“Recursion is the process of repeating items in a self-similar way. For instance, when the surfaces of two mirrors are exactly parallel with each other the nested images that occur are a form of infinite recursion.” You can see this within cool concepts in computer science, such as recursive functions.
Recursion, conceptually, is eerily similar to the prefix “meta”:
“In epistemology, the prefix meta- is used to mean about (its own category). For example, metadata are data about data (who has produced them, when, what format the data are in and so on). Also, metamemory in psychology means an individual’s knowledge about whether or not they would remember something if they concentrated on recalling it. Furthermore, metaemotion in psychology means an individual’s emotion about his/her own basic emotion, or somebody else’s basic emotion.” My current place of employment – the metaLAB @ Harvard – involves exploring types of knowing and technological solutions to engaging in digital humanities and all kinds of things no one know yet.
So, while recurring self-reference may sometimes seem arrogant, annoying, or unnecessary (at least when it happens in people…) it is also awesome in all kinds of ways.