I’ve noticed in myself a strong preference for focusing on the meta level. It’s most visible in fields dear to me, like writing. For example, I’ll spend much more time reading up on rhetoric or tracking down rare 1980′s books about writing techniques than practicing writing essays or stories.
I don’t like this because my ultimate goal in studying the meta level is to get better at the object level. At the same time, I am sometimes rewarded for going so meta. I’ve gotten a lot of respect at work paired with feedback that I provide excellent feedback and perspectives.
There don’t seem to be immediately painful effects of this state. I have a family and a job and my life seems in order overall. But there’s a hunger for a) putting theory to the test and seeing results (ie. making meta pay rent), and b) learning from direct experiences & sharing those experiences with others. Meta is a lonely place to be.
I don’t think I’m the only one in this position. I found these two posts with just a few seconds of searching (I’m sure there’s more): https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/g2AKPEzFdQitmpTDu/meta-addiction https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/RnP5bR767NcxebYHd/conjecture-on-addiction-to-meta-level-solutions
The last few days, I’ve been catching myself starting on a meta-deepening activity and consciously switching to an object-level task. It’s been rewarding so far, so I believe that in a few weeks, my habits will shift toward where I want to be.
But I’m curious: has anyone else experience something similar? How did it go for you? What did you do?