What It Means To "Go Meta"

By Leo Gura - April 2, 2021 | 4 Comments

A deep exploration of the concept of “going meta”

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Joel says:

Thank you, Leo. By the way the world’s greatest concert pianist is Alexander Malofeev. Check him out on YouTube. Joel

Eternity says:

It’s very tedious to listen to your videos. I wish you could be more direct, present the info clearly and efficiently, in 10 min or less. Thank you

Random College Kid says:

Some of my added examples from the meta examples in the video.

Breaking the 4th Wall (A fictional character knows they’re a fictional character) : See the TV tropes page for multiple examples of this. Interesting that you say that the 4th wall can possibly be broken in video games, where Mario can become aware that you’re playing him as a video game character. There are actually examples of video games that have a story line entirely based on the fact that the characters are aware that they’re in a video game, though obviously this is planned by the video game developers, and not like the characters are sentient like in your example of what future video games may be like. I’m not sure if this counts, but kind of reminds me about the video game Simulacra and Simulacra 2, which is a mystery video game where you use the phone of someone in the format of a real phone, and you have to discover the supernatural origins of why the owner of the phone was murdered. Spoiler alert: The “monster” in the game, which is basically an evil sentient AI, is aware that you are using a phone in the sense that you just think of it as a “game”, which is obviously planned, but very creative.

Metadata (Data about data) : Interesting that you mention metadata even when it comes to even physical letters. It kind of reminds me of the job interview advice of not just making the content of your resume excellent, but also the envelope containing the envelope. That is, someone should buy a very formally decorated envelope, to use a very fancy seal, even with a perfume like scent to it, to grab the attention of your employer who has to probably look after dozens and dozens, if not hundreds of the same types of resumes all day.

Metahumor (Humor about humor) : Anti-jokes sound similar to this idea. This is a joke where something is made where you expect a punchline, but the comedian goes on and on without any punchline actually coming, hence an anti-joke. A joke made to make fun of how people expect a real joke.

Metalearning (Learning about learning) : Barbara Oakley’s free course on the website Coursera Learning How to Learn, on her research on the brain and how it learns made for educators, but due to its general nature, becomes the most popular course on the website. I suggest you look into it yourself.

As an IT engineer, I also know the math website Better Explained has a very meta exploration of how to learn math, and WTF professor also has this but on a lesser level. For bloggers on learning, there’s Thomas Frank on his famous study habits blog, and on a lesser extent (because they’re very Stage Orange, but their ideas still have a lot of insight though only for growth on an intellectual level), Scott Young and Cal Newport’s blogs on their learning experiences.

Metalanguage (Language about language) : This is actually proven in psychology that different languages influence how you think. For example, in many languages such as Spanish or many European languages, many objects have a gender, and even in different languages, the same objects are referred to by opposite genders. This then colors how we associate cerain objects with gender, and even very neutral objects, by the perception of English speakers, have an associated gender in many languages.

Also some languages are focused on the structure of subject first then object after, such as “Bob eats an apple.” Though other languages, like Japanese, has the object first then the subject after, in a way that sounds like “The apple is being eaten by Bob.” We can say that in English, but it sounds more awkward than it does compared to Japanese. In casual language in Japanese, you can even say the “The apple has been eaten,” without saying the whole sentence, while in English, a more casual speaker would just say, “Bob ate.” This makes it so that cultures that have subject first languages are more likely to place fault and responsibility on the person or other subject performing the action, while those that place object first may put more fault and responsibility on the object or item itself.

Also, if you look up “Foreign words that don’t have translations in English,” you end up finding a lot of concepts English speakers do not tend to have a concept of.

Considering you mention the possibility of aliens coming in the future and the languages they have, the science-fiction movie Arrival comes to mind, which is about a linguist professor and her team researching the language of the aliens, which is composed of the circular patterns they make from their blank ink, considering they’re like octopuses in some way. Then by learning the language of the aliens, she ends up gaining the ability to see into the future, as the aliens do. Very interesting, though some types may not like it because it’s not a very action oriented science fiction film.

If you object to the fact that languages cannot be visual, see for example sign language for deaf people, and how there is even a different set of “tone” and “grammar” based on how you gesticulate with your hands. For example, someone who is very energetic with how they move their hands is like someone speaking enthusiastically with their voice, while someone who is slower and more deliberate with moving their hands, is like someone who speaks in a gentler, planned and quieter manner.

Random College Kid says:

More meta notes I would like to add for extra insight

Metareligion religion about religion The Ancient Wisdom Project blog has an agnostic atheist dude trying the routines of different religions spiritual beliefs in 30 days or a month In the archives of the website There is Buddhism Awareness Catholicism Compassion Epicureanism Pleasure Hinduism True Self Islam Humility Judaism Community Stoicism Tranquility and Taoism NonAction I really recommend it if you would take a look

There are other interfaith type websites and books of course but this is what I think is personally the best as an introduction on what the different religions can offer in lessons even without you believing in it if you search Christianity other religion in searching for books you tend to find a lot Sometimes there are other combinations like Hinduism Buddhism or Islam Judaism are the most common ones I see that are not Christianity related

Meta chess Chess about chess It kind of reminds me of those chess with a twist type of games out there For example there is the Really Bad Chess mobile game which is like ordinary chess except that you have completely random pieces in the board at a time instead of the specific formal arrangement Then there is the game Chessplode where if a piece is captured the pieces in the same row explode Then there are other similar chess with a twist games such as Twisting Chess Plunder Chess Chess 2 Elemental Chess Speed Chess Neon Chess Quantum Chess All Queens Chess Auto Brawl Chess Kamikaze Chess and so on but Really Bad Chess is the most famous version of this

Meta art Art about art Im not sure if this is what you mean since you placed so little examples but this reminds me of the trippinthroughtime subreddit where people make memes of classical art or if you look up GIFs of different classical art you can find different variations of the same traditional type art but with a twist Sometimes the website Daily Art other than just mentioning a lot of older to modern art makes a lot of classical art type memes on its social media pages I also see this Infinite Zoom art online where if you keep zooming in over and over there will be an art piece in someones art with an art piece in that art with another art piece to that art which is famous with digital artists these days because you can only do that with digital art much of the time Mostly done by Gen Zers so you might not know this but there is a lot of art like this

Metamovies Movies about movies There are multiple action type movies that critique the cliches of action type movies that a lot of us know already and this may be because I dont watch romance very much but the movie Thats So Romantic is a romance movie that makes fun of the cliches in romance movies If you just search satire movies you tend to get an idea of movies like this Im not sure if this is related but Monty Python movies come to mind for some reason Theyre free to watch on YouTube if you want to watch that kind of stuff Kennie JD and her YouTube channel critiques a lot of movies that are selfaware of how bad they are some include movies about a killer chair killer tomatoes killer tire killer turkey vampire hunter Jesus and a pastor that has the ability to turn into a raptor which are real movies

Metaemotions Emotions about emotions So far at this point of the video Leo didnt mention this but I remember a lot of mindfulness and meditation books mentioning this That is to be mindful of the emotions you have about your emotions and even the emotions you have of your own emotions over emotions For example you feel upset over losing in a competition Then you get angry that you feel upset over it Even more you feel ashamed for getting angry about being upset and so on Its to practice being selfaware of that kind of emotion As the Buddha said In life we cant always control the first arrow However the second arrow is our reaction to the first The second arrow is optional You might not prevent the first negative emotional response but the emotional responses you add over your own negative emotional responses is helpful Like a local yoga teacher I know said You have to accept your own negative emotions If you cant do that you have to accept that you cannot accept your own negative emotions and so on

This also applies to meta thoughts Thoughts about thoughts that gets explored in traditional mainstream talk therapy to a degree that is in cognitive behavioral therapy for example That is where youre forced to examine all the thoughts you have about your own thoughts and to see all the examples of ANTS Automatic negative thoughts see Wikipedia page for more or the Wikipedia page of Cognitive distortion where you explore this kind of stuff Its a step forward from pure behaviorism in psychology where you only analyze a persons actions but not the thoughts causing that action or the thoughts that are causing certain thoughts in CBT A limited worldview yes but if you havent learned the basics of this idea I really recommend it Honestly mindfulness becomes easier personally to me if you learn the basics of your thoughts over your thoughts so you can be self aware of your emotions about your emotions as confusing as that sounds

Okay thats all for now I will watch the rest of Leos video

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