Douglas Hofstadter – Metamagical Themas (1985)

by vyh

To express my debt to Martin [Gardner] and to symbolize the heritage of his column, I have kept his title “Mathematical Games” in the form of an anagram: “Metamagical Themas”.

What does “metamagical” mean? To me, it means “going one level beyond magic”. There is an ambiguity here: on the one hand, the word might mean “ultramagical”—magic of a higher order—yet on the other hand, the magical thing about magic is that what lies behind it is always non-magical. That’s metamagic for you!