On Metacognition

Feb 23 · 3 min read

& upgrading our lens to view reality.

“Meta-” coming from the greek to mean beyond or after, often used as a prefix as an additive of abstraction of an abstraction, the concept it is added to.

Metacognition is “cognition about cognition”, “thinking about thinking” and becoming “aware of one’s awareness.” Metacognition is seeing one owns programming, like an AI that becomes self-aware of the code and rules that run it.

Being able to see the code behind your thought process has many benefits. It is like noticing you are in a dream and be able to defy the rules. Being able to modify the structures, paths mental models and heuristics behind your thought process can lead to experimentation with said thought process.

What does this experimentation entail? Well, you can stress test every line of code and every variable, seeing the outputs that this leads to. Iteration is key, by trying out different variable changes you can have an encompassing view of the thought process you use in each situation.

Continuing with the metaphor of being able to see one’s code, metacognition can be really useful to search for bugs in the code and eliminate them. There are faulty lines of code in each and every one of us, be it conscious or unconscious. These faulty lines and bugs may be caused by increasing complexity and stress testing the code to its limits.

What is needed is a new patch or lines of code to replace the old thought process, to make it more complex and adaptable to increasing complexity: metasystem transition.

One should review and stress test all thought processes in one’s mind. Similar to Descartes rejecting everything and only letting in his core philosophy ideas that have been reviewed by himself, one by one, creating his foundation.

It is important to trace back how ideas entered our framework, when did they enter and why do we still use them. Some entered to give a temporary solution and they haven’t failed too much ever since. Others were there since birth and only know we are realizing they are there. Others where the basic version 1.0 to keep us alive, a low resolution framework that keeps our fluids inside and helps us breathe.

After reviewing all existing thought processes in one’s mind, and rejecting faulty ones (ones that don’t explain reality that well), metacognition is necessary to review new heuristics and mental models to include in the pre-existing framework.

We are engineering our thought process and lens in which we see reality through, we only should add code that enhances the resolution from said lens. These upgrades come at a cost, as higher resolution comes with further understanding of reality, and our old perceptions have been with us for a long time and helped us thus far.

Increasing complexity in understanding can lead to analysis paralysis. An all-encompassing thought process can lag and be slow if our brain hasn’t assimilated it yet. In times of needed action, thinking about all the work in the background to give a response may be the difference between failure and success.

Seeing behind the curtain of all the works in place may also cause detachment from biology and humanity, as we become more automated and algorithmic, more predictable and less random.

Is there a benefit to understand every thought process behind our actions? Is life a low resolution understanding of our algorithmic tendencies?

Being able to modify the resolution at which we understand reality is a red pill in itself. We should aim to review and stress test our existing framework, adapting and upgrading everything that is possible.

It takes time, and it also comes with the cost of being less human and random. Too much processing power put into the reviewing and understanding of one’s code can lead to overload and analysis paralysis.

Call to action!

By Benjamin JW, from http://benjamingjw.com/

edited by GRITCULT.

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