I have been using Blender for a year now, and I have wondered many times,"What is the difference between a meta-object and a mesh?" What exactly is the difference? Why can a mesh not be calculated like a meta-object? How does Blender calculate the material shaders for the metas?
According to the Blender Manual:
Meta objects are nothing more than mathematical formula that perform logical operations on one another (AND, OR), and that can be added and subtracted from each other. This method is also called Constructive Solid Geometry (CSG). Because of its mathematical nature, CSG uses little memory, but requires lots of processing power to compute.
In contrast, a mesh object is defined by Wikipedia as follows:
A polygon mesh is a collection of vertices, edges and faces that defines the shape of a polyhedral object in 3D computer graphics and solid modeling. The faces usually consist of triangles (triangle mesh), quadrilaterals (quads), or other simple convex polygons (n-gons), since this simplifies rendering, but may also be more generally composed of concave polygons, or even polygons with holes
Also helpful to see the Wikipedia page on Metaballs to further compare the differences between the two, and see the history of the object outside of Blender.
To directly answer your question, a mesh cannot be calculated in the same way as a meta-object, because a mesh object is described as a collection of vertices, edges and faces defining the shape of the object, while a meta-object is only a mathematical formula doing the same.