I love meta, I’ve always loved meta. It’s a great tool and I should write many articles to tell the richness of it.
What is meta ? See Wikipedia ! In two seconds : it’s a Greek preposition. I use it here in the strong meaning of “self-reference”. For example, metadata are data about data and a meta-discussion is a discussion about discussions !
It can be an astute trick in Arts. If you don’t have an idea, think meta. When Fellini didn’t have any idea for his next movie, he made one about a… director without any idea at all (it’s “8 1/2” of course).
Everything meta is fascinating. A book about books, a film about a film, etc.
Meta can be a buoy, a trick when you lack of something, like in Fellini’s example. I told my daughter one day that, if she had no idea in Art Class, she can “think meta”. It spices things. Draw someone who draws, that’s good ! Astute, that’s all.
But Meta can be toxic at times. I think it can be toxic in love, for example. At one point, you both are not talking easily about life, days, projects or funny things, you just begin to talk about the couple and how it works (or should work). And then you begin to spin !
This spinning begins when you communicate everyday about… how you communicate, how you are together, how everything “should be”. Every couple needs to meta-communicate of course, but not that much. Not constantly.
Meta is useful, but it’s also a trap. Or a symptom.
Tool : Think about meta when you’re lost in creativity. It’s a simple trick. It doesn’t work all the time. But It can unblock you.
Dial : If – in interpersonal communication – you feel that you’re spinning around meta (talking about the system works, talking about how the communication works or should work), move a flag : there’s danger here. Boredom and toxic goals appear. And tragic paradoxes on the “being spontaneous” mode
Lever : Some days, just being aware of meta toxicity is cool – shut it down :
Live, instead of putting words on your life…