How to become more intellectual/knowledgeable

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Tachikoma
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#1
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I know this person who is the same age as me (19) and he is the funniest but also one of the cleverest guys I've come across. He knows so much from politics to religion to random but useful terminology. I feel like I'm seriously lacking in knowledge and don't know what to do to be as knowledgeable as him. Like today he made a joke referring to 'meta' stuff and I didn't get it since I'm not too familiar with the term 'meta' even though I've heard of it before.

Can anyone suggest how to go about becoming more well rounded as a person? I'm really into fiction and read/watch a lot of books and movies so I do learn a few things when creators include themes such as psychological effects on people (characters in the story), different types of humour with different authors, different political ideas presented in a story etc. But I don't know enough if that makes sense. Is reading non fiction related to those subject areas the best way to learn? Any advice is well appreciated.
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Anonymous #1
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My brain is a little different from most (I have asperger's) so this advice may not work but...
1. Get an obsession. Find some random and obscure thing (like yurts) and find every minute detail you can about it, draw pictures of it and talk about it non-stop. Then you'll be an expert at it.
2. Go on Google, search up a definition of a word, look at the synonyms, if there is one you don't know click on it. Repeat and expand your vocabulary. (e.g. Floccinauccinihilipilification)
3. Find something you're already interested in (e.g. Astronomy) and look stuff up about it, skip over what is boring and just learn more about an interesting topic.
4. Download Duolingo and learn a language.

In general though, you are probably a lot smarter than you realise. Many people think I'm really clever at school but I'm really terrible at my favourite subject (drama). Perceptions differ from person to person and intelligence is not the most important factor to success.

Again, sorry if it's not helpful. Thank you for spending your time reading it though
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doodle_333
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Reading is a good way forward as it will increase your vocabulary a lot which makes you sound more knowledgeable. You should also try and follow the news/politics as closely as possible and ask questions to people who know more. If you see or hear about something you don't understand google it and learn more.
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jkls92
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Haven't you taken classes on Classics or Philosophy? Try reading books relating to a historical period that interests you or from an author you talked about in school and you didn't find boring, or maybe books from a certain period or movement. For example, in the last period, I've been focusing on the first half of the 20th century and have been reading Fitzgerald, Waugh, Mitford. It's all connected so whenever you are interested in something of some cultural value you can find a wide literature behind it. And often a filmography too! If you are interested in politics, philosophy, law (court cases), mythology, epics, war, theatre, even love or (uncommon) poetry, ancient history/historiography and classical literature per se, then there are absolute masterpieces from Latin and Ancient Greek authors, it's a marvellous dimension to explore.
There are also essays or books relating to specific topics that you might find interesting, like the "Communist Manifesto" by Marx and Engels, Mill's "On Liberty", his partner's works on women's rights and, thinking about Mitford, on linguistics, though that's a rather silly piece of literature. I'm sorry I can't provide better guidance, school gave me much of my knowledge and the inputs/means to develop it further.

p.s Books aren't the only way, one can also learn from people and through dialogue! Try talking about this with him, maybe he has some useful tips!
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Μετά means "betweeen"/"after" in Ancient Greek, but the current meaning is quite different and there's a cool story behind. Andronicus of Rhodes had to catalogue Aristotle's works and didn't know how to deal with some unnamed notes. Since, in the order in which he received them, they occupied the position after the books on Physics, he simply decided to call them "τα μετά τα φυσικά" (metaphysics). The title was quite fortunate because the actual content of the book was metaphysics. Now, I'm being a bit paradoxical and paretymological, but basically, these notes were about "physics beyond physics". Nowadays "meta" has come to mean "something beyond/inside/of itself". Metablogging, for example, is to blog about blogging, metatheatre has various meanings, one is "to break the fourth wall" (beyond), metapoetry is "poetry about/of poetry".

Andronicus, who was in Rome, got those works from Athens after it was sieged by Sulla. Research on him would lead to talking about the civil wars which arose after his clashes with Marius and ended only with the Pax Augusta, defining a span of about 100 years that marked the historical and literary apex of Roman arts and of the drama not only of the Republic but of romanity lato sensu. More on topic, Horace wrote "Grecia capta ferum victorem cepit, et artes intulit agresti Latio" (Greece that was sieged in turn sieged its savage victor, and brought arts in rural Lazio). Under this perspective, Andronicus, himself of greek origins, and his aforementioned experience with Aristotle's works, are valid examples.

I quoted the word "paretymology", which is a false etymology (derivation of a word). One brilliant example is "Ita solus potitus imperio Romulus, condita urbs conditoris nomine appellata.", ending line of an initial chapter of the Ab Urbe Condita by Livius. Although he claims the contrary (for traditional fiction, not malevolence or ignorance), the name "Romulus" actually derived from "Rome", not the other way round. Another, more contemporary, case is the word "posh" (probably wrongly) thought to derive from "port out starboard home".
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