Meta (Really) is the Word

I remarked that at the turn of the 2nd millennium, when most of the world was focussed on the eponymous bug, that The Economist had declared “Meta is the Word” for start of the 3rd millennium. I’ve emphasised several times that Meta is a key aspect of my whole agenda, here a string of 2011 and earlier references. It resonated with me back in Y2K because it had become clear in my business information modelling day job that we were really meta-modelling the architecture of such models – and further meta-meta-modelling those ad infinitum – meta is a dimension, a direction, not a single layer.

Jonathan Rowson referred to our “meta-crisis” in a post on his Perspectiva blog in which he coined his “Tasting the Pickle” metaphor (or meme maybe). Just a couple of days ago I recorded having bookmarked this piece (one of many bookmarks, below), I can see it’s important, but haven’t had enough attention time to read it closely enough to get my head around it, yet.

Last night and today Jacob Kishere reminded me when he tweeted a reference to the meta-crisis as a meta-meme, when I didn’t immediately recognise he was referring to the same “meme” until he posted a second Jonathan link to his Medium blog.

Ironically, Jacob’s tweet was to express frustration that Jonathan’s call to arms had inexplicably failed to gain traction. Anyway dots joined-up even if I’ve no more immediate bandwidth to pick up that traction. For now:

[Aside – rough thoughts based on skims so far:

I suspect I completely agree with Jonathan about the meta-dimension of our current “crisis” being epistemic, educational and even spiritual (in some subjective, not entirely objective, sense). This is true almost independent of the explicit content of the current specific “crisis” topic

I suspect I will be disagreeing about the “emergency” timescale implicit in it being a crisis. It runs very deep, so deep and all-pervasive it’s meta to every specific example issue, very significant in terms of the ultimate high stakes in play – “our very rationality is at stake” to quote myself. Critical in terms of importance and priorities and escalating exponentially in terms of the speed of communications cycles (viral, memetic)- but happening over decades and centuries in physical, terrestrial and human lifecycles. Importance and urgency are orthogonal. Meta-urgent because it is VERY important, not because of any “scientifically” predicted “last chance” or “emergency” timescales.

PS what do you guys make of Rupert Read’s “extinction rebellion” take?]

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