Metamodernism

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Description

1. Gregg Henriques et Daniel Gortz:

"The most basic way to conceptualize metamodernism is to consider it as the mindset or sensibility or cultural code that comes after postmodernism (see here for the Wiki entry). As such, it is helpful to briefly review modernism and its relationship to postmodernism, which, in turn, sets the stage for understanding the emerging metamodern movement. Modernism is a mindset and cultural code that is formed during the emergence of modern science and the Enlightenment (thus, it has been around for ~300 years). It emphasizes reason and rationality, the power of science in deciphering foundational truths about the universe, capitalism, and the idea of human progress. It also emphasizes individuality and universal human rights. Most "modern" industrial societies are primarily organized by these values and codes.

Postmodernism arose mostly in the back half of the 20th century. In direct contrast to modernism, the postmodern viewpoint offers a skeptical critique of modernist knowledge and concludes that the knowledge we generate is always contextual. The postmodern argument is that there is an inevitable fusion of truth with social power. It was consolidated by philosophers like Jaques Derrida, Paul Feyerabend, and Michel Foucault. It manifested in movements such as the massive civil rights and feminist positions that emerged in the 1960s, as people demanded changes in the existing power structures that were seen to be connected to a Christian, white male hegemony. In 1979, Jean-François Lyotard captured the essence of the postmodern sensibility as being the absence of the grand narrative.

At its broadest contours, the metamodern view can be considered a kind of higher-order synthesis that includes and transcends both the modernist thesis about rationality and science and the postmodern antithetical critique. In addition, metamodernists tend to view the current state of our knowledge to be overly chaotic and fragmented and advocate for a more integrated pluralism that allows for positive, constructive work on what some have called a "post-postmodern grand meta-narrative." (https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/theory-knowledge/202004/what-is-metamodernism)


2. Brent Cooper:

"Metamodernism is the philosophy and view of life that corresponds to the digitalized, postindustrial, global age. This can be contrasted against modern and postmodern philosophies.

Modern philosophy is the general mechanistic, reductionist worldview that is still today the common “mainstream” narrative people learn in schools and that has most adherents in Western societies and in other developed economies. The modern worldview first blossomed with the Scientific Revolution of the 17th century (Newton’s physics, Descartes’ philosophy and Francis Bacon’s scientific method). It holds that physics is the basis of reality and that science and rationality set people free. It is tied to such things as democracy, capitalism, socialism and human rights. It corresponds to the living conditions of industrial society within the frames of a nation state.

Postmodern philosophy is the critical perspective that has grown from social science and the humanities over the last century and it has taken a firm hold of universities and social movements during the last few decades. Postmodernism involves a critical stance towards knowledge and science, and holds that power structures, unconscious drives, cognitive biases and arbitrary social constructions enthrall human minds. We are not nearly as rational as we think. Hence, the story of science and progress is not necessarily true: viewed from the perspective of the oppressed and weak, the progress of civilization often amounts to little more than exploitation, smoke screens, excuses and a more systematized oppression. The postmodern mind grows from late modern societies in which mass media and cultural distinctions often cause more suffering in people’s lives than do direct economic inequalities.

Metamodern philosophy enters the scene only once the Internet and the social media have become truly dominant factors in people’s lives and when many of us no longer partake directly in the production and distribution of industrial goods. It is a worldview which combines the modern faith in progress with the postmodern critique. What you get then, is a view of reality in which people are on a long, complex developmental journey towards greater complexity and existential depth. The metamodern philosophy is a whole world of ideas and suppositions that are counter-intuitive to modern and postmodern people alike. But since both the modern and postmodern philosophies are increasingly outdated, these metamodern ideas are set to develop, take hold, and spread. One day, they may become as dominant as the modern philosophy is today." (https://metamoderna.org/metamodernism/)


Principles

Brent Cooper:

"By way of introduction, metamodernist Seth Abramson outlines 15 principles to clarify and distinguish it from postmodernism. “Metamodernism is variously called a cultural paradigm, a cultural philosophy, a structure of feeling, and a system of logic. All these phrases really mean is that, like its predecessor’s modernism and postmodernism, metamodernism is a particular lens for thinking about the self, language, culture, and meaning — really, about everything.” — Seth Abramson

  1. Negotiation between modernism and postmodernism.
  2. Dialogue over dialectics.
  3. Paradox transcendence.
  4. Juxtaposition.
  5. The collapse of distances.
  6. Multiple subjectivities.
  7. Collaboration.
  8. Simultaneity and generative ambiguity.
  9. A cautiously optimistic response to metanarratives.
  10. Interdisciplinarity.
  11. Reconstruction instead of deconstruction.
  12. Engagement instead of exhibitionism.
  13. Effect as well as affect.
  14. Walllessness and borderlessness.
  15. Flexible intertextuality.

(https://medium.com/the-abs-tract-organization/beyond-metamodernism-c595c6f35379)


Characteristics

Gregg Henriques et Daniel Gortz:

"In a recent post to the metamodern discussion group, Daniel Görtz laid out six different domains or dimensions to the construct. Specifically, according to Görtz, metamodernism is: 1) a cultural phase; 2) developmental stage of society; 3) stage of personal development (with different complexly intertwined sub-categories thereof); 4) an abstracted meta-meme; 5) a philosophical paradigm, and 6) a sociopolitical movement. We share these six domains here for you to get a flavor for the movement and its emerging stripes.


Domains

1. Metamodernism as a Cultural Phase

Here metamodernism refers to trends within the culture at large that include the visual arts, theatre, architecture, literature, music, film, and so forth. In this context, it is the movement that comes after and redeems the cynicism and irony of postmodernism. Some examples are seen in the work of Vermeulen and van der Akker, comparable to the work of cultural theorists on post-postmodernism, digimidernism, transmodernism, performativism, postconstructivism, and enactivism.


2. Metamodernism as a Developmental Stage of Society and Its Institutions

As reviewed by this blog, we can trace the evolution of cultural justifications and the instructions that support them via identifiable stages. These include pre-formal indigenous justification systems that characterize hunter-gatherer and horticultural societies. Here oral narratives, face-to-face exchanges, and magical/mythic ritualistic practices to cultivate participatory meaning-making are key features.

Three to four thousand years ago, we saw the emergence of pre-modern formal systems of justification. These are the great religious and philosophical traditions, like Buddhism, Confucianism, Zoroastrianism, and the Judeo-Christian-Islamic belief system. These belief systems consist of sacred written texts, offer a formal narrative for what is and what ought to be, and function to coordinate huge numbers of people. Approximately 400 years ago, we saw modernism and then approximately 70 years ago, postmodernism. As elaborated by Hanzi Freinacht (see here and here), metamodernism can be considered a socio-political vision for the next developmental stage to emerge and stabilize after modern society (see also #6).


3. Metamodernism as a Relatively Late and Rare Stage of Personal Development

As noted by many developmental psychologists, and perhaps summarized and popularized most broadly by Ken Wilber, we can trace the development of moral, cognitive, emotional, existential, and relational stages. Across development lines, people move from pre-verbal stages at birth into concrete and relatively simple ways of thinking as young children into more abstract and conventional forms of thinking and relating and then into more holistic, integrated, and post-conventional ways of being. As such, metamodernism as a cultural code also lines up with a higher stage of personal development. (See work on ego development and self-transformation by such theorists and researchers as Robert Kegan, Hanzi Freinacht, Susanne Cook-Greuter, Michael L. Commons, Michael Basseches and Michael Mascolo, Kurt Fischer, Theo Dawson, Terri O'Fallon, Clare Graves, and Gerald Young.)


4. Metamodernism as a Meta-Meme

A meme is a cultural idea or icon that replicates and spreads. Some consider metamodernism to be a kind of meta-meme. This refers to a deep code that consists of pattern-of-patterns within the realm of meaning-making and symbols, with its own social, economic, and technological dynamics. Consider, for example, the concept of "emerge" as described here. This movement can be thought of as a meta-meme that signals themes that come together in a coherent, non-arbitrary manner, where the different parts resonate with one another and mutually reinforce each other, particularly around the emergence of a digitized internet society. This is explored in Hanzi Freinacht's upcoming work, The 6 Hidden Patterns of History, and it has a precedent in the work of Jean Gebser.


5. Metamodernism as a Holistic Philosophical Paradigm

Metamodernism is a way of viewing the world that emphasizes a kind of integrated pluralism. As such, we can think of it as a paradigm or model or schema that consists of a philosophy that includes a family of ideas concerning ontology, epistemology, aesthetics, and ethics. Some examples include Karen Barad's agential realism and onto-epistemology and Quentin Meillassoux's speculative realism.

Metamodern philosophical paradigms tend to emphasize elements such as holism; complexity science, information theory, and cybernetics; developmental views on emergence; ways of reconciling the natural and social sciences; a focus on the potential that bridges scientific and humanistic considerations. As a metapsychology for the 21st century, the Unified Framework, grounded as it is in the Tree of Knowledge theory of knowledge, represents an example of a metamodern philosophy that transcends and includes the key ontological, epistemological, and ethical considerations of both modernism and postmodernism.


6. Metamodernism as a Societal and Political Project

Metamodernism can also be considered a political project. Emerging primarily in relatively "progressive" countries and segments of "developed" societies, it is driven by ideals of creating open, participatory processes, collective intelligence, inner work and "embodiment," co-development, and an experimental view on rituals as well as attempts to "re-construct" everyday life and social reality, as well as attempts to bridge and synthesize perspectives of the Left and Right and the different sides of the culture wars, e.g., between traditionalists and progressives. Metamodernists tend to emphasize inner development as a political and sociological issue, deliberation and perspective taking as political tools, and focus on the intersection of inner depth and outwards complexity. The demographics of this movement is primarily drawn from what Hanzi Freinacht has termed the "Quadruple-H population" (Hipsters, Hackers, Hippies, and Hermetics)." (https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/theory-knowledge/202004/what-is-metamodernism)


Ideas

Brent Cooper:

Modern ideas:

  1. Faith in science
  2. Development and progress
  3. Democracy
  4. The individual
  5. A meritocratic social order
  6. Humanity can recreate nature by virtue of her reason


Postmodern ideas:

  1. Critical questioning of all knowledge and science
  2. Suspicion towards all grand narratives about “progress”
  3. Emphasis on symbols and contexts
  4. Ironic distance
  5. Cultures have been oppressed and ruined by modern society
  6. Reveals injustice in “democratic” societies
  7. Relations create the individual
  8. A multicultural order where the weak are included
  9. Humanity has destroyed the biosphere


Metamodern ideas:

  1. How can we reap the best parts of the other two?
  2. Can we create better processes for personal development?
  3. Can we recreate the processes by which society is governed, locally and globally?
  4. Can the inner dimensions of life gain a more central role in society?
  5. How can modern, postmodern and premodern people live together productively?
  6. How can politics be adjusted to an increasingly complex world?
  7. What is the unique role of humanity in the ecosystems of nature? "

(https://metamoderna.org/metamodernism/)

Typology

Metamodernism as a culture

"Metamodern culture is the subject of several books, art, as well as postmodern literature has veered into this direction since 2015. This can be seen as two schools: the Dutch school and the Nordic school. But there is also a black school.

2 a. Metamodernism as a religion

Metamodernism is the attempt to define social and historical prescriptions for development, and can be seen in the work of Ken Wilber as he attempts to a bridge between interior epistemology and metaphysics. This had been attempted by Habermas (who Wilber calls the most brilliant social theorist alive), but this amazing undertaking took place later in the century, in the deep spiritual sciences and metaphysics of cognitive and social asset Ken Wilber.

2 b.

A sub-distinction an be made of followers of Ken Wilber such as Dr. Robert Kegan, Dr. Jenny Wade, Dr. Terri O’Fallon, who in and of themselves have continued the pioneering works of American developmentalists and followed right to the pinnacle of what might be considered humanism. They have expressed how human development doesn’t stop in adulthood (age 25), as considered the norm in our current mainstream culture, but both our wisdom and compassion begin increasing, usually when we hit that exact point.

4. Metamodernism as a memetic program

Jean Gebser is the first systematizer of metamodernism as poetic/cultural genealogy. But this is not dry abstraction, but rather, sensing, intuitive “synairesis” or or systematic bringing together of non-systems. It’s rather hard to grasp, because this form of metamodernism is really a form of seeing.


5. Metamodernism as a philosophical/dialectical lodestone

This represents the shift from Einstein to Niels Bohr and on into Whitehead (circa 1920). Other philosophical metamodernists are Henri Bergson (who is brilliant, yet creative darwinist), Aurobindo and many others of the early moving into the mid 20th century. A notable figure, of prominent intellect, and perhaps the most prominent today is Steve Mcintosh.

b.

Metamodernism as Sexual Adaptation

These individuals who cluster this category are super rare but represent the amplification of philosophical metamodernism towards altruistic care, and metaphysical union….

Representatives of this key facet: Tielhard de Chardin (jesuit theologican), Barbara Marx Hubbard, Zak Stein (Harvard), Marc Gafni (rabbi), Buckminster Fuller. These people are usually visionaries with an intimate background in complexity.


8. Metamodernism as an international diaspora, a mindset, and sensibility

Alexander Bard, Karen Barad, Quentin Meillassoux, Hanzi Freinacht, Alan Kazlev, etc. "

(https://integratedispirit.com/2020/11/18/draft-the-many-metamoernisms/?)