The World’s Greatest Speech that You’ve Never Heard Of

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As he climbed to the mound’s summit, he let out a long, deep, piercing howl, his face solemnly turned skyward. A serene calm came over his expression, as he gazed out across the many gathered with sad eyes. He sniffed. The crowd grew silent; only a few lonely barks and excited whimpers echoed back to him. At a distance more were amassing still. Clearly something was astir. "We are brought together by a much more fundamental fact. We know this basic truth within the most sacred chambers of our hearts." Cited from The Penguin Book of Modern Speeches. Held on May 4th, 2012. Greenwich, UK. . “We have gathered here, brothers and sisters, to transcend. To transcend the boundaries of race. Since time immemorial—at least, to our best knowledge, since the last Ice Age—we have been separated, splintered, into shards. These shards we call races. We tell ourselves and one another that this race, or that one, is superior; it stands above all others. Some individuals are of purer breed, we say; some belong to this land more than others. Some races are favored and pampered, others exploited and made to bow. But it is not race that unites us, ...
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Hanzi Talking about “Metamodern Values”

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Hanzi Freinacht at the bar, talking about the development of values: "I want to talk about values. Let’s begin with this question: “What are good values?” How do you know if the values that you hold true to your heart are valid? How do you know if they’re efficient, if they’re true, if they correspond to the real problems out there in the world? Are some values perhaps better than others?" The central claim that I have is that postmodern values emerge from the very core or center of modern values, and that metamodern values emerge from the very core or center of postmodern values. Here’s a way of thinking about it, that I think might be fruitful. I think that some values correspond to certain societies or certain time periods. And I think that some values meet the demands of those societies and time periods – and their life conditions. Which is why they evolved in the first place. So medieval people had medieval values because they lived in medieval societies. Modern people have modern values because they live in modern societies. Today I’d like to talk, then, about three sets of values – about three families, as it ...
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How I View the World

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In this series of essays I would like to be more personal and offer the reader a view into myself. I will present a simple philosophy of life, how Hanzi views the world and my own place in it. It is, then, a kind of applied life philosophy or phronesis, an attempt at describing what I feel is practical wisdom. I suppose you could say that this project is a form of self-help literature, except the format doesn’t give “you” any advice. Each essay brings up one main point, but they are interconnected—also with other ideas I have presented. "The existence of will means that all things that arise are non-indifferent". So basically there is this vast mystery of existence that is always-already directly present, a horizon of direct experience, and stuff arises within it: objects appear, there are senses which seem to reflect some aspects of these objects from some angles, and there are feelings and thoughts and ideas and suppositions about these occurrences or events. There is a large flow of perceptions and they are not indifferent; they all feel like something, they all matter. This ever-present horizon of experience is truly vast; if I were to name ...
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Jordan Peterson and Camille Paglia – A Marathon of Academic Incompetence

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REASONED CRITICISM OF JORDAN PETERSON AND CAMILLE PAGLIA HANZI GOES THROUGH THEIR 1h:40m LONG YOUTUBE TALK ABOUT FEMINISM AND POSTMODERNISM, BEGINNING TO END TOTAL PARTY KILL MONEY BACK GUARANTEE MERCY LEVEL SET TO: 0.00% Prologue So when the Prophet was asked about what the most sacred of struggles is, he responded that a word of truth in the face of an unjust ruler is the highest form of Jihad (Musnad Aḥmad 18449) Ladies and gentlemen, somebody needs to speak out against the emperor. He is naked. And so is the empress. And another prophet, the one we call Jacques Lacan, pointed out that the street bum madman who thinks he is emperor isn’t necessarily any more mad than the emperor who thinks he’s emperor. The only difference is that other people share the latter’s belief. If you’re a follower and worshipper of Jordan Peterson on his anti-postmodern anti-feminism, shared by Camille Paglia, you have been worshipping a false god, an idol. You have been sold a golden bull. But Moses is here to cast it into the fire. Gifted but Highly Over-rated In my opinion, nobody is more over-valued than the great internet phenomenon Jordan Peterson, the Canadian psychology professor ...
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Wisdom Is Overrated

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At the time of writing, there is a growing emphasis on “wisdom” within acad­emia and elsewhere, where people are arguing for the promotion of the term and its importance in society. A lot of this stuff is interesting and prom­ising. The best source of information at the time of writing is the website Evidence Based Wisdom, which is run by the mathematician Cha­r­les Cassidy. Among the proponents of wisdom you can find philosophers, theolog­ians, psych­ologists, sociologists, educational scientists, mindfulness inst­ruc­tors, business leaders and quite a few spiritually inclined authors – often employ­ing terms such as “trans­form­ational learning” and “self-leader­­ship”. The adult develop­ment research­ers tend to shout with the best of them (my own teacher Michael Commons being an exception to this rule). Within these settings, wisdom has been defined in many different ways – the three most prominent definitions perhaps being the so-called Berlin Wis­dom Paradigm, the Balance Theory of Wisdom and the Three-Dimen­sional Wisdom Scale. The following is a slightly edited extract from Hanzi Freinacht’s book ‘The Listening Society: A Metamodern Guide to Politics, Book One’. This is the first book in a series on metamodern thought, a work of popular philosophy that investigates the nature of psychological development ...
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Why Spiritual Communities Turn Into Cults

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The purpose of this post is to issue a word of warning. There are comm­unities with the express purpose of bringing people to higher subjective states: spirit­ual communities. I am not primarily thinking of the medieval monastic trad­itions (to which we return in the next book, when we dis­cuss “exist­ential politics”). Monastic life also had many other roles, and such a central place in European society, that it was far from a purely spiritual congregation. The closest thing to truly contemplative comm­unities has historically been the Buddhist monasteries and the Vedic yoga traditions, although these too have had many other societal roles to play. The following is a slightly edited extract from Hanzi Freinacht’s book ‘The Listening Society: A Metamodern Guide to Politics, Book One’. This is the first book in a series on metamodern thought, a work of popular philosophy that investigates the nature of psychological development and its political implications. What you will read below is from the chapter on higher subjective states called “Reaching Higher”; a chapter that discusses the nature of high psychological states of positive emotions. "A striking pattern in these communities is the prevalence of abuses of power – financial or sexual exploitation, physical ...
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What Is The Model of Hierarchical Complexity?

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The theory that is today the Model of Hierarchical Complexity was first pres­ented by Michael Lamport Commons and Francis Asbury Richards in the early 1980s. It builds directly upon the Piagetian model and the work of Kohlberg and can be consider­ed as neo-Piagetian (although some call it “post-Piagetian”), bec­ause it large­ly suppo­ses that the Piagetian model (with cogni­tive stages) is corr­ect, but that there are sev­eral stages above what a normal human adult achieves, high­er stages that only a minority of the adult popula­tion reach. According to the neo-Piagetians the study of these stages can ex­plain a lot about humanity and society. The following is a slightly edited extract from Hanzi Freinacht’s book ‘The Listening Society: A Metamodern Guide to Politics, Book One’. This is the first book in a series on metamodern thought, a work of popular philosophy that investigates the nature of psychological development and its political implications. What you will read below is from the chapter on cognitive development; a chapter that introduces the reader to the Model of Hierarchical complexity and the creator of this theory Michael Commons. Commons first formulated the theory after having taken a year off from work to study mathematics, where the ...
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In Defense of Hierarchies among Humans

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Want to know the reason why moral philosophy almost never makes a differ­ence, why most academic moral philosophers remain rather use­less? After all, we are obliged to ask: Why don’t they manage talking people into being vegans, selling their cars and giving away more of their money to charity, and being more selfless generally? Or even getting us to do what makes us happy either way, accord­ing to happiness research (give away your stuff, exercise, do mindfulness, eat healthy, walk in nature, don’t stress, have more sex and care about others)? A moral philosopher can still help us come to the right conclusions, given we agree on the pre­m­­ises, but they seldom seem to drive the ethical development of society. Why don’t moral philosophers make any noteworthy difference? It’s because they don’t have their behavioral science and psychology strai­ght. They don’t understand that humans are, in a manner of speak­ing, behav­ioral robots. The following is a slightly edited extract from Hanzi Freinacht’s book ‘The Listening Society: A Metamodern Guide to Politics, Book One’. This is the first book in a series on metamodern thought, a work of popular philosophy that investigates the nature of psychological development and its political implications ...
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New Book: The Listening Society by Hanzi Freinacht is now available as paperback and Kindle eBook

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Metamoderna is happy to announce that The Listening Society - A Metamodern Guide to Politics, Book One by Hanzi Freinacht is now available for purchase as paperback and Kindle eBook. The Listening Society is the first in a series of books on metamodernism by Hanzi Freinacht and book one in a series of two on politics. The second half, titled Nordic Ideology, is planned for release spring 2018. As any self-respecting philosopher, Hanzi Freinacht wrote this book while living alone in the Alps, overlooking a majestic mountain view. In a sweeping move across history, politics and developmental psychology Hanzi works his way through the modern world, leaving in his wake a trail of crushed opponents and shattered, out-dated ideas. Full of jokes, poetry and exaggerated postures, often bordering on the arrogant and obscene, he takes strides to equip the reader with a powerful understanding of our day and age. As we move from the industrial age and its nation state to an internet age with a globalized postindustrial market a question presents itself: What is the next major developmental stage of society after the liberal democracy with a balance between capitalism and welfare state? In this book Hanzi Freinacht offers ...
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The Listening Society: Possible and Necessary

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In my last post I asked if we should really make people happy  and argued that “[w]e desperately need a deeper kind of welfare, beyond the confines of material welfare and medical security – a listening society, where every person is seen and heard.” In this one I will assert that it is absolutely necessary to insure that people are much more socially and psychologically functional in our increasingly confusing and demanding society, that it’s possible since we now have the know­ledge and new social technologies to execute it successfully and that it saves our perpetually pressured welfare systems. The following is a slightly edited extract from Hanzi Freinacht’s book ‘The Listening Society: A Metamodern Guide to Politics, Book One’. This is the first book in a series on metamodern thought, a work of popular philosophy that investigates the nature of psychological development and its political implications. What you will read below is from the chapter about political metamodernism “in a nutshell” that investigates how a deeper kind of welfare, beyond the confines of material welfare and medical security, can be achieved and the chapter simply titled “possible and necessary” which argues why such a society should be developed and ...
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Should We Really Make People Happy?

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Should we really make people happy? Is it a viable goal for society? To some it may come off as an unnecessary question, “of course we should make people happy!”, but a lot of people tend to be annoyed about the notion of happiness as a societal goal and often argue that there are higher and nobler objectives than mere happiness. That seems to stem from the failure to properly make the distinction between hedonic happiness (pleasure, enjoy­ment, fun) and eudemonic happiness (meaning, purpose in life, and peace of mind). But the thing is that neither should be favored over the other and both of these can be supported for the long-term develop­ment of each person as well as society as a whole. The following is a slightly edited extract from Hanzi Freinacht’s book ‘The Listening Society: A Metamodern Guide to Politics, Book One’. This is the first book in a series on metamodern thought, a work of popular philosophy that investigates the nature of psychological development and its political implications. What you will read below is from the chapter about political metamodernism “in a nutshell” that investigates how a deeper kind of welfare, beyond the confines of material welfare ...
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Let the Mass Killings of Liberal Innocents Begin

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Metamodern political thinking constitutes a breach with liberalism and liberal demo­­­­­cracy as we know them. Not only is it a death sentence to the individual, like the one I issued in my previous post, it is also a virtuous attack on the silly liberal notion that one can be “the good guy”, that it’s possible to simply chose the “right” political position – and – that one can remain untarnished, pure and innocent by doing nothing, by not taking a stance. We must put an end to this naive and harmful position I have termed “the liberal innocent”. It is this innocent that has to die. We must hereby issue a fatwa; shoot on sight. The following is a slightly edited extract from Hanzi Freinacht’s book ‘The Listening Society: A Metamodern Guide to Politics, Book One’. This is the first book in a series on metamodern thought, a work of popular philosophy that investigates the nature of psychological development and its political implications. What you will read below is from a section named “Liberal Innocence Lost” in the chapter on political philosophy; a chapter that also includes an inquiry into complexity and its political consequences, how it will lead beyond ...
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Death to the Individual

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In modern society there is a widespread idea about “the individual”. The idea of the individual is actually an ingenious solution to a difficult social-philo­sophical problem: should we focus on society as a whole, or on its diff­er­ent parts and singular processes? This view has served us greatly in the past and made it possible to avoid the totalitarian, oppressive and very pathological form of modernity we’ve encountered in the 20th century. But individualism doesn’t really seem to cut in any longer, it doesn’t fulfill its function as an effective unit of society’s self-organization, it can’t solve many of social problems and often it even stands in the way of an adequate resolution of these. But entering the opposite ditch of collectivism evidently has its fair share of problems too. So as a solution to transcend this dilemma, without compromising one or the other, allow me to introduce the transpersonal perspective: a way to go beyond the individual without suffocating it. The following is a slightly edited extract from Hanzi Freinacht’s book ‘The Listening Society: A Metamodern Guide to Politics, Book One’. This is the first book in a series on metamodern thought, a work of popular philosophy that investigates ...
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The Difference Between Post- and Meta-modernism

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Lately I have written a great deal about metamodernism which is the overall philosophical school of thought this blog and my books are devoted to. I have introduced the notion of the metamodern aristocracy, proposed what’s going to be the meta-ideology of metamodern society, showed how we have progressed from pre-modern to metamodern thinking throughout history, and in series of posts presented the metamodern stance towards life, its view of science, reality, existence, society and the human being (you can read the first one here). However, to some it may still be rather unclear what exactly the difference between postmodernism and metamodernism is. And since there’re other interpretations and uses of the term “metamodernism”, mostly in terms of a cultural phase, which diverge significantly from how I use it to describe a developmental stage, a philosophical paradigm – and – perhaps most importantly, a political ideology; because of that there seems to be a great deal of confusion about the term. So in order to alleviate this inconvenience I’ll attempt to clarify the distinction, how I use the term and why you should bother. The following is a slightly edited extract from Hanzi Freinacht’s book ‘The Listening Society: A Metamodern ...
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Metamodern View of the Human Being

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We began this series of six articles with the aim of conquering the term “metamodernism” by arguing that metamodernism must be more than a “cultural phase”. I hold that we should not be satisfied with a metamodernism that only describes certain shifts in culture, arts and architecture, but that the promise of metamodernism is much greater: we are shifting from one historical epoch to another and I think that metamodernism can offer a general and universal worldview that people can adopt to partake successfully in its historical development. In this last article I turn to the metamodern view of humanity itself. Not only does the view of humanity evolve through different historical epochs, but so do the ideas about how humanity can and should be transformed. Posts on Metamodernism: 1# Metamodernism: The Conquest of a Term 2# Metamodern View of Science 3# Metamodern View of Reality 4# Metamodern Spirituality, Existence and Aesthetics 5# Metamodern View of Society 6# Metamodern View of the Human Being At the heart of the metamodern view of humanity and the human being lies a simple both-and scheme; if you like, the marriage of science and humanities. In the scientific view humans are objects like any ...
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Metamodern View of Society

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“What is society?” is the classical question of sociology. The question could easily be asked within anthropology, economics, political science, psychology or philosophy and the humanities. But it has stayed within the field of sociology; it is this discipline that purports to wrestle and at least provisionally answer the question. It is a question that grows out of a developed “naturalistic” worldview, in which humans have acquired a 3rd person view of reality, as something to be viewed “from the outside”, beginning from the Copernican, Baconian and Newtonian revolutions of cosmology, scientific method and physics. Once nature began to be differentiated as a category and described (“it is a set of objects locked in mechanical motion through space” (Newton)), so society itself began to appear as a category that “is something”. But as society and our perspectives evolve, so does the perspective from which we can “see society itself”; new ways of asking what society is appear and new answers and intuitions emerge. Posts on Metamodernism: 1# Metamodernism: The Conquest of a Term 2# Metamodern View of Science 3# Metamodern View of Reality 4# Metamodern Spirituality, Existence and Aesthetics 5# Metamodern View of Society 6# Metamodern View of the Human ...
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Metamodern Spirituality, Existence and Aesthetics

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In modern life, spiritual, existential and aesthetic aspects of life have all taken a backseat. Of course there’s lots of these things going on, but there’s still a sense of woo-woo, pretentiousness, silliness, embarrassment, light-headedness, fake, fraud, self-aggrandizement and so forth. Physics, economics and possibly sexual drives and desires are viewed as “most real” – and the rest as epiphenomena, as fluff. Already Kant observed that we’re embarrassed to be found on our knees praying, as the modern worldview has an inherent difficulty reconciling the spiritual sides of life and its own necessarily religious foundations. The metamodern path is not to let in the spiritual woo-woo and artsy pretension, but to struggle to reconnect to the fundamental religious core of reality. Posts on Metamodernism: 1# Metamodernism: The Conquest of a Term 2# Metamodern View of Science 3# Metamodern View of Reality 4# Metamodern Spirituality, Existence and Aesthetics 5# Metamodern View of Society 6# Metamodern View of the Human Being Let us approach the topic in our own not-so-artsy manner, a bullet point list. To adopt a metamodern stance to spirituality, existence and aesthetics is… To take existential and spiritual matters very seriously; to view human­ity, intelligence and consciousness as expressions ...
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Metamodern View of Reality

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One’s understanding of science is intertwined with, but distinguishable from, one’s view of reality at large. There’s the classical distinction made between physics (the study of the natural realm and the relative interrelations of its parts) and metaphysics (the relation to reality as an absolute and the idea that reality in itself is beyond any particular fact or pattern). So what is the metamodern view of not only science (this particular category of human endeavor), but of reality itself? Let’s delve in there (beware, this one is dense). Posts on Metamodernism: 1# Metamodernism: The Conquest of a Term 2# Metamodern View of Science 3# Metamodern View of Reality 4# Metamodern Spirituality, Existence and Aesthetics 5# Metamodern View of Society 6# Metamodern View of the Human Being Insights about reality itself can sometimes be gleaned from key findings in the sciences – from Newtonian physics to relativity and quantum mechanics to cosmology and topology to the mathematics of chaos and complexity, to the emergence of Darwinism and ecological science – all of these have informed how we conceptualize the fundamental, underlying assumptions about reality that lie beyond all specific scientific endeavors, that lie at the heart of what humans understand as ...
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Metamodern View of Science

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Every self-respecting (and in this case, self-ironic) philosophy must relate to knowledge. What can we know? How can we know it? What knowledge should count as most fundamental and valuable? What to make of subjective experience, social constructions, religions and spirituality in the face of scientific inquiry? Posts on Metamodernism: 1# Metamodernism: The Conquest of a Term 2# Metamodern View of Science 3# Metamodern View of Reality 4# Metamodern Spirituality, Existence and Aesthetics 5# Metamodern View of Society 6# Metamodern View of the Human Being Without further ado, let’s jump to the bullet list of insights. The metamodern view of science is: To respect science as an indispensable form of knowing. To see that science is always contextual and truth always tenta­tive; that reality always holds deeper truths. All that we think is real will one day melt away as snow in the sun. To understand that different sciences and paradigms are simul­tan­eously true; that many of their apparent contradictions are superficial and based on misperceptions or failures of translation or integration. To see that there are substantial insights and relevant knowledge in all stages of human and societal development, including tribal life, poly­theism, traditional theology, modern industrialism and postmodern ...
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Metamodernism: The Conquest of a Term

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Now for the million dollar question: What is metamodernism? There are three different ways of viewing this, each of which is related to the other two. We’ll delve into the deepest and most significant of these three meanings. We’ll dive deep and fast, so please hold on to your mouse or smartphone. Also, the definition of metamodernism is contested, and yours truly is admittedly a contestant. En garde. Posts on Metamodernism: 1# Metamodernism: The Conquest of a Term 2# Metamodern View of Science 3# Metamodern View of Reality 4# Metamodern Spirituality, Existence and Aesthetics 5# Metamodern View of Society 6# Metamodern View of the Human Being Metamodernism as a Cultural Phase The first and most widely known understanding involves seeing metamodernism as a cultural phase: you know, like when they study different phases in arts and literature: romanticism, realism, futurism, cubism and so on. This kind of cultural phase is said to be showing up in artists like LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner (yes, Shia LaBeouf as in the movie star from Transformers and dancer in Sia’s music video for Elastic Heart ), and in a wide array of painters and architects as famously described by the Dutch cultural theorists Timotheus ...
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From Premodern to Metamodern Mind: a Brief History of Human Evolution

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Metamodernism is destined to beat postmodernism in the long run, just like postmodernism is currently beating modernism and modernism won over the ancient regime of its pre-modern predecessor. But we’re not just talking about philosophical schools here, we’re talking about entire mindsets, paradigms if you like, that have emerged from the intricate and reciprocal processes between societal developments and human psychology. Accordingly the emergence of metamodernism and its predecessors has a historical dimension that would serve as an insightful and pedagogical point of departure to understand it before one ventures into a more comprehensive investigation of its societal, philosophical and psychological facets. The following is a slightly edited extract from Hanzi Freinacht’s book ‘The Listening Society: A Metamodern Guide to Politics, Book One’. This is the first book in a series on metamodern thought, a work of popular philosophy that investigates the nature of psychological development and its political implications. What you will read below is from the chapter on symbol-stages, the evolution of our shared symbolic toolkits. ”Beyond all human affairs, beyond all of our dramas and pass­ions, lies something far more abso­lute, a reality more real than our everyday lives.” —The Premodern Mind The Wisdoms of the “Axial” ...
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Beyond Left and Right, at Long Last

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It has become increasingly commonplace in our days to speak of the classical Left-Right scale as outdated, but somehow few people seem to be able to clearly articulate what that means. Sometimes you will hear about an econ­omic scale (high or low redistribution) and a social one (trad­itional vs. liberal values), a space with four quadrants. Sometimes people will pitch progress­iveness against conservativeness – but then in reality the nationalist conserv­atives often team up with welfare defending left-wingers. Jona­than Haidt shows us how liberal and conservative values seem to match each other and create a sum greater than its parts. Anthony Giddens tried to synthesize Left and Right in order to create a dynamic economy that was able to support progressive welfare and solid­arity (Tony Blair’s New Labour showed us the results of that – hardly a satisfying radicalization of politics, from a Left per­spective). Although there are some merits to each of these developments – per­haps Haidt especially, who looks at how conservative and liberal senti­ments create a whole greater than the sum of its parts – none of them sufficiently expl­icate the philosophical underpinnings and political consequ­ences of an ideo­logy that genuinely lies beyond Left and Right. The ...
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Feminism, yes. Culture of fear, no thanks.

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There are a few loopholes around feminism, multiculturalism and the striving towards social inclusion and multiplicity that few people seem to be aware of, but many people certainly should. These insights are especially important for organizers of “process oriented parties”, i.e. the budding metamodern political movements you can find in places like Sweden and Denmark. Basically, there are some paradoxes around trying to be inclusive that can and will stifle any intelligent and productive development of the organization unless people recognize them and learn to consciously steer clear of them. If anybody can pull the “exclusion” card at any time, scoring moral points and handing out heaps of vaguely formulated blame, this can and will foster a culture of fear. Let’s go through it. "Groups with more women have higher 'collective intelligence'." Why so many guys in new, experimental organizations? There is research that suggests that women on average have a somewhat higher social and emotional intelligence than men, and that groups or organizations where many key positions are held by women are somewhat more functional, i.e. they have higher “collective intelligence” than groups with fewer women (according to the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence). It is thus in the ...
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The Danish Alternative, a Party about Nothing

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What kind of political movements are going to address the developmental aspects of human psychology and their societal consequences I have put forth in my book The Listening Society? Who will embrace the long-term vision herein for cultivating a deeper kind of welfare that revolves around looking after the personal development of citizens in an open and democratic way? And what kind of phenomenon is going to emerge in party politics to work in accordance with the framework of co-development, democratization and deliberation described in my other book Nordic Ideology? In short, what’s the political party of the metamodern age, the one to take the victorious meta-ideology of green social-liberalism to the next level? The answer to this is the process oriented political party – a party that is less about con­tent, and more about the political processes that lead up to the best poli­cies. A party about nothing. The following is a slightly edited extract from Hanzi Freinacht’s book ‘The Listening Society: A Metamodern Guide to Politics, Book One’. This is the first book in a series on metamodern thought, a work of popular philosophy that investigates the nature of psychological development and its political implications. What you will read ...
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The Meta-Ideology that Conquered Scandinavia

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In my previous post I argued that the Nordic countries, in virtue of being the most progressive in the world, offer an interesting case study for the world-system as a whole to see in which direction societal progress is taking us. So what political patterns can we see emer­ging here? It’s not only that political goals deemed utopian in other countries already have been accomplished in Scandinavia, and by its residents often seen as trivial political realities beyond discussion. And it’s not just that Scandinavians in general tend to have more progressive views and values, or that many of the issues conservatives and progressives elsewhere usually tend to bitterly quarrel about already have been resolved in favor of the latter in the Nordics. These are very interesting circumstances indeed, but there is another development on the ideological level, less obvious and rarely touched upon, namely that a quite substantial change has occurred to the political game in late modern, post-industrial societies which appears to have progressed the furthest in Nordic politics. The following is a slightly edited extract from Hanzi Freinacht’s book ‘The Listening Society: A Metamodern Guide to Politics, Book One’. This is the first book in a series on ...
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The Most Progressive Countries in the World

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What does a political revolution look like these days? Violent uprisings and burned car tires? Bloody coups and rolling heads? Or millions of people gathering in the streets? No, a true transformative revolution of politics is occurring – much in line with Marx’s ideas – within the most culturally and economically developed parts of the world-system. And devel­op­­ment has gone the farthest, by quite a margin, in a rather quiet corn­er of the world: Scandinavia. The goldilocks conditions for revolution are to be found in places where every­thing funct­ions and runs smoothly. The Nordic countries are ext­remely ordered societies, even today under the pressures of globalization and immigration. And it is within the framework of this extreme level of order – and the far progression of the dynamics inherent to modern society – that transformative political rev­olutions occur. Deep changes of the social, econ­o­mic, political and behav­ioral structures are happening at an accel­erating pace, because this is one of the few places in the world that runs smoothly enough to allow it. The following is a slightly edited extract from Hanzi Freinacht’s book ‘The Listening Society: A Metamodern Guide to Politics, Book One’. This is the first book in a ...
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Response to Anonymous Author on Bunker Magazine

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This is a response to a critique of my work appearing on Bunker Magazine 15 April. The author remains anonymous but his or her political identity is quite clear – he or she is firmly based upon what I would term is a more “classical Left” perspective. In the following, I repeat the article in its entirety and give my responses. It’s presented as Anonymous Author (AA), interspersed with responses by me (HF). AA: Hanzi Freinacht is the main author in the website metamoderna.org. As a disclaimer, this is not an attack on Freinacht as a person, nor is the point to put in doubt his qualifications as a philosopher. This is an attack on his ideology. HF: Muchly appreciated. I wish the internet was a little more like this – respectful, kind, content focused. Cudos to AA. AA: Freinacht claims to have discovered Ariadne’s thread, the resolution to the puzzle of overcoming postmodern capitalism, which he tells us consists of “out-competing capitalism”. Capitalism, he tells us, is not to be abolished nor combated, but outperformed. I am unsure if Freinacht is even aware of the irony here: for many years this was the line followed by the USSR during ...
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The Boom Equation

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You are an educated and up-to-date reader, of course, but just to make certain that you haven’t missed it, I would like to underscore that we are today living in a time of unparalleled social, technological and cultural change and development. The scientific revolution of the 17th century, the Enlightenment of the 18th, the industrial and chemical revolutions of the 19th century and even the combustion engine and the communications of the 20th century were all peanuts in comparison to the scope of what is going on today. It is as if all of these revolutions were happening at once. The following is a slightly edited extract from Hanzi Freinacht’s book ‘The Listening Society: A Metamodern Guide to Politics, Book One’. This is the first book in a series on metamodern thought, a work of popular philosophy that investigates the nature of psychological development and its political implications. What you will read below is from the chapter named “Crisis-Revolution” which investigates the newly dug trenches in contemporary politics, the new classes and polarization to emerge and the rise of “trumpism” in the US and populist nationalism in Europe. Today we are experiencing an era in which several extremely far-reaching revolutions ...
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The Metamodern Aristocracy

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In my previous post I wrote about the triple-H population, the hipsters, hackers and hippies that with greater amounts of cultural capital are going to change the world and outcompete capitalism. These are the forerunners of the coming aristocracy of the metamodern age, an elitist avant-garde and a group of people that in the near future will assist the bourgeoisie in demoting itself to peasantry by its very own consumerism and narrow-mindedness. The following is a slightly edited extract from Hanzi Freinacht’s book ‘The Listening Society: A Metamodern Guide to Politics, Book One’. This is the first book in a series on metamodern thought, a work of popular philosophy that investigates the nature of psychological development and its political implications. What you will read below is from the chapter about new and important agents on the political playing field such as process based parties, metamodern activists, transnationalism and the emergence of the metamodern aristocracy. The metamodern aristocracy is a class of people who have a combination of fact­ors in their psych­ological, existential and cognitive constitutions that allow them to play a certain role on the new historical world stage of the metamodern age. But they are also people of social, economic ...
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The Reign of Hackers, Hipsters & Hippies

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These peo­ple are not just annoying, they are also about to take over the world. They are the ones with the highest amount of cultural capital, which they trade at increasingly favorable exchange rates, and, with which they’ll eventually outcompete capitalism. The reason for that is that their services, products and ideas have a competitive advantage; they are simply capable of creating the stuff everyone wants. These people are the main agents within crucial sectors such as IT, design and organizational devel­op­ment, which are growing in importance as the economies of the West are getting increasingly de-industrialized and more digitalized. The sociologist Richard Florida called them the creative class. His theory has merits, but he failed to see the wider political implications of a new rising class with values departing from the mainstream. He also lacked a framework for understanding the developmental psychology behind and he missed vital aspects of how it all links up with techno­logical progress. Here you’ll get to know these agents of change and understand why they’re important. The following is a slightly edited extract from Hanzi Freinacht’s book ‘The Listening Society: A Metamodern Guide to Politics, Book One’. This is the first book in a series ...
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4 Things that Make the Alt-Right Postmodern

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In my previous post I wrote that “the Alt-Right, as a political and social development, is not about political contents as such. It’s not a coherent ideology and it doesn’t have a political program, it’s a very different creature indeed”, which, allow me to add, only reveals itself properly when we take a peek beneath the hood and submerse ourselves into the greater context within which it has emerged. "the inability of postmodern thought to efficiently tackle many of the new issues to have appeared in our digital postindustrial societies and to properly address the felt societal concerns of all citizens, to which mainstream society remains just as clueless, has thus opened the door for the Alt-Right to dictate public discourse for years to come." Attempting to describe the Alt-Right in terms of concrete political ideology entirely misses the mark. Rigidly insisting on equating it with the political proposals of some self-identified Alt-Right advocate or another is as inadequate an approach as equating the term “fascism” with the political program of the Italian Fascist Party of the Interbellum Period. Not only does such an approach omit the many individuals who don’t identify with either of the abovementioned movements, but nonetheless ...
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What the * is the Alt-Right?

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It has been claimed that there’s nothing new about the Alt-Right, nothing “alternative” about it, that it’s simply the same old bigotry, racism and reactionary stance we’ve heard over and over again, now only cowardly disguised by a flashy new superfluous term. But that’s only half the story. It’s certainly true that many of its supporters exhibit racist, misogynic and other appalling views. But that doesn’t do away with the fact that it’s currently one of the most hotly debated terms around, and for good reasons too. What’s being described as Alt-Right is often much more than just plain bigotry. It has come to denote a new political current that displays some very novel properties that justifies the usage of a new term. It would consequently be a mistake to merely dismiss it as old wine in new bottles. Conversely, many of the rejections towards treating this political current as a novel phenomenon probably stems from the fact that the Alt-Right doesn’t propose any new ideas, and whenever political contents is sought it tends to be the same old rubbish we’ve heard a million times from right-wingers in the past. Yet this shouldn’t distract us from a further inquiry into ...
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How to Outcompete Capitalism?

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So you don’t like capitalism? Alright, what is capitalism then? No, no, really please, off the hip, what’s your razor sharp definition of capitalism? … It’s kind of tricky when you think about, isn’t it? Okay, let’s cut it down to its most basic component: capital. What is capital then? And no, you are not allowed to say money. Not sure then? Okay, what if we look at what capital does? No, not just a lot of evil stuff, what is the most basic mechanism of capital? Mind if I have a go at it? Alright, here’s my take on capital, it is: Something that creates a positive feedback loop, which changes social relations, so that power is accumulated, for the person or organization to which the feedback loop is linked. So anything that makes you more powerful vis-à-vis others, and that can grow and expand itself by proper management, is capital. The positive feedback loop means that you tend to get more of it once you have a certain amount; it creates an advantage from which you can get more of the same or more of something similar. It’s possible to add another dimension: Capital must have some kind of psychological lure or desirability ...
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What’s Alt-Left and What’s Not

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So what is the Alt-Left? Currently there’s a discussion going on about what exactly constitutes the Alt-Left, and as expected a lot of misunderstandings exist regarding what such a position would entail and what it is that justifies the introduction of a new term. I have therefore given a brief and accessible introduction to this emerging political phenomenon in a series of blog posts the last couple of weeks (here you can read the first post with links to the rest of the series). But of equal importance is what the Alt-Left is not, what doesn’t qualify to be treated as belonging to a new branch of the left wing. Here I’m going to shed some light on a few of the most prevailing misunderstandings. First of all, it should be obvious that it doesn’t suffice to merely advocate the same ideas that have been floating around for the past 30 years or more when claiming a supposedly new political position (such as post -68 humanist Marxism or critical theory). In order to be an “alternative” a new position is required that drastically differs from any former stances. This means that those who self-describe as Alt-Left but only seem to ...
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Alt-Left Perspectives

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In this investigation of the Alt-Left position we have looked at some general stances, economic thinking and the general political and cultural ideas that differ from what we have somewhat meanly called “the Old Established Left”. The point is that this new form of progressive thinking is needed due to the failures of the Left to adapt to the changes of the global, digitalized world-system and its postindustrial centers. But all of this flows not only from an analysis of our time, but also from more fundamental shifts in perspective. In this post we take a look at some of these shifts in general perspective and how they create a platform for a new form of politics. Posts on the Alt-Left: 1# What is the Alt-Left about? 2# Alt-Left Stance on Economy 3# Alt-Left Stance on Culture & Politics 4# Alt-Left Perspectives So let’s connect the dots. The Alt-Left only appears in history at a point where a critical mass of people begin to think, feel and breathe the digital age and have become intimately acquainted with the confusions and adversities of life in a postindustrial economy where the class interests of old make less sense. It is also a matter of ...
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Alt-Left Stance on Culture & Politics

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In the last post we briefly introduced the economic thinking of the Alt-Left. In this one we take a look at some general political intuitions and stances that set the Alt-Left apart from the Old Left. This includes some rather sensitive topics in which our friends on the Left tend to react emotionally. Can you keep your cool and read all the way through? Posts on the Alt-Left: 1# What is the Alt-Left about? 2# Alt-Left Stance on Economy 3# Alt-Left Stance on Culture & Politics 4# Alt-Left Perspectives The central issue here is that we are shifting from a “resistance stance” in which the Left is seen as reason and morality resisting the unjust structures of the world knowing that “another world is possible”, to a developmental stance, in which the mission is to improve upon the many faulty processes that constitute the world order. Basically, the Alt-Left doesn’t believe that you can tear down the existing order to find gold glittering underneath. Instead you must engineer better social, economic and political processes that – over time, and on average – lead to dramatically different results. This stance is no less rebellious than that of the traditional Left, because ...
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Alt-Left Stance on Economy

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When all is said and done, politics very often comes down to the economy. Any self-respecting political current must first and foremost hold opinions and perspectives on how the economy functions and how it can be developed. In this post we take a look at some of the economic thinking of the Alt-Left. Posts on the Alt-Left: 1# What is the Alt-Left about? 2# Alt-Left Stance on Economy 3# Alt-Left Stance on Culture & Politics 4# Alt-Left Perspectives The main difference between the Old Left and the Alt-Left is that the latter focuses more on the cultural, behavioral and psychological sides of economic life. In a world where material resources are relatively abundant and information and information processing become dominant in economic life, money begins to matter less than e.g. cultural capital, good social relations and access to high quality information. What is lacking is not stuff, or money, but intelligent solutions for distribution, value creation and ideas about what to do with our lives in the first place. To create a fair and sustainable global order we must create better social settings for people to do worthwhile things. We have already stated that this entails a “betrayal of the ...
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What is the Alt-Left about?

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Never before has the Left - in all its different forms - been losing on so many fronts as it is today. Accordingly a new Left is rising from the ashes of the old. I have chosen to label it the Alt-Left, but history may very well decide to go with another term. The important thing is that the Left is destined for radical transformations in light of the many changes the world is currently going through and the major transition towards a global information society. Posts on the Alt-Left: 1# What is the Alt-Left about? 2# Alt-Left Stance on Economy 3# Alt-Left Stance on Culture & Politics 4# Alt-Left Perspectives This is the first in a series of blog posts were I’ll attempt to provide a rough outline of the positions of this emerging Alt-Left. Of course, all of the items are up for discussion and most points are likely to be derided by traditional left-wingers as “centrism” or “liberalism”. But the Alt-Left is not centrist, and even, to some extent, it is anti-liberal. It should not be confounded with the Democrats in the US or Social Democrats in Europe. As you’ll see, the positions I outline in the ...
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What’s Wrong with the Left?

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It’s a good question, isn’t it? Because, with all due respect, the Left doesn’t really seem to be going anywhere. It’s losing big time at the moment, so something must be wrong with it, right? Accordingly one finds a lot of answers out there. "it’s not because the world is evil that the Left doesn’t succeed; it’s because it suffers from a lacking analysis of how the world actually works." A common and widely proclaimed notion is that the reasons for the Left’s decline is that it isn’t left enough and that it has given up on its core values. The idea here is that going further left, stressing even more state control, combating conservative values even more zealously, would all of a sudden fix the economy and convince more conservatively inclined voters to choose the Left rather than the Right. But lack of ideological purity is not the culprit; the failure to address current issues in an adequate manner is. Often it’s also heard by the representatives of Left parties and other groups that they have failed at communicating their message more efficiently. But seriously, is it just that we have a communication problem here? Is it really true ...
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Welcome to the Postmodern 1930s

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The times are a-changin’. And often we find recourse to previous times to understand ongoing events. The confusing and volatile conditions of the present have been compared to the turbulent times of the first half of the 20th century, in particular the period between the two world wars. This comparison has its merits, but it’s not without dangers of becoming too anachronistic if our allegories are taken too literally and if we fail to include a sound analysis of the present. It’s important to keep in mind that we’re living in a vastly different world than our close ancestors a century ago. So even if some of the mechanisms and patterns seem to be similar, the outcomes are likely to be very different. As mentioned in my previous post we seem to be in the middle of a major transition in history, just like the one the world was going through between the two world wars. Back then it was the transition to a fully modern industrial society, which resulted in major political, economic as well as existential crises. Today we are in the middle of a transition to a global information society, an increasingly postmodern society, which is likewise ...
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Are we Living in a Postmodern Equivalent of the 1930s?

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With the US election of president Donald Trump and the Brexit referendum in the UK it has hardly escaped anyone attention that we’re living in interesting times. Very interesting indeed. The rise of authoritarian strongmen in countries like Russia and Turkey, the emergence of new great powers on the global scene, and the decline of others, and the precarious economic and political conditions around the world – all of these things further add to the excitement. "history does seem to generate stubborn patterns that show up again and again when certain conditions are present." But haven’t we seen this before, some might ask? In recent years many have compared our times with earlier epochs. Are we approaching a new 1914? Or is it perhaps more accurate to make comparisons with the 1930s? After all, the stable and predictable world order that followed the Second World War seems to be nearing its end. Another chaotic period to decide the future order of the planet appears to be what we can expect to live in for the foreseeable future. That does sound like an echo of the turbulent first half of the 20th century. The growing protectionism in some countries, the emergence ...
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5 Things that Make You Alt-Left

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So you consider yourself a Leftie? Or perhaps you just want to educate yourself, getting up to par with your worst adversaries ever to come out of the Hell of progressive thought and action? In any case, you’re more than welcome to enjoy this brief presentation of what makes someone Alt-Left. For a shorter introduction to the Alt-Left read this page. If you on a general level agree with the old established Left and happily vote for any of the socialist or social democratic parties or their liberal equivalents in the US (yes, that includes Bernie Sanders) then you’re probably not Alt-Left. If you instead see the political identity based movements in all their diverse glory, whether that’s feminism, multiculturalism and what not as the only way forward, then you’re probably not Alt-Left either. If you self-identify as Alt-Left but merely repackage the same old thoughts that have been available for the past 30 years or more, then you’re per definition not Alt-Left. But if you find that the following describes your opinions and way of thought, then you’re probably Alt-Left. Here goes: "Your solution is thus not to abolish, but to outcompete, capitalism" 1) The market You have a ...
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The Limits of Economic Inquiry

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“To know what is useful to a dog, one must study dog-nature. This nature itself cannot be deduced from the principle of utility. Applying this to Man, he that would criticize all human acts, movements, relations etc., by the principle of utility, must first deal with human nature in general, and then with human nature as modified in each historical epoch. Bentham makes short work of it. With the driest naïveté, he takes the modern shopkeeper, especially the English shopkeeper, as the normal man.” - Karl Marx in Capital "The concern is not to suppress economic thought as we know it, but to expand it." Introduction: Expanding the realm of the economic In social science a perpetual question of legitimacy is the definition and delimitation of the economic. What is ‘economic’ fundamentally defines with what we, collectively as well as individually, can economize, within which frames we can meaningfully make trade-offs. In an acclaimed economics text-book trade-offs are said to be made concerning: 1. which goods/services to produce, 2. how to produce, and 3. who receives goods/services (Perloff, 2004: p 2). Some domains of our existence are however generally considered to be beyond economic inquiry, and therefore meaningful trade-offs cannot ...
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Revolutions of Cultural Capital

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The world hardly noticed when the Danish party The Alternative snuck their way into parliament with almost 5% of the votes, less than two years after its founding was announced. And why should the world notice such menial, peripheral affairs in the quiet corners of the world? Because this event reveals a certain greater cultural pattern that come to affect the world at large. What we see is the tendency for cultural capital to organize and out-compete financial capital. "Economic capital, in this case, 'trickles down' through sexual and social capital. Exchanges take place. Society stratifies into male power, female beauty and side-kick friends." You may be familiar with the idea that there are different forms of capital in society. Karl Marx argued that the logic of economic capital is what drives modern society and explains large parts of its social and political relations. Pierre Bourdieu argued that in modern French society, there is not only economic capital, but also cultural capital. The hommes de lettres, the cultural elite, were powerful and had their own ways of expanding their form of capital. Bourdieu also added social capital to the model - how well connected and cool you are. Political scientists, ...
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Situating Zavarzadean Metamodernism, #6: Transcendence of the Dialectical in Zavarzadean Metamodernism

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In this last of six ruminations on recent developments in metamodernism, I offer a detailed outline of Zavarzadeh’s approach to both conventional narrative and postmodern dialectics. This outline confirms Zavarzadean metamodernism—both literary and cultural—not only as a new paradigm but also one which, albeit without direct citation to Zavarzadeh, contemporary metamodernists have continued to explore in their own writings. My hope is to re-situate Zavarzadeh as not only the man who coined the term “metamodernism” in the mid-1970s, but also a (still living) scholar who’s given us much of the term’s contemporary valence. The previous rumination in the series can be read here: #5: Reading Frederic Jameson Against Mas’ud Zavarzadeh Situating Zavarzadean Metamodernism, all parts: #1: What Is Metamodernism? #2: Metamodernism Across the Disciplines #3: Developing a Guiding Metaphor for the Metamodern #4: What Zavarzadean Metamodernism Is and Is Not #5: Reading Frederic Jameson Against Mas’ud Zavarzadeh #6: Transcendence of the Dialectical in Zavarzadean Metamodernism The chief trait of the literary “metamodernism” identified by Mas’ud Zavarzadeh in 1975 was its resistance to the dialectics of both Modernism and “anti-modernism” (postmodernism). Metamodern literature, wrote Zavarzadeh, “refuses simplistic either/or approach[es] to the experiential situation and establishes, through its dual fields of reference, ...
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Situating Zavarzadean Metamodernism, #5: Reading Frederic Jameson Against Mas’ud Zavarzadeh

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In the fifth of six ruminations on recent developments in metamodernism, I address the reading of Jameson (and Jamesonian postmodernism) that seems to animate the outlier metamodernism of Vermeulen and van den Akker. I use my (re-)reading of Jameson as a means of showing that Jameson’s timeline for the evolution of postmodernism is not, in fact, much at odds with Zavarzadeh’s until we reach the late 1990s—the same period of time at which Vermeulen and van den Akker begin to diverge in their thinking from Jameson. I address, too, how the Vermeulen/van den Akker misreading of Zavarzadeh is in fact a much graver and more consequential misreading of Jameson himself, as the former has in fact substantially complicated the latter’s model of postmodernism’s evolution rather than merely parroting it. The previous rumination in the series can be read here: #4: What Zavarzadean Metamodernism Is and Is Not "If postmodernism would come to be aligned with “neoliberalism,” Zavarzadeh in 1975 explicitly aligned metamodernism with “post-liberalism,”" In 1983, Frederic Jameson, the quintessential postmodern scholar, began writing an article for The New Left Review. The article aimed to crystallize “postmodernism” as a discrete cultural paradigm which, in Jameson’s view, had become manifest by ...
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Situating Zavarzadean Metamodernism, #4: What Zavarzadean Metamodernism Is and Is Not

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In the fourth of six ruminations on recent developments in metamodernism, I forcefully rebut misperceptions of Zavarzadean metamodernism and attempt to remedy these misperceptions by close-reading Zavarzadeh’s seminal text. This reading emphasizes how closely interconnected Zavarzadean metamodernism is to other writings on metamodernism that have appeared through the years. The previous rumination in the series can be read here: #3: Developing a Guiding Metaphor for the Metamodern "...the “snap-back” quality of metamodernism described by Vermeulen and van den Akker is merely a re-entrenchment of postmodern philosophy by way of confirming that opposing positions are in fact irreconcilable." It must now be stated rather baldly that Vermeulen and van den Akker’s circumscription of Mas’ud Zavarzadeh’s metamodernism bears no obvious relation to either the views of the man or the manner in which he articulated those views in “The Apocalyptic Fact” in 1975. For instance, Zavarzadeh’s clearest and most oft-repeated circumscription of his own reading of metamodernism is that the term denotes creative and cultural phenomena that contain “zero degree of interpretation”; yet in dismissing Zavarzadeh as an only slightly idiosyncratic postmodernist, Vermeulen and van den Akker attribute to him a diametrically opposite usage of the “meta-” prefix: they claim, that is, ...
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Situating Zavarzadean Metamodernism, #3: Developing a Guiding Metaphor for the Metamodern

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In the third of six ruminations on recent developments in metamodernism, I address more directly a recent essay on the topic by cultural theorists Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker—an essay that both points toward a possible resolution with Zavarzadean metamodernism, offers a way forward for metamodern discourse, and posits a new trope for the scholarly description of metamodern operations. This new trope highlights the ways in which metamodernists always run the risk of merely re-entrenching postmodern principles—perhaps the worst thing a metamodernist can do. The previous rumination in the series can be read here: #2: Metamodernism Across the Disciplines "...this idea of being constantly pulled between poles—regardless of the inclusion that, too, one prefers one pole more than another—is “classic” postmodernism." In their most recent essay on metamodernism, Vermeulen and van den Akker analogize metamodernism to a man or woman who has been thrown overboard roughly equidistant from a large number of disparate and discrete islands. These islands in many instances represent opposing forces like irony and sincerity, cynicism and optimism, or knowingness and naiveté. In this view, the metamodernist’s inclination is to swim toward one island on the basis of it being (seen as) preferable to the ...
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Situating Zavarzadean Metamodernism, #2: Metamodernism Across the Disciplines

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In the second of six ruminations on recent developments in metamodernism, I distinguish between different disciplinary approaches to metamodernism and briefly introduce an approach endemic to Literary Studies—that of American professor Mas’ud Zavarzadeh, the man who coined the term “metamodernism” in 1975. In contrasting metamodernism to previous cultural paradigms, I insist that the failure to account metamodernism a “movement” is at the heart of an error that now threatens ongoing metamodern research. The previous rumination in the series can be read here: #1: What Is Metamodernism? "Metamodernism is, like Modernism and postmodernism, a cultural paradigm. This means that, like Modernism and postmodernism, it can be construed as a movement, a philosophy, a system of logic, a structure of feeling, and a cultural dominant that both is reflected in existing cultural activities and can be channeled into new creative endeavors." Much of the disconnect between Vermeulen and van den Akker and their peers in metamodern scholarship may be attributable to disciplinary pathologies. That is, Vermeulen and van den Akker, as cultural theorists, are looking at temporally elongated phenomena which can in fact exhibit discernible signs of “metaxic” oscillation. For instance, one might find a sort of oscillation in the near-simultaneous rise ...
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Situating Zavarzadean Metamodernism, #1: What Is Metamodernism?

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In the first of six ruminations on recent developments in metamodernism, I address the question of whether and how metamodernists can come to an agreement on the basic principles of the philosophy. I develop a rudimentary outline for metamodernism and begin the process of distinguishing between different readings of the term. The current choke-point in the discipline—a single, narrow reading of the term proposed by a specific cadre of individuals—is introduced. "I think the term “metamodernism” offers ample room for spirited debate and disagreement among peers—including, importantly, over how to read the “meta-” prefix itself." Recent years have seen metamodernists from around the world struggling to create an international dialogue around the topic due to disagreements over what the term “metamodernism” could or does signify. In some respects this is no different a state of affairs from that faced by early postmodernists in the mid-twentieth century, and is endemic to any dialogue about an emerging cultural paradigm. In other respects, the persistent fragmentation of metamodern discourse is an unnecessary and damaging condition that remains—for a little while longer, at least—capable of redress. If there are, going forward, to be international convocations of metamodern scholars at conferences and symposia, one thing ...
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Oh, Harris. Oh, Chomsky

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The intellectual internet reverberates. Small gods pause for a moment. Something interesting happened yesterday. The moral philosopher, neo-atheist, critic of Islam and all things religious (and secular proponent of meditation and spirituality) Sam Harris released a fascinating recent e-mail exchange with the intellectual giant of the Left: Noam Chomsky, the number one linguist and political commentator in the world. "I believe that there is a position that is analytically superior to that of both Harris and Chomsky, and that a person adopting this position can avoid the problems raised by both authors." With a touch of self-irony, Harris entitled the exchange “The Limits of Discourse: As Demonstrated by Sam Harris and Noam Chomsky”. On Facebook alone, the post has attracted over 4000 likes and 1500 shares. The discussions rage on as people take stands and assess their discussion. These two famous people, who Harris estimates have about a million readers in common, are at each other’s throats. They are trying to resolve some issues of mutual accusations in the public debate and to understand each other’s position to clarify their own points and moral assessment. I will try to give my input into their discussion, leaving out assessments of who ...
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Secular Karma, Spiritual Reason

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Is there such a thing as Karmic law? What goes around comes around, huh? Or does it? Everybody gets what they deserve in the end. Or do they? Or how about this one: Does being a good person ultimately count for more than being powerful and successful? Is the world a fair place, a cosmic order of morality? Are there rewards inherent in kindness and morality – and are our sins and evils really pregnant with punishment? Or is the world fundamentally devoid of moral meaning; a perfectly dead, pristine multidimensional, self-organizing hypercomplexity of indifference? "I offer you spiritual reason. If reason’s your game." The answers to these questions are, in order of appearance: yes, there is a such a thing as Karmic law; no, nobody gets what they deserve because we always deserve something infinitely better; no, power precedes morality, so being powerful and successful counts for more than being good (and this is so by mathematical necessity); yes, kindness and morality have inherent rewards (and sins have automatic punishments); yes, the world is a cosmic order of morality; no the world is not indifferent – its fundamental principle is love which is the same as non-indifference, which means ...
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Concerning the Complexities of Political Opinion – A Five Dimensional Model

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There are reasons for political opinions, different orders of causation. People hold opinions because. These different orders constitute separate but interconnected logics of causation that can all be, and have been, studied as their own separate fields of inquiry. These different kinds of because can be described and related to one another. I propose here to present a list of these different orders and some of their most important interrelations, as far as my theorizing can take me at this point. "Quite simply: from what opinion will people gain the most in terms of their social identity? Adopting what political opinion will best serve my image, fit my style, help my career, get me laid, and get me into fewer awkward situations?" At each order, or level, distinctions are made, opinions formed. But the different kinds of distinctions are made for different reasons. Here is the general outline of the five orders: 1st order: Opinion as identity cost-benefit calculation 2nd order: Opinion as (perceived) interest 3rd order: Opinion as perspective from a social position 4th order: Opinion as ideology (ontological horizon) 5th order: Opinion as cognitive ability (stage of development) Let’s go through them one by one. The fifth order ...
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Another Kind of Freedom

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Political freedom is a scale from seven to one, where seven is North Korea and one is the US, France or Sweden. At least according to the Washington based NGO Freedom House (www.freedomhouse.org). Here’s the deal: There is one score for political rights and one for civil liberties. And when a country gets to one in both scores – it is free. But is that all there is to it? Is that the endpoint of human freedom? "Nothing can be alive or created or sustained without the use of power. A human body consists of organic matter under violent control: killed, chewed, swallowed, digested, broken down and reorganized." Ah, freedom. Freedom, yeah. The research, monitoring and lobbying undertaken by this kind of NGO:s are exceedingly important. No doubt about it. Democracy is better than dictatorship. Upholding human rights is better than violating human rights. Freedom of speech is really, really important for the individuation and integration processes that constitute the flowering of life and the release from suffering and degradation. Looks Like We’ve Hit a Plateau! But of course, human rights aren’t ontologically grounded realties like laws of nature. They are social constructs, deals if you like, struck between human ...
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You’re not metamodern before you understand this. Part 2: Proto-Synthesis

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This is the second post regarding the major objectives of metamodernism. The first, on the political stance of Game Change, was a political follow-up on the post ‘5 things that make you metamodern’. This post will introduce the major underlying philosophical concept behind the metamodern project: Proto-Synthesis. The Philosophical Goal of Metamodernism: Proto-Synthesis The major overarching intellectual goal of metamodernism is the attempt to construct a unified overview of all knowledge in a cosmological context, a grand narrative of everything – while knowing full and well that the synthesis produced can never be final or absolute. "The mantra of Metamodernism is: Reconstruction must follow deconstruction." Reconstruction The mantra of Metamodernism is: Reconstruction must follow deconstruction. This is to be seen as a reaction against the postmodern aim of deconstructing everything. But Metamodernism is not the same as modernity. The grand project of modernity was based on the belief that given enough time, rational thought and careful objective analysis, science would reveal the secrets of existence. Metamodernists are aware that creating a new grand narrative of the world is a never ending endeavor and only Proto-Synthesis is achievable. The grand narrative of Metamodernism can be described as a meta-narrative, a modern ...
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You’re not metamodern before you understand this. Part 1: Game Change

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This is a follow up on my previous post on ‘5 things that make you metamodern’. The purpose is to present the two major objectives of the metamodern project, politically and philosophically: Game Change and Proto-Synthesis. This post, part one, introduces the underlying political thinking behind metamodernism. We call it Game Change. Failing to understand this principle leads to very serious mistakes; such failure transmutes glowing idealism into murder most foul. "The good news is that we can change the rules of the game, making it fairer and more forgiving for everyone." The Political Goal of Metamodernism: Game Change The major objective of the metamodern political project is to change the rules of the game. Our simple message is that life as we know it can and must evolve. The Game Change position is: Life is a plus-sum game with possible win-wins. Life is also often a zero-sum game with lose-win. Life is often even a tragic dilemma of lose-lose. But the rules of the game can change, evolving into more win-win, less lose-win and less lose-lose. Nobody actually ever “deserves” to lose games and suffer defeat or humiliation. Seriously – would you tell a kid that she “deserves” to ...
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Sex. Politics. Politics. Sex.

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What would be a sane, pragmatic and holistic approach to gender equality in society? I would argue that we have three fundamental aspects of the gender-sex-equality-identity-relationship-reproduction complex (for short: the gender-political complex). Yes, these things are intrinsically linked to one another and can be treated as one single gender-political complex. This post is about how future utopia can relate to the gender-political complex. "Radicalism and critical studies in all of its forms, the political left, look at identity freedom. Conservatism and the political right look at reproductive functionality." Three Dimensions Let’s start with the arithmetics. The gender-political complex has at least three dimensions, possibly more. If you can’t count to three, you’re out. And if you can’t keep one, two, three apart – you’re out. Whatever gender politics you conceive of that does not at least include these three dimensions is inherently oppressive. The dimensions are: Identity freedom Game evolution Reproductive functionality No political system or ideology in the world today looks at more than one of these three dimensions. Radicalism and critical studies in all of its forms, the political left, look at identity freedom. Conservatism and the political right look at reproductive functionality. No-one, except perhaps the creme ...
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5 things that make you metamodern

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The basic stage theory proposed here is: modernist -> postmodernist -> metamodernist. So don’t skip past postmodernism, because you will end up with a cheap, empty tin version of metamodernism. This goes especially for so-called integralists who have no or almost no conception of the glory of postmodernism. First of all, any true metamodernist must also be a postmodernist. If you do not understand and depart from the postmodern critique of knowledge, science, philosophy, art and consciousness, you cannot really claim to be metamodern. If you have a general disliking of all things postmodern, guess what, you cannot be metamodern. This being said, metamodernists are quite different from postmodernists. Here’s a list of five key insights that make you metamodern – given that you are also/already postmodern. "The wisdom is, just because something makes you feel bad, doesn’t mean it’s wrong." 1) An awareness of allergies An allergy is an uncontrolled negative emotional response towards some idea or person. It’s the gut-wrenching feeling that a person you dislike provokes in you, or the feeling of anger and discontent certain ideas or concepts can spawn. We all have these emotions, but the metamodernist has developed its mind (what researchers call metacognition) ...
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Music and the Fall of Russia

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We must not underestimate the power of popular music and culture. It is becoming a force vastly superior to geopolitics and military prowess, because unlike machine guns, it works 24/7 and targets our relations, thoughts and the central agents of our social networks. It works through TV, through Facebook, through consumption, status, taste and what Pierre Bourdieu famously called distinction. Russia may have won Crimea and the separatists may be gaining control over parts of Ukraine. But the war was over before it began. It was won by pop, clothes, style, sensitivity, yoga, food - and rock and roll. No half-naked cowboy president can compete with the lean muscles of an American movie star like Brad Pitt, no steely gaze can seduce better than the brilliant smile of George Clooney. "Internet trolls. Meaning people who show up in comments and social media and write provocative or dissident views. Hired by the Russian government. Working in a building, four full floors, in St Petersburg." 250 fake bloggers in St Petersburg Internet trolls. Meaning people who show up in comments and social media and write provocative or dissident views. Hired by the Russian government. Working in a building, four full floors, in ...
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5 Things Terrorists and Liberal Media Have in Common

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After Charlie Hebdo, we saw a digital and printed world bustling with righteous rage. Papers, online media, bloggers and Facebook or Twitter users struck defiant byline picture gazes and stood up for a liberal society, for a free press, for freedom of expression, for the value of satire and humor. We see an international civil society defining what is pure and sacred (free press, humor, satire) and impure and unholy (terrorism, fundamentalism, attacks on the free society). But what social realities do these exclamations of moral indignation result in? Perhaps they have undesirable effects. Perhaps even, they have the same effects as the actions of the terrorists themselves. "The response of the media is more real, a much greater event in society and in our lives than machine guns and murders." The societal effects of the Charlie Hebdo attacks First and foremost the effects of the Charlie Hebdo attacks are the individual tragedies, bereavement, trauma, chock and long lasting sorrow. This should be recognized before we move on. However, I want to discuss the matter less emotionally and personally. What then are the societal effects of attacks such as these? Here are five effects that we may deduce and rather ...
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Greece and Europe: Why the Left Is Not Enough

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This is the second post on economics, challenging the orthodoxies of the Left critique in our time. It is about another Greek drama, about agony and ecstasy in twelve parts – about why the glimmering hopes of a radical change will not materialize and be met this time around. It is not because, like many on the Left are bound to say, that Syriza’s electoral victory will be betrayed and not “genuinely left” enough. No, it is because the new Left victory in Greece is really just the old Left. This movement lacks the cultural, intellectual, analytic, technological and economic understanding to actually maneuver towards brighter days. I’m sorry, but that is my honest assessment. You are bound for failure, because you simply don’t know what you are doing. "The right kind of austerity is the best thing in the world. Another word for “good” austerity is “economic sustainability”. But the wrong kind of austerity is extremely harmful. The question was never to spend or not to spend." What Syriza gets right There are some things that the Syriza movement gets absolutely right. First and foremost it is the ethical and pragmatic question of the Greek debt. There is no ...
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Beyond Piketty, Far Beyond

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Thomas Piketty's book Capital in the Twenty-First Century hit the world like a battering ram. Much ink has been spilled as a global community of economists, social scientists and pundits began relating to a new narrative of the economy. The public conclusion: inequality is growing, there is a top 1 % with exponential wealth accumulation, and the middle classes have been outmaneuvered by global capital. The left has gained renewed rhetorical and political legitimacy. But is this a correct reading of Piketty's research? I would argue that the mainstream reception of Piketty is a simplistic reading that largely misses the main points to be learned. To shed new light on this "book of the decade", I call for a "view from complexity" and a deeper social analysis of Piketty's findings and their reception in the world. My claim is that, to understand Piketty, we must venture beyond Piketty. "If investors in wealthy economies like the US are getting less back on their capital, how can capital rapidly be outgrowing the growth in productivity? Of course, our culprits should be globalization and the financial sector." Stiglitz versus Piketty Here is a curious dilemma for anyone who wants to understand the development ...
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Metamodern Art, Culture and Politics

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How does metamodernism, an academic study of art and culture, relate to the recent developments in politics seen in Scandinavia and elsewhere, with movements like the Alternative? Indeed, how can we say anything meaningful about the pattern that connects metamodern art, politics and culture? Now that the cameras are rolling, I’d like to thank all my friends at metamodernism.com. "We know that we’re not ‘the good guys’, not on ‘the right side’, but that we are always bound to be both good and bad. Society can be deep and meaningful, even sublime, but that is precisely what makes it such a risky business." In this post I celebrate the kinship between us, mainly political-philosophical metamodernists, and you, the cultural-critical movement closer to aesthetics, architecture and film. I know I can speak not only for myself when saying that we political activists like you guys and your work, both the artists/designers described as metamodern and the academics who described the trend (rats in the cellar, you know who you are ☺). The good part is, in an intellectual and cultural context, you don’t even have to like us back. We can still use your ideas, your taste and your sensibilities to ...
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Metamodernism, or Agony and Ecstasy in Twelve Parts

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There’ll be plenty of time to joke around. No worries man, no worries sister. The world is a splendid mess. There’s plenty of laughing stock to go around. We’ll get to all that. I want to speak today about something else; about the birth of metamodern political consciousness. For me it is no joke. I want to be vulnerable now to begin with. Later, when I trash intellectuals, score cheap points and rage against the machine, remember that Hanzi Freinacht is only kidding around. Know that I am a vulnerable, bleeding soul just like you. "Metamodern consciousness is born through tragedy. Through the excruciating unsolvable dilemmas that show up in our lives, in society, in nature." Metamodern consciousness is born through tragedy. Through the excruciating unsolvable dilemmas that show up in our lives, in society, in nature. Why is my cousin alone in the world? Why does my ex-girlfriend suffer so, where every attempt to help just amounts to deepening her pain? Why did my dad live his life without close friends? Why did slaves in Bangladesh make this shirt for me? Why are there millions and millions of tortured piglets all over the state of Denmark? Metamodernism as tragedy ...
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