This is only a fragment of an idea, but I thought I'd post it to see if anyone else had thought about this and had anything interesting to contribute. We are parts of the universe, and we observe it. This is a kind of self-reference. Other examples of self-reference include those typically thought of as absurd, like "this statement is false" and "the set of all sets which don't contain themselves." But are these really absurd, or is it just that they don't fit into the standard formulation of logic? By seriously studying these self-referential concepts, could we gain insight into consciousness? Is there a field that studies self-reference? Just as an example of what I mean, take "this statement is false" and "this statement is true." These are both meaningless in a conventional sense. But investigating them a little more, the former is, in a sense "wrong" since it can't be true, and the latter is "right," since it has to be true even though it contains no meaning. Is there some similar, more general way to at least categorize these types of things? I'll think about this some more and come back if I have any useful ideas. One more thing. I don't know if anyone has read "Godel, Escher, and Bach" by Douglas Hofstatder, but when I first heard about that book it sounded incredible. It was a book relating "strange loops" (basically the self-referential structures I'm talking about) to consciousness. But it never really delivered on this, as I remember, and I was left disapointed. Did anyone get anything more out of this book than I did?