Comparison of Hypermodernism, Transmodernism, and Metamodernism

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A draft attempt to draw distinctions, written in 2018. See the discussion below from a context provided by the author in December 2020, in a fb discussion.

Matthew McNatt:

1. Hypermodernism (Transhumanism)

• Inspirations: Technology, science, retooled Gnosticism • Production biases: Favors the incorporation of big tech in the creation and distribution of almost everything, the extraction of value from pooled user data, and the expropriation of residual value from millions of transactions. Supports homogenized global consumerism, the commodification of care, the use of personal data for targeted advertising, and an acceptance of almost any lifestyle choice that doesn't entail judging others. Deploys measurement to try to transcend natural limits. Interrogates anything that, if made problematic, might divide political opposition. • Norms: Prioritizes empiricism and commercialism, regardless of the effects on society; is committed to the transformation of humanity into something still unknown; seeks to maximize profit and power for a few, with inspiring words and media for the many. • Life Orientation: Seeks to eradicate sickness and disability with technology (and, through genetic screening, to reduce the number of babies with genetic abnormalities who are carried to term), and supports public funding of elective cosmetic surgery (facilitating the transformation of any individual's body into his/her/zer ideal). Typically, supports GM experimentation and corporate ownership of genetic information, defends euthanasia, and embraces unrestricted access to in vitro fertilization, surrogate parenting, genetic screening, abortion on demand, cloning and, in some versions, the right to sell one's own body parts for profit.

2. Metamodernism

• Inspirations: Deconstruction, irony, recovery groups, overcoming nihilism through art • Production biases: Favors creation *by* organizations formerly on the periphery but now centered, favors technology sharing to allow for unique creations by artists esteemed within their locales, supports being cautious about cultural appropriation and being self-critical to avoid exoticization of the other, prefers fantastic re-imaginations of possibilities (sometimes, whether or not these meet most locals' needs), actively interrogates the oppressive hegemony of any universal standards for measurement, reason, truth, or beauty • Norms: Prioritizes the individual (and, perhaps, voluntary collectives) as basic units of society; committed to a hacker ethic of expropriating insights from dominant cultures; seeks to maximize choice and expression • Life Orientation: Plays up the positive sides of illness and disability (e.g., unique ways of knowing and inherently valuable perspectives). Is agnostic toward genetic modification and (in general) ownership of genetic discoveries. Typically supports in vitro fertilization, genetic screening, access to at least early-term abortions, and the availability of euthanasia,

3. Transmodernism

• Inspirations: Process and liberation philosophies and psychologies, Levinasian ethics, existentialism, and personalism; • Production biases: Favors co-creating *with* people on and from the periphery, then "scaling across" (adapting designs for local materials and production conditions, incorporating local insights and sharing results), and being open to the formation of "new indigenous" cultures. Prefers human-scale distributed agriculture and production to meet basic needs and using measurement to enhance human cooperation with the rest of nature • Norms: Prioritizes family and clan as basic units of society, committing to ressourcement of insights from old-but-still-living traditions and seeking to maximize joy and minimize harm • Life Orientation: Welcomes to the infirm and disabled, opposes euthanasia, and typically favors restrictions on in vitro fertilization, abortion, cloning, minimally tested genetic modification, and any ownership of genetic discoveries.



Matthew McNatt:

"1. The above post is from 2018, when I had not yet realized that "transmodernism" and "transmodernity" weren't interchangeable. Enrique Dussel's work developing transmodernism strikes me as quite integral. María Rodríguez Magda's and others' work in developing transmodernity, on the other hand, strikes me as part of the metamodern project, with its many streams that are deeply ironic, if optimistic, along with a few integral tributaries.

2. Here is Brent Cooper's summary of metamodernism, with many links: [1]. Brent catalogs a wide variety of uses of the term, only some involving "tier two social design from an integral perspective." Justo González's early reference to metamodernism, which Brent documents here, seems (to me) to share a fair bit in common with Dussel's transmodernism.

3. I care much more about drawing distinctions among possible ways forward—to facilitate cooperation within communities that share values, even if those communities' efforts sometimes clash—than I do about what we call these possible ways forward. For example, since (with Michel) I view the woke religion as destructive, it's important to me to surface its values—see—so I can partner with people determined to not let our projects be torn apart by it.

4. I think it's important that the P2P community continues to discuss how we respond to postmodernists' demolition of unifying meta-narratives and to critical theorists' deconstruction of a shared "human condition"; c.f.,

• I agree that what I called "metamodernism" above shares much in common with cultural posthumanism and philosophical posthumanism. • Similarly, I think what I call "transhumanism" shares much in common with hypermodernism.

If the labels above prove an impediment to discourse, I'm fine using others. Parsing the overlapping discourses here and documenting their intricacies for posterity is a useful academic project (thank you, Brent)—AND that's not my wheelhouse."


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