Transmodernism

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Description

1. excerpt from Wikipedia: Transmodernism (2020):

“Transmodernism is a philosophical and cultural movement which was founded by Argentinian-Mexican philosopher Enrique Dussel. He refers to himself as a transmodernist and wrote a series of essays criticising the postmodern theory and advocating a transmodern way of thinking. Transmodernism is a development in thought following the period of postmodernism; as a movement, it was also developed from modernism, and, in turn, critiques modernity and postmodernity, viewing them as the end of modernism.

Transmodernism is influenced by many philosophical movements. Its emphasis on spirituality was influenced by the esoteric movements during the Renaissance. Transmodernism is influenced by transcendentalism and idealises different figures from the mid-19th century United States, most notably Ralph Waldo Emerson. Transmodernism is related to different aspects of Marxist philosophy, having common ground with dissident Roman Catholic liberation theology.

The philosophical views of the transmodernism movement contain elements of both modernism and postmodernism. Transmodernism has been described as "new modernism" and its proponents admire avant-garde styles. It bases much of its core beliefs on the integral theory of Ken Wilber, those of creating a synthesis of "pre-modern", "modern" and "postmodern" realities.

In transmodernism, there is a place for both tradition and modernity, and it seeks as a movement to re-vitalise and modernise tradition rather than destroy or replace it. The honouring and reverence of antiquity and traditional lifestyles is important in transmodernism, unlike modernism or postmodernism. Transmodernism criticises pessimism, nihilism, relativism and the counter-Enlightenment. It embraces, to a limited extent, optimism, absolutism, foundationalism and universalism. It has an analogical way of thinking, viewing things from the outside rather than the inside.

As a movement, transmodernism puts an emphasis on spirituality, alternative religions, and transpersonal psychology. Unlike postmodernism, it disagrees with the secularisation of society, putting an emphasis on religion, and it criticises the rejection of worldviews as false or of no importance. Transmodernism places an emphasis on xenophily and globalism, promoting the importance of different cultures and cultural appreciation. It seeks for a worldview on cultural affairs and is anti-Eurocentric and anti-imperialist.

Environmentalism, sustainability and ecology are important aspects of the transmodern theory. Transmodernism embraces environmental protection and stresses the importance of neighbourhood life, building communities as well as order and cleanliness. It accepts technological change, yet only when its aim is that of improving life or human conditions. Other aspects of transmodernism are those of democracy and listening to the poor and suffering.

Transmodernism takes strong stances on feminism, health care, family life and relationships. It promotes the emancipation of women and female rights, yet also promotes several traditional moral and ethical family values; the importance of the family is particularly stressed. Transmodernism is a minor philosophical movement in comparison to postmodernism and is relatively new to the Northern Hemisphere, but it has a large set of leading figures and philosophers. Enrique Dussel is its founder. Ken Wilber, the inventor of Integral Theory, argues from a transpersonal point of view. Paul Gilroy, a cultural theorist, has also "enthusiastically endorsed" transmodern thinking, and Ziauddin Sardar, an Islamic scholar, is a critic of postmodernism and in many cases adopts a transmodernist way of thinking.”


2. as on enacademic.com

"Transmodernism is a development in thought following the periodization of postmodernity. It sees postmodernity, or hypermodernity as the conclusion or culmination of modernism, and critiques modernism and postmodernism on material, social, and spiritual viewpoints.

Transmodernity consists of a set of criticisms aimed at theories it perceives as advocating relativism, pessimism, nihilism, and counter-Enlightenment, by embracing with a limited capacity foundationalism, absolutism, optimism, and universalism.

It draws elements from both modernism and postmodernism, and can therefore be seen as an amended and more tolerant form of modernization. Transmodernity is a loose term describing a development of thought that seeks a synthesis of the best of 'pre-modern,' 'modern,' and 'postmodern' reality.

Transmodernism appears to be in part influenced by the esoteric movements that sprang from the Renaissance. It is also influenced by the Transcendental movement and admires the American philosophy of mid-nineteenth century writers like Emerson and the Transcendentalists. Transmodernism often continues today in the rise of new religions and spiritualism. Its tendencies are also felt in humanitic and transpersonal psychology. It is thought to be 'leading edge and often subject to change'.

Transmodernism reacts against both modernism and postmodernism by opposing the wholesale secularization of society. It criticizes the rejection of all traditional worldviews and their truths as unproven, false, or of no importance. It encompasses social movements confluent with traditional systems of philosophy, religion, and morality. These movements often find themselves at odds with modernism and postmodernism, yet the Transmodernism sees tradition as self-propelled and adaptable at its own independent pace. There is room for both modernity and tradition."
(https://enacademic.com/dic.nsf/enwiki/2273461)


Characteristics

1. The emerging Transmodern or Integral Culture is summarized by Paul H. Ray as follows:

  1. Ecological sustainability, beyond environmentalism
  2. Globalism: Two of the top values for Cultural Creatives are xenophilism (love of travel to foreign places, of foreigners and the exotic)
  3. Feminism, women's issues, relationships, family
  4. Altruism, self-actualization, alternative health care, spirituality and spiritual psychology
  5. Well-developed social conscience and social optimism

— adapted from the Wikipedia article on Transmodernism, as around 2010

2. See the table proposed by Michael Mehaffy at: Modernism Post-Modernism Transmodernism


Discussion

Irene Ateljevic:

"My motivation in writing this paper is to propose to use the concept of transmodernity as an umbrella term that connotes the emerging socio-cultural, economic, political and philosophical shift. I suggest this merger not as a theoretical exercise, but out of heartfelt sympathy with the shift, and a genuine conviction that in order to be visible, effective and compelling, any movement needs a unifying name (Eisler, 2002). I will take the elaboration of the concept of transmodernity as given by Ghisi (2001, 2006, 2008) as a starting point. However, in recognition that most of the works I review here are written by Europeans/Americans, I also looked at the opinions of postcolonial and subaltern writers who similarly offer a positive view of the transmodern world potentialities. Here, transmodern ideas are primarily advocated by the Argentinean philosopher and historian Enrique Dussel. In sketching Ghisi’s and Dussel’s main ideas, I need to alert the reader that I will present them as given, so the general picture of their notions of the concept of transmodernity is obtained. In order to avoid the trap of the postmodern deconstruction process which Rifkin (2005) claims brought us to “modernity reduced to intellectual rubble and an anarchic world where everyone’s story is equally compelling and worthy of recognition” (p. 5), I am tracing the commonalities of what transmodernity offers in this fresh and promising move towards a new era of humanity. " (http://www.integral-review.org/issues/vol_9_no_2_ateljevic_visions_of_transmodernity.pdf?


Transmodernism according to Ghisi

Irene Ateljevic:

"The concept of transmodernity is a very complex thesis which Ghisi (1999, 2006, 2008) primarily explains as a new paradigm of the world which communicates certain underlying values that humans rely on to make their judgments and decisions in all areas of their activities— economy, politics and everyday life. Ghisi begins his thesis with an overview of five levels of change, which he describes through an iceberg metaphor of human global (un)consciousness and (un)awareness. Like the submerged parts of an iceberg floating in the sea, Ghisi’s lower levels of societal change are the least visible to humanity. So, the first level is at the darkest and coldest bottom where our global civilization finds itself today, at the edge of unsustainability and what Ghisi describes as the slow death and collective suicide of humanity. The next higher level relates to the death of command, control and conquest patriarchal values which have turned the world into a competitive and territorial battleground. Level three refers to the death of modernity as a dominant paradigm through which we see the world as an objective reality rooted in impartial truth. Level four refers to the death of the industrial type of businesses and decline of the material economy, while level five concerns the overall crisis of overly bureaucratic and pyramidal institutions. While such critical deconstruction of Eurocentric thesis of modernity (based around key mantras of growth, progress and competition) is nothing new and has been very much part of the postmodern critical turn in social science and humanities since late 1980s, Ghisi continues to explain, a transmodern way of thinking is now emerging, as our hope for a desperately needed and newly reconstructed vision. It is claimed that the everything goes of the postmodernists needs to go silenced. Whether they like it or not, there are things that have to have value, there is meaning that must be preserved, otherwise we drown in the coarsest cynicism, an expression of deep disdain for life (Boff, 2009). After the endless postmodern (albeit necessary) deconstructions of modernity in which many intellectuals engaged for the last few decades have led us to eclectic relativity and fundamentalisms that in many ways has paralysed us to claim any possible way forward.

The postmodern rubble in which we have found ourselves is quite neatly captured by Rifkin (2005):

- If post-modernists razed the ideological walls of modernity and freed the prisoners, they left them with no particular place to go. We became existential nomads, wandering through a boundaryless world full of inchoate longings in a desperate search for something to be attached to and believe in. While the human spirit was freed up from old categories of thought, we are each forced to find our own paths in a chaotic and fragmented world that is even more dangerous than the all-encompassing one we left behind. (p. 5).


According to Ghisi then, the very concept of transmodern implies that the best of modernity is kept while at the same time we go beyond it. As such, it is not a linear projection which takes us from (pre)modernity via postmodernity to transmodernity; rather, it transcends modernity in that it takes us trans, i.e. through, modernity into another state of being, “from the edge of chaos into a new order of society” (Sardar, 2004, p. 2). " (http://www.integral-review.org/issues/vol_9_no_2_ateljevic_visions_of_transmodernity.pdf?