematics, and philosophy for material. I have learnt bits and pieces of several languages, and understand much better the intricacies and ambiguities of translation. I have had deep philosophical discussions with friends, exploring the realms of consciousness, recursion, infinity, and self-reference. I have been part of a winning team of an internationally known puzzle competition, requiring creative, analytical, and insightful thought. I have learnt functional programming.
I am ready.
This time, I will finish GÃ¶del, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid.
…and he added: which is a reminder that I probably should have a go at reading GEB as well… I found “Le Ton beau de Marot” a very interesting read, but assume GEB’s going to be a bit more math-y than “Le Ton beau”)
I replied with my stock observation which has been valid since I first read the book in 1984, c/o my friends Neal and Wanda:
I have yet to meet anyone who read it non-stop; most instead pause for 3 to 36 months (or more) at some point between 50 and 75% of the way through the book.
So don’t rush it. It’s easier to go with the flow.