Metacommentology is a new science that we found necessary to invent because it's basically all anyone talks about. It is the study of commenting on comments. Metacommentology may be used to dissect conversations to find their cosmic meaning.
A metacomment is a comment on a comment, and is one level of abstraction higher than a comment. When you comment on a meta-comment, that's a meta-meta-comment and so on ad infinitum/ nauseam. The Ultimate Comment will be the ultimate abstraction, overarching all levels of abstraction. Metacommentology is closely tied with the study of abstraction itself (which is a very abstract thing to study).
It is commonly thought that we inhabit an objective, 'external' universe and that we receive impressions in consciousness of this universe. What we perceive is not the external universe itself, as we are subject to hallucinations, dreams etc. So far, so good. Now, if there exists Universe1, the external universe, and Universe2, our internal representation of Universe1, what happens when we create a representation of Universe2? By meta-commenting, we create a new reality, an entire new motherfuckin' universe at a new level of abstraction and representation.
The use of metacommentology by members of The Ultimate Comment is analogous to the use of meditation by Buddhists: it is a practise we use for philosophical insight and self-development, but it is not tied to a system of belief. Followers of any path would do well to apply it.
Metacommentology is the study of conversations, jokes, social intercourse, and all the ways in which we get along, communicate, form plans, make changes, express ourselves and all that jazz and blues. Say there are a few people hanging out and there's a lull in conversation. How does it start up again? With a comment - maybe a comment on a movie someone saw, on something you notice, on a social trend or whatever. Where does it go from there? With either another comment or else a metacomment.
Note that metacomments often have no descriptive content at all; they can still serve their purpose by changing the level of abstraction. For example, this excellent metacomment. A quintessential - and extremely useful - metacomment is, "What do you mean by that?"
Metacomments can be used to control frames of conversation by calling somebody out if use social gambits such as:
- assigning social roles (like entertainer, slut, skivvy etc.)
- playing cards (the 'race' card, the 'gay' card etc.)
- fishing (for sympathy, for compliments etc.)
- face threatening acts (designed to make someone "lose face")
- trips (guilt trips, power trips)
Next time somebody tries one of these social gambits around you, just comment on what they're doing; it'll completely disempower the tactic. Post your results on our lovely forum. Metacommenting on non-verbal communication is useful e.g. "You say that, but you won't make eye contact when you say it."
Imagine Zebedee and Philomena meet in a social setting and start talking:\ P: What do you do for a living?\ Z: Have you ever noticed how people always ask each other the same questions?
Rather than remain at the level of abstraction Philomena was talking at, Zebedee uses metacommentology to move to a more interesting, more aware stance. It would be almost impossible for the conversation to move back to the topic of what Zebedee does for a living.
Use in self-talk
We talk to ourselves to try and change our minds. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Metacommentology is a really useful tool in metaprogramming your mind. Next time you're trying to convince yourself of something, comment on the thoughts you have and bring your perspective to a new level of abstraction.
Use in The Great Work
There are hidden powers lying dormant in your mind, powers of visualisation, powers of imagination, powers to control your mood, powers of creativity. How do we draw these powers out from the depths of the mind and bring them under the yoke of the will? One way is by commenting on whatever hint of them floats into consciousness. Win Wenger claims that you can greatly expand your visual thinking skills, the acuity of the senses of taste and smell and other faculties by commenting on them. The primary method by those looking to enhance awareness of dreams has always been commenting on them consciously. Commenting focuses the attention on mental events and thereby reinforces them.
Metacommentology exposes any flaws in logic that may be hidden in belief systems or arguments, by challenging presuppositions or logical fallacies and by paraphrasing statements in such a way that highlights their failings. If somebody tells you you have to make a leap of faith and believe in God, rather than responding with direct agreement or disagreement, ask, "Why do I have to?", "What is belief?" (see metabelief), "What is God?", "What is faith?" and "What the heck is the deal with your psychedelic face?". Only the most sound and whole belief systems can withstand more than a few meta-questions.
The 'linguistic turn' in philosophy is an instance of metacommentology. Whereas oldskool philosophers would have said stuff like "Numbers exist necessarily", modern philosophers will ask "What does it mean to say numbers exist necessarily?"
Other people's versions of metacommentology
Metacommentology is somewhat similar to the psychotherapeutic method used by Virginia Satir and described as the "meta model " in John Grinder and Richard Bandler's books "The Structure of Magic" volumes 1 and 2.
It also has parallels to the Socratic method of questioning. At The Ultimate Comment, we believe that the wise man can stand on a beach and see the whole universe in a grain of sand, while the stupid man can find a patch of seaweed, lie down in it, roll around till he's covered in the stuff, then stand up and yell, "I'M VINE MAN!". The second thing you can do without metacommentology, but commenting enough on the grainofsand may help you to see the universe in it, which is what the Socratic method was all about.
- Cosmic stenographer
- Texts:Comments, Metacommenting and the Ultimate Comment by Shane T
- A groin-grabbingly nice introduction to metacommentology and The Ultimate Comment