The prefix meta indicates the underlying structure or principle of something. For instance, the prefix is used often in computer science to describe the hidden structures involved in the organization and definition of data, such as metadata. In that context, it is the "data about data". Physics is the science of matter, energy, and their interaction. Metaphysics, then, is the study of the underlying structure or governing principle of matter, energy, and their interaction. The word may or may not have spiritual connotations.

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