note: i am not a psychologist. i am not a philosopher. i am a pathetic little teenager. these ideas have already occurred to someone else. et cetera.
Warning: as far as I can tell, I cannot write this writeup without bitching about myself, as this act of writing is, in fact, just an attempt to get farther meta. Also, noticing that fact is, too, and so on. Oh well.
It strikes me how much people seem to want to get farther meta than one another.
This pursuit is not necessarily a Good Thing, since as your point of view rises, the accuracy with which you can see diminishes. This is analogous to looking out the window of an airplane.
Before you can look out the window, you have to get on the airplane. You are born.
You find your seat. The airplane taxis around for a while. You muck around in a mode of thought where you cannot think about a situation which you are in for a while. That is to say, you cannot enter the meta-mode.
The airplane takes off. You enter the meta-mode for the first time. You think about something that's happening, rather than just being in the situation. A canonical example of this transition is a fight. A fellow third-grader pushes you for some random reason. You push him back. It escalates. The teacher intervenes, and you realize that, given the starting situation, pushing him back might not have been the only thing it was possible to do. You are thinking about what else you could do, rather than how to do what you're already doing but better.
Reasonably quickly, the plane rises in altitude. You are able to think more and more about abstractions and such. The price you pay for this is that you can see actual things less clearly, because you have them chunked into abstractions.
The plane cruises for a while. The view out the window is usually pretty boring.
Here there are several choices:
- The plane crashes, placing your point of view below ground level. You die, or turn into a human vegetable or something. This is probably not good.
- The plane does a groovy fly-by of the ground. You recall what it is to see things as they actually are. AFAICT, this is one of the things which some people call "enlightenment".
- The plane lands. You grow old and die, slowly growing more perceptive, and then less perceptive, before you find your home by the local church.
- There are other choices.
The pursuit of meta-ness can lead to extreme depression--if you are too high, everything looks the same, and if you don't like what it looks like, bad things can happen to your head. That said, it isn't necessarily bad. Be careful. One word: pay attention.