"It is extremely interesting, then, to think about the meaning of the word ‘form’ as it applies to constructions of arbitrarily complex shapes. For instance, what is it that we respond to when we look at a painting and feel its beauty? Is if the ‘form’ of the lines and dots on our retina? Evidently it must be, for that is how it gets passed along to the analyzing mechanisms in our heads–but the complexity of the processing makes us feel that we are not merely looking at a two-dimensional surface; we are responding to some sort of inner meaning inside the picture, a multidimensional aspect trapped somehow inside those two dimensions. It is the word ‘meaning’ which is important here. Our minds contain interpreters which accept two-dimensional patterns and then ‘pull’ from them high-dimensional notions which are so complex that we cannot consciously describe them. The same can be said about how we respond to music, incidentally.
We human beings are macroscopic structures in a universe whose laws reside at a microscopic level. As survival-seeking beings, we are driven to seek efficient explanations that make reference only to entities at our own level. We therefore draw conceptual boundaries around entities that we easily perceive, and in so doing we carve out what seems to us to be reality."
- Douglas R. Hofstadter (1945 - )