huneker

A name playfully proposed by Douglas Hofstadter for a unit measuring a sentient being's quantity of soul. He avoids assigning ratings (“because that would place us in the domain of the ludicrous”), but provides one set point: the average person is about 100 hunekers. A mosquito is put at 0.00000001 hunekers. In the same book (page 325) Hofstadter defines the “dollop of consciousness”: “the dollop being the standard unit of élan mental”.

Hofstadter named the unit for James Huneker (1857 – 1921), who wrote the prefaces for the Schirmer edition of Chopin's études. In his preface to one étude, Huneker advised it not be attempted by “small-souled men”.

Douglas Hofstadter.
I Am a Strange Loop.
New York: Basic Books, 2007.

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