Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Saturday, May 20, 2023

From Postmodernism to Metamodernism, Part 4 - Sociologically

Posted ; filed under BooksComplexityNetworkedLearningSocialLearning.

Continued from: understanding the shift...

To an older culture, a newer one often looks amoral, as morality guides older cultures. To a newer culture, older cultures appear to be primitive, lacking complexity. But each culture has its pros and cons. The challenge in developing what Lene Rachel Andersen calls ‘metamodernity‘ is in taking the positive aspects of previous human cultures in order to create a global culture that can deal with the complexity of technology, climate emergency, and evolving political situations.

The Nordic Bildung perspective of societal evolution aligns with David Ronfeldt’s TIMN Model, which I have discussed in — understanding the shift. Andersen suggests we can build upon the positive aspects of each previous societal form in order to create a metamodern society. We do not need to destroy the old ways.

Indigenous (Tribes)

  • Play
  • Musique
  • Intimacy
  • Spirituality
  • Connection to nature

Pre-modern (Institutions)

  • Narratives
  • Architecture
  • Art

Modern (Markets)

  • Science
  • Democracy
  • Human rights

Post-modern (shift from Markets to Networks)

  • Criticism
  • Multiple perspectives


societal forms based on timn model

Metamodernity is about “networks of meaning” and “… allows that phenomena can have both absolute and relative meaning and significance.” 

“Furthermore, metamodernity can allow us to appreciate the entire human experience as a connected whole. It can allow us to seek out different kinds of knowledge in different places for different purposes.”

Andersen encourages each of us to keep our current meaning making, but acknowledge that, “I will never have the full picture, no matter how meaningful my current meaning making is to me, it is only one perspective on the world”.

This approach is similar to Kieran Egan’s cognitive levels and reflects the last of these — Somatic, Mythic, Romantic, Philosophic, and Ironic.

1. Somatic — (before language acquisition) the physical abilities of one’s own body are discovered, as are our emotions; somatic understanding includes the communicating activity that precedes the development of language; as the child grows and learns language, this kind of understanding survives in the way children “model their overall social structure in play”.

2. Mythic — binary opposites (e.g. Tall/Short or Good/Evil), images, metaphor, and story-structure are prominent tools in pre-literate sense-making.

3. Romantic — the limits of reality are discovered and rational thinking begins, connected with the development of literacy. Egan connects this stage with the desire to explore the limits of reality, an interest in the transcendent qualities of things, and “engagement with knowledge represented as a product of human emotions and intentions”

4. Philosophic — the discovery of principles which underlie patterns and limits found in data; ordering knowledge into coherent general schemes.

5. Ironic — it involves the “mental flexibility to recognize how inadequately flexible are our minds, and the languages we use, to the world we try to represent in them”; it therefore includes the ability to consider alternative philosophic explanations, and is characterized by a Socratic stance in the world. —The Educated Mind

While we do not need to destroy the old forms, we must also guard against their dark sides. Andersen warns about the pitfalls of each societal form, and we can see examples throughout the world, as we collectively deal with the current shift.

  • Indigenous — populism and science denial
  • Pre-modern — fundamentalism and dogmatism
  • Modern — fanaticism and weaponized technology
  • Post-modern — fatalism and nihilism

Andersen describes the Bildung approach to education as a core way for society to shift to metamodernity. It focuses early childhood education on understanding the world through stories (Egan’s Mythic understanding). Late childhood education is focused on socialization and more complex understanding (Egan’s Romantic understanding). Teen education can focus on specialization and a deep understanding of specific fields (Egan’s Philosophic understanding). Finally, adult learning is about developing diverse perspectives (Egan’s Ironic understanding), or what I would call a perspective of perpetual beta.

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald

The major challenge for a metamodern approach to take hold is in politics, which is deeply rooted in previous societal forms. Andersen concludes that metamodernism has the potential to enable us to clean up the messes we have made and pass on a better world to the next generations.

“If any of this is going to happen, we need to create the educational, Bildung and cultural institutions that allow us to be meaning making at a sufficiently high level of complexity. That anchor is locally, nationally, continentally, and globally. We also need to be at least bilingual so that we can enjoy both deep cultural roots where we grew up and the ability to have deep and rich conversations with people from around the globe. Politics must be about our understanding of the world, and money must be a means to increase our meaning-making and expand our symbolic world and our horizon.”

This is why I keep promoting personal knowledge mastery as one method of meaning making in our connected world.

* * * * * * *

What is Metamodernism?

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.

To sum up, one can contrast the metamodern ideas against the modern and postmodern ones:

Modern ideas
  • Faith in science
  • Development and progress
  • Democracy
  • The individual
  • A meritocratic social order
  • Humanity can recreate nature by virtue of her reason

Postmodern ideas
  • Critical questioning of all knowledge and science
  • Suspicion towards all grand narratives about “progress”
  • Emphasis on symbols and contexts
  • Ironic distance
  • Cultures have been oppressed and ruined by modern society
  • Reveals injustice in “democratic” societies
  • Relations create the individual
  • A multicultural order where the weak are included
  • Humanity has destroyed the biosphere

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

Moving from Postmodernism to Metamodernism, Part 3 - Psychologically

What Is Metamodernism?

Metamodernism is the cultural code that comes after postmodernism.

by Gregg Henriques, Ph.D.
April 17, 2020

Reviewed by Jessica Schrader

This blog is co-authored by Daniel Görtz. He is a sociologist, social theorist, and writer. He holds a Ph.D. in police ethnography from Lund University and has been active in publishing books and articles on metamodernism as a political and philosophical theory. He currently works for Radicle, Dubai, and One Project, San Francisco.

If a year ago, someone asked me (Gregg) the question, "What is metamodernism?" I would have answered that I had never heard the term. It turns out, however, that it refers to a new, powerful, emerging movement that brilliantly captures my basic sensibility (see here for how metamodernism can be thought of as a kind of cultural sensibility). Daniel Görtz is a leading figure in the movement, and I am happy to be co-authoring this blog with him.

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."

Metamodernism in six dimensions

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.

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-postmodernismdigimidernismtransmodernismperformativismpostconstructivism, 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).

Moving from Postmodernism to Metamodernism, Part 2 - Description

 Metamodernism Series

* * * * * *


Metamodernism is a term that refers to a range of developments observed in many areas of art, culture and philosophy, emerging in the aftermath of postmodernism, roughly at the turn of the 21st century. To many, it is characterized as mediations between aspects of modernism and postmodernism; for others the term suggests an integration of those sensibilities with premodern (indigenous and traditional) cultural codes as well. Metamodernism is one of a number of attempts to describe post-postmodernism.

History of the term

A pendulum swinging back and forth.
To describe "the structure of feeling" of metamodernism, Akker and Vermeulen use the metaphor of a pendulum continually oscillating from the sincere seriousness of modernism to the ironic playfulness of postmodernism.[1][2]

In 1995, Canadian literary theorist Linda Hutcheon stated that a new label for what was coming after postmodernism was necessary.[3]

Early usages

The term appeared as early as 1975, when scholar Mas'ud Zavarzadeh used it to describe a cluster of aesthetics or attitudes which had been emerging in American literary narratives since the mid-1950s.[4] In 1999, Moyo Okediji utilized the term "metamodern" applying it to contemporary African-American art that issues an "extension of and challenge to modernism and postmodernism."[5] In 2002, Andre Furlani, analyzing the literary works of Guy Davenport, defined metamodernism as an aesthetic that is "after yet by means of modernism.... a departure as well as a perpetuation."[6][7] The relationship between metamodernism and modernism was seen as going "far beyond homage, toward a reengagement with modernist method in order to address subject matter well outside the range or interest of the modernists themselves."[6] In 2007, Alexandra Dumitrescu described metamodernism as partly a concurrence with, partly an emergence from, and partly a reaction to, postmodernism, "champion[ing] the idea that only in their interconnection and continuous revision lie the possibility of grasping the nature of contemporary cultural and literary phenomena."[8]

Vermeulen and van den Akker

In 2010, cultural theorists Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker contributed significantly to the theorization of post-postmodernism, using the term metamodernism. [9][10] In their essay Notes on Metamodernism, they asserted that the 2000s were characterized by the return of typically modern positions that nevertheless did not forfeit the postmodern mindsets of the 1980s and 1990s. According to them, the metamodern sensibility "can be conceived of as a kind of informed naivety, a pragmatic idealism", characteristic of cultural responses to recent global events such as climate change, the financial crisis, political instability, and the digital revolution.[9] They asserted that “the postmodern culture of relativism, irony, and pastiche" is over, having been replaced by a post-ideological condition that stresses engagement, affect, and storytelling through "ironic sincerity."[11]

An image of Herzog and de Meuron's Elbe Philharmonie, Hamburg. Notes from Modernism describes it an example of the metamodernism in architecture.
Notes from Metamodernism states that the architecture of Herzog & de Meuron is expressive of "attempts to negotiate between such opposite poles as culture and nature, the finite and the infinite, the commonplace and the ethereal, a formal structure, and a formalist unstructuring."[12]

The prefix "meta-" referred not so much to a reflective stance or repeated rumination, but to Plato's metaxy, which denotes a movement between (meta) opposite poles as well as beyond (meta) them.[9] Vermeulen and van den Akker described metamodernism as a "structure of feeling" that oscillates between modernism and postmodernism like "a pendulum swinging between...innumerable poles".[13]

According to Kim Levin, writing in ARTnews, this oscillation "must embrace doubt, as well as hope and melancholy, sincerity and irony, affect and apathy, the personal and the political, and technology and techne."[11] For the metamodern generation, according to Vermeulen, "grand narratives are as necessary as they are problematic, hope is not simply something to distrust, love not necessarily something to be ridiculed."[14]

Vermeulen asserted that "metamodernism is not so much a philosophy—which implies a closed ontology—as it is an attempt at a vernacular, or...a sort of open source document, that might contextualise and explain what is going on around us, in political economy as much as in the arts."[14] The return of a Romantic sensibility has been posited as a key characteristic of metamodernism, observed by Vermeulen and van den Akker in the architecture of Herzog & de Meuron, and the work of artists such as Bas Jan AderPeter DoigOlafur EliassonKaye DonachieCharles Avery, and Ragnar Kjartansson.[9]

Academic engagement since 2010

Metamodernism/metamodern theory has been engaged by scholars in numerous academic fields.

James MacDowell, in his formulation of the "quirky" cinematic sensibility, described the works of Wes AndersonMichel GondrySpike JonzeMiranda July, and Charlie Kaufman as building upon the "New Sincerity", and embodying the metamodern structure of feeling in their balancing of "ironic detachment with sincere engagement".[13]

The 2013 issue of the American Book Review dedicated to metamodernism included a series of essays identifying authors such as Roberto BolañoDave EggersJonathan FranzenHaruki MurakamiZadie Smith, and David Foster Wallace as metamodernists.[15][16]

In 2013, Linda C. Ceriello proposed a theorization of metamodernism for the field of religious studies, connecting the contemporary phenomenon of secular spirituality to the emergence of a metamodern episteme. Her analysis of contemporary religious/spiritual movements and ontologies posits a shift that is consonant with the metamodern cultural sensibilities identified by others such as Vermeulen and van den Akker, and which has given rise to a distinct metamodern soteriology[17]

Linda Ceriello's work with Greg Dember on popular cultural products such as Joss Whedon's seminal television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer[18] and on Whedon and Goddard's 2012 film The Cabin in the Woods proposed an epistemic taxonomy of the monstrous/paranormal to distinguish the character of metamodern monsters from those which could be read as postmodern, modern or pre-modern.[19]

In a 2014 article in PMLA, literary scholars David James and Urmila Seshagiri argued that "metamodernist writing incorporates and adapts, reactivates and complicates the aesthetic prerogatives of an earlier cultural moment", in discussing twenty-first century writers such as Tom McCarthy.[20]

In 2014, Professor Stephen Knudsen, writing in ArtPulse, noted that metamodernism "allows the possibility of staying sympathetic to the poststructuralist deconstruction of subjectivity and the self—Lyotard’s teasing of everything into intertextual fragments—and yet it still encourages genuine protagonists and creators and the recouping of some of modernism's virtues."[21]

In 2017, Vermeulen and van den Akker, with Allison Gibbons, published Metamodernism: Historicity, Affect and Depth After Postmodernism,[22] an edited collection of essays exploring the notion of metamodernism across a variety of fields in the arts and culture. Individual chapters cover metamodernism in areas such as film, literary fiction, crafts, television, photography and politics. Contributors include the three editors, James MacDowell, Josh Toth, Jöog Heiser, Sjoerd van Tuinen, Lee Konstantinou, Nicole Timmer, Gry C. Rustad, Kuy Hanno Schwind, Irmtraud Huber, Wolfgang Funk, Sam Browse, Raoul Eshelman, and James Elkins. In the introductory chapter, van den Akker and Vermeulen update and consolidate their original 2010 proposal, while addressing the divergent usages of the term “metamodernism” by other thinkers.

In a 2017 essay on metamodernism in literary fiction, Fabio Vittorini stated that since the late 1980s, memetic strategies of the modern have been combined with the meta-literary strategies of the postmodern, performing "a pendulum-like motion between the naive and/or fanatic idealism of the former and the skeptical and/or apathetic pragmatism of the latter."[23]

The first peer-reviewed article applying metamodern theory to the study of religions was published in 2017 by Michel Clasquin-Johnson,[24]

Starting 2018 the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) has funded a Metamodernism Research Network. The Network has hosted several international symposia and conferences.[25]

Timotheus Vermeulen at the Between Irony and Sincerity Lecture at Columbia GSAPP

In 2021, American philosopher Jason Josephson Storm published Metamodernism: The Future of Theory, a foundational theoretical text in metamodernist philosophy, social science, and politics. In this book, Storm establishes a novel method for critical scholarly research in the social sciences and humanities, disciplines which he refers to using the umbrella term "human sciences".[26] The metamodernist mode of analysis involves metarealism, process social ontologyhylosemiotics, Zeteticism and a "revaluation of values",[27] each of which is developed progressively in parts I-IV of the text.

Storm's philosophy of metamodernism builds on and critiques both modernism and postmodernism, arguing that those two preceding movements are not as disparate as they have been made out to be. Ultimately, while incorporating modernist and postmodernist elements, Metamodernism foregrounds the importance of reflective, self-analytical, interdisciplinary scholarship.[28] Storm asserts the need for a humble, positively and progressively oriented academy in which a collaborative and compassionate ethics serve openly as the motivation behind research and development of thought.[29] Contrasting with other strains of metamodernism, Storm articulates his project is more about creating a paradigm shift than merely describing an intellectual movement that's already happening in academia or culture writ large.[30]

Metamodernism in the arts

Drawing upon the work of Vermeulen and van den Akker, Luke Turner published The Metamodernist Manifesto in 2011 as "an exercise in simultaneously defining and embodying the metamodern spirit," describing it as "a romantic reaction to our crisis-ridden moment."[31][32] The manifesto recognized "oscillation to be the natural order of the world," and called for an end to "the inertia resulting from a century of modernist ideological naivety and the cynical insincerity of its antonymous bastard child."[33][34] Instead, Turner proposed metamodernism as "the mercurial condition between and beyond irony and sincerity, naivety and knowingness, relativism and truth, optimism and doubt, in pursuit of a plurality of disparate and elusive horizons," and concluded with a call to "go forth and oscillate!"[35][14] In 2014, the manifesto became the impetus for LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner's collaborative art practice, after Shia LaBeouf reached out to Turner after encountering the text,[36][37] with the trio embarking on a series of metamodern performance projects exploring connection, empathy, and community across digital and physical platforms.[38][39]

A number of exhibitions devoted to metamodernism have been staged. In November 2011, the Museum of Arts and Design in New York staged an exhibition entitled No More Modern: Notes on Metamodernism, featuring the work of Pilvi TakalaGuido van der Werve, Benjamin Martin, and Mariechen Danz.[40] In March 2012, Galerie Tanja Wagner in Berlin curated Discussing Metamodernism in collaboration with Vermeulen and van den Akker. The show featured the work of Ulf AmindeYael BartanaMonica Bonvicini, Mariechen Danz, Annabel Daou, Paula Doepfner, Olafur Eliasson, Mona HatoumAndy HoldenSejla Kameric, Ragnar Kjartansson, Kris Lemsalu, Issa Sant, David Thorpe, Angelika J. Trojnarski, Luke Turner, and Nastja Säde Rönkkö.[41][42][43] In 2013 Andy Holden staged the exhibition Maximum Irony! Maximum Sincerity 1999-2003: Towards a Unified Theory of M!MS. The exhibition examined the manifesto he had written in 2003 that called for art to be simultaneously ironic and sincere. The exhibition told the history of the writing of the manifesto and subsequently M!MS it now often cited as a precursor to Metamodernism as a ‘structure of feeling’.[44]

In his fourth novel, More Deaths than One, published in 2014, the New Zealand writer and singer-songwriter Gary Jeshel Forrester examined metamodernism by way of a search for the Central Illinois roots of David Foster Wallace during a picaresque journey to America.[45] In it, Forrester wrote that "[m]etamodernist theory proposes to fill the postmodernist void with a rough synthesis of the two predecessors from the twentieth century [modernism and post-modernism]. In the new paradigm, metaphysics, epistemology, and ontology all have their places, but the overriding concern is with yet another division of philosophy – ethics. It's okay to search for values and meaning, even as we continue to be skeptical."

In May 2014, country music artist Sturgill Simpson told CMT that his album Metamodern Sounds in Country Music had been inspired in part by an essay by Seth Abramson, who writes about metamodernism on his Huffington Post blog.[46][47] Simpson stated that "Abramson homes in on the way everybody is obsessed with nostalgia, even though technology is moving faster than ever."[46] According to J.T. Welsch, "Abramson sees the 'meta-' prefix as a means to transcend the burden of modernism and postmodernism's allegedly polarised intellectual heritage."[48]

A strand of metamodernism can be identified in Sci-Fi, taking the place of Postmodernism. Denis Villeneuve's Arrival is seen by Pappis as an example, "in that it explores an oscillation in and transcendence of time".[49]

Bo Burnham's Inside and Eighth Grade have been described as metamodern reactions to growing up with social media.[50][51]

Developmental metamodernism

Other authors have utilized the term metamodernism in a sense that is partly related but divergent from the general academic conception and employment of the term as a cultural sensibility. These authors treat the concept as an aspirational stage in human development. Some have also related this conceptualization of metamodernism to Integral theory-- an earlier developmental paradigm with a spiritual emphasis.

Hanzi Freinacht and Nordic metamodernism

In 2017, sociologist Daniel Görtz and theory artist Emil Ejner Friis, writing under the pen name "Hanzi Freinacht",[52] published the first volume in their 'Metamodern Guide to Politics' Series, The Listening Society. Employing metamodernism as their "philosophical engine," they construe metamodernism as an active intellectual, social, and political movement emerging to meet the crises arising from globalization.

"Freinacht" articulates a progressive political program heavily informed by developmental psychology, particularly the Model of Hierarchical Complexity (MHC), a neo-Piagetian framework developed by Michael Commons. In this context, metamodernism is for them best understood not merely as a cultural phase, but as a developmental stage, which is manifested at both the individual and the collective levels.[53] They assert that the distinct stages of their MHC correspond to cultural expressions of these stages and their associated worldviews, or "effective value memes."

Stages and their Value Memes
MHC StageCultural Code
Stage 7: Pre-operational stageArchaic
Stage 8: Primary StageAnimistic
Stage 9: Concrete StageFaustian
Stage 10: Abstract StagePost-Faustian
Stage 11: Formal StageModern
Stage 12: Systematic StagePostmodern
Stage 13: Metasystematic StageMetamodern

In September 2018, Görtz conducted a TEDx talk in Berlin outlining the development of "value memes" (influenced by the work of Clare W. Graves and Don Beck[54]) claiming that the metamodern value meme constitutes the highest form yet.[55]

In 2019, the second volume of the Series, Nordic Ideology, was published, providing Freinacht's detailed vision for a political metamodernism.


Swedish political party Initiativet is based on metamodern principles. It is a sister-party of Danish political party Alternativet.

Metamodernity and Bildung

In 2019, Lene Rachel Anderson published the book Metamodernity: Meaning and Hope in a Complex World, in which she claims: "Metamodernity provides us with a framework for understanding ourselves and our societies in a much more complex way. It contains both indigenous, premodern, modern, and postmodern cultural elements and thus provides social norms and a moral fabric for intimacy, spirituality, religion, science, and self-exploration, all at the same time."

2019 also saw the publication of The World We Create: From God to Market by Tomas Björkman, a work exploring the complex origins of our precarious situation today, along with a set of proposed solutions utilizing a metamodern framework.

In 2021, Perspectiva Press published Metamodernity: Dispatches from a Time Between Worlds, an anthology of essays on metamodernism and society by Jonathan Rowson and others.[56]


Following interviews with Vermeulen and van den Akker[57] and Daniel Görtz,[58] philosopher and founder of Parallax magazine Tom Amarque criticized Metamodernism on a range of points.[59] He states that the approaches of Metamodernism provide few insights into longstanding issues such as modern warfare.[60] He has also accused its academic theoretical framework of being untranslatable to the working class.[61] He also claims that the metamodern emphasis on sincerity would assign meaning to things like sentimental Hollywood clichès.[62]

See also


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External links