How a Psychedelic Sex Cult Infiltrated a German Ecovillage

This is the story of an idyllic German ecovillage known as the ZEGG[1] and its infiltration by a dangerous cult named Go&Change. It’s also a story about sexual abuse and two dead children.

The following is based on my own experiences, what I’ve heard and things I’ve read. I don’t claim this to be a piece of critical journalism. And I don’t even claim it to be particularly well researched. My reason for sharing this is simply for my story to serve as a warning for others. If this saves just one person from harm by keeping them away from Go&Change, it has done its job.

It all began with an invitation to speak at the ZEGG Summer Camp 2021 in Bad Belzig near Berlin. I was to give a talk and participate in a panel discussion with, among others, a strange fellow named Felix Krolle.[2] Had I been a wise man, I would have looked up with whom I was to panel and what kind of organisation he represented. Sadly, I was too lazy to be a wise man.

I’ve been to the ZEGG a couple of times before and have always found the place gorgeous. When you’ve been staying in gritty grey Berlin for too long, arriving at the ZEGG is like entering a little paradise. And the day I arrived for the Summer Camp, on a sunny day under a cloudless sky, it looked more beautiful than ever. Little did I know that here, just one week later, one of the most insane experiences of my life would take place.

Shortly after arriving I received a text from this Felix guy from something called Go&Change. He wanted to meet and have a chat about the panel discussion. I politely agreed. But when we met, it wasn’t the casual private conversation I had expected. Instead, I was instantly seated in a circle of five or six other people. I didn’t think much about it at the time, but it quickly became apparent that this guy wanted something from me, and that the whole setup was intended to accomplish just that. Things didn’t go as planned though.

Felix hadn’t finished reading my books, he admitted, and thus couldn’t have known that I’m not a stage fetishist and that I consider cults the great totalitarian danger of the future. He presented Go&Change, of which he was some kind of leader, as a close-knit community with a formalized social hierarchy based on people’s cognitive stage of development. I thought it sounded like a bad fucking idea.[3] The meeting kinda went downhill from there. I was happy to leave when it ended.

I later realized that I had been sitting in the middle of a group of cult people, in what they call a “we-space” (a social technology intended to generate a field of collective practices that generate profound conversations, or some shit like that). However, after closer inquiry, I renamed it the gaslighting chamber. In the hands of the wrong people, this thing is an extremely efficient instrument of manipulation.[4]

Initially I merely thought of Felix Krolle as just another dude trying to sell me something. It happens all the time. But Felix refused to be just another dude. He repeatedly tried to get more meetings with me, all of which I politely declined. I simply didn’t have the time since I needed to prepare for my talk. But he didn’t give up. Eventually he texted me that one of the ZEGG summer camp organizers wanted to talk to me in person. I found that a bit weird. Why couldn’t he just contact me himself? I called the person and set up a meeting. Again I just expected a private meeting between the two of us, but once I arrived we were accompanied by three other people, including Felix whom I had repeatedly told I didn’t have time for.

This didn’t feel entirely honest to me, but I shrugged it off and sat down with them. I thought we were to talk about the panel discussion, but instead they started complaining about me not spending time with them and staying too much in my room. I answered that I understood it could be disappointing if they had been looking forward to meeting me, but that I needed to prepare for the talk and rest after a stressful vacation. Among normal people this would have been the end of the discussion, but it didn’t end there. One after the other they continued complaining and tried to guilt-trip me. Felix in particular became very insisting, arguing how I owed it to the community to make myself more available.

In the end it just pissed me off. I never signed up for this, and certainly didn’t owe anyone anything. At the time I merely thought of them as annoying community obsessed hippies not grasping that too much socializing can be draining to some. It was only later I understood that they needed to get closer to me in order to win me over.

The Dinner Table Incident

Until that point I had only been subject to minor subtle manipulations. My only reason to avoid Felix Krolle and Go&Change was that I found their project rather uninteresting and Felix to be boring and slightly creepy in the way he was stalking me.[5] It was only when things escalated at a dinner table conversation that I realized something was severely off with these folks.

Initially I was too focused on my food to notice what was happening around me, as is often the case. But at some point between the soup and the salad, I came out of my food trance as a friend of mine was being quite viciously attacked from all sides of the table after making a few critical comments about the speech of one of the leading camp organizers who was sitting next to us. My friend wasn’t getting flack for the contents of his criticism though, but for his personal virtues—or supposed lack thereof. It was not just that his criticism was invalid, but that he didn’t have a right to criticise in the first place. How dared he criticise this prominent member of the ZEGG after everything he had done for the world, Felix argued. And how could my young friend even suggest he could have anything of value to say to someone with so many years of experience. From there they went on and on about his “shadows” and “ego”. It was when Felix in a tone I wouldn’t have imagined at a hippie camp accused my friend of “sucking [name of the ZEGG guy] dry”[6] and called him an “asshole” that my nervous system had become fully alert. I never finished the salad.

At the time I never fully realised what was going on. But of course, this is the kind of treatment any lowly member of a cult can expect if they challenge the leadership. And here at the dinner table, the senior ZEGG guy was the top dog and thus to be shielded from criticism by collective bullying. It was almost as if the G&C people auto piloted through the whole incident once Felix started going after my friend. They had done this before. And they were good at it.

The atmosphere had become rather tense and I felt sorry for my friend who looked like he had been run over by a car. Understandably, you’ll enter a state of minor shock from suddenly being attacked from every corner of the room and being told you’re trash. Especially if the ones doing so are trained in picking people apart. I attempted to engage Felix in a more philosophical conversation instead to shift focus away from my friend. Unsurprisingly it didn’t result in the fruitful intellectual exchange one could have hoped. Felix simply rejected my argumentation by claiming he was on a higher level of cognitive complexity and that I would only understand why I was wrong once I evolved to his level of development. Felix claimed to be at cross-paradigmatic (yeah right, buddy)[7], and thus stood above any criticism from the rest of us puny unevolved beings. As a more developed human being, he was automatically right. But of course, he had the tools to help us become more evolved if we just listened to him.

Despite the prospect of evolving to higher levels, I thought I’d heard enough and decided to leave. I admit, I might have lost my temper at some point. I might have told Felix I thought he was full of shit. I also told him straight up that the love he constantly talked about rang hollow and was nowhere to be felt in his presence, and that his eyes looked completely dead.[8] That’s not a nice thing to say to someone. But honestly, I still stand by my words.

Whatever they are doing at G&C, it isn’t working. Most of the folks at the camp had this shiny hippie love radiating from their eyes and body language full of life and vigour. It was clear to see that whatever spiritual and therapeutic practices they were into, it was working. And then there were these G&C folks: stale bodies, stone faced, dead eyes, ready to engage you in psychological jiu-jitsu at any moment to establish their developmental superiority.

As I left the dinner table and walked away, I didn’t realise that Felix fucking followed us. It was only after having told my friend how creepy I found Felix that I looked back and discovered him walking behind us close enough to eardrop on our conversation. But at least he now knew what I thought of him.

And then I went to my room and googled Go&Change:

“Esoteric Psycho Cult on Fusion-Kinderspace?”

 “Razzia at community Go&Change in Luelsfeld”,SNyKr8


“Psychological Pressure and Sexualized Violence in a Former Monastery?”

The latter is from the German newspaper Main-Post. An English translation can be found here:

Here are a few snippets from the article (my bolds):

“In the past few months, several women and men have turned to the editorial team: former members of ‘Go & Change’. There are ‘psychological terrorism’ and ‘brainwashing’ in the community, they report independently. They tell of all-controlling leaders and sexualized violence as ‘therapy’. Visiting relatives is usually not welcome. Almost all dropouts want to remain anonymous. The dropouts in particular are very scared.”


“‘Sadomaso sex’ is also part of a ‘therapy’ by K.K., who, according to dropouts, describes himself as a ‘healer’. The personality should be cured from its ‘shadows’. This type of ‘treatment’ takes place in a ‘sex room’ on the upper floor of ‘Maria Schnee’. The women say that some were injured, a woman even very serious physical wounds. ‘Go & Change’ does not answer the editor’s question about the sex therapies described. That is ‘our private matter’, says Krolle. The allegation is not being denied.”


“Today Ralf B. regrets his trust in ‘Go & Change’. His wife had not recovered there. On the contrary. ‘She went through hell,’ says Ralf B .; he followed it. He met his wife regularly during their stay. To date, she has not processed the experience within the monastery walls. The 45-year-old is currently undergoing therapeutic treatment.”


“Ralf B. tells of sleep deprivation through ‘process nights’ with group sessions and of massive verbal insults against his wife. She had told her husband about a tally list in which alleged misconduct was counted. From her isolation in a special group for ‘narcissistic women’ – as a punitive measure. And financial control of the members.

Drugs are said to have been involved: LSD and ecstasy. ‘Because they reveal more of themselves,’ says Ralf B. The other dropouts confirm this. Ralf B. also observed during a visit that drugs were used deliberately and specifically targeted at individuals.

Ralf B. describes that his wife found the group sessions torture. ‘Then you’re done,’ he says. Sometimes the round lasted all night. Without sleep, everyone would have had to go back to the work in which they were firmly divided: in the kitchen or garden, for washing up, for cooking, for cleaning. Others were able to bring in their manual skills.”


“According to Lohmayer, methodological instruments from the field of psychology, such as ‘integral structural constellations with in-depth analysis’, are used in the community, but are used here without recognized psychotherapeutic qualifications. For him, ‘Go & Change’ is a ‘psycho group with a high potential for conflict’. He says: ‘Group dynamic processes, management and power structures, social control, total commitment, separation from the previous social environment’ are always a topic in the consultations that he had with dropouts and relatives. ‘You have to imagine the group dynamic context like this,’ explains Lohmayer: ‘The more I know about a person – especially in sexual and partnership terms – the more power I gain over them, the more controllable they become and the more vulnerable they ultimately become.‘”


“In March 2019, a one-year-old falls into an extinguishing pond near the monastery and later dies in a hospital in Munich. As it turns out, the child was visiting ‘Go & Change’ and was supervised by members of the community. According to the public prosecutor’s office in Schweinfurt, ‘it was investigated against three people for negligent homicide’. […] ‘An infant from the ‘Go & Change’ environment had died on a walk four weeks earlier.”

Oh, and if that wasn’t alarming enough, here are some of Go&Change’s google reviews (again, my bolds):

[Translated by Google]

“Danger!!! I understand the longing for loving fellowship, but don’t make the mistake of joining this religious community. Go & Change is definitely a sect-like group. Here contact with the outside world is systematically cut off. One should distance oneself from friends / family who are critical, there are clear hierarchies and alleged energy work / psychotherapy which in the end is brainwashing. Sometimes families are dissolved here, children are separated from their parents and what else do I know, and everything happens to the taste of the “leaders” named Felix and Kai who can take any freedom themselves while the “residents” are subject to strict daily and work rhythms . Unfortunately I lost a friend to this “community”. Fortunately, some other friends made the jump in time. In the meantime I have also heard reports from some other dropouts that clearly point to sects and brainwashing. Of course there are practices there that work and initially suggest that what is being conveyed there is correct or that you learn about yourself, and certainly not everything that happens there is bad. In the long run, however, a dependency and a power imbalance should and will be created which ends in a kind of powerlessness. Many dropouts only become really aware of it after they have left it. I advise extreme caution and wish everyone here the best.”[9]


[Translated by Google]

“This community has something of a psychosis for me.

I’m sorry to have to say that, but I also do not want to conceal it.

Strong manipulation through something like, “we all think that you …” and “we want to mirror that …” then it is discussed, “until all have the same perspective,” all night through, but distressing ” with little sleep you also have less internal resistance “. You are encouraged not to eat alone, you must not sit separately in the dining room, because “when you separate, the shadows grow”. The idea is to be constant with other people, because a person is only capable of transforming his dark side in the community. Inner hierarchy mixed with polyamory – “I’ll make you a child right away if you’ve transformed those issues.”

Uiuiuiuiui … take good care of you :)”[10]


[Translated by Google]

“At Go & Change, the inner process and shadow work is the core of the community. There is an official 7-level hierarchy in which all residents are classified, in the top group are the two founders Felix and Kai. A common means is “mirroring”, whereby your behavior and behavioral patterns are mirrored to you, but only mirrored by higher-ranking members to lower members, who seem to accept his judgments unreservedly. There is a daily structure with activities and work to which all residents are obliged, except for the higher-ranking groups.

I saw a man who was threatened with disciplinary action (sitting in a room for 1 hour) for being late for an activity. In addition, a person was praised for staying awake for 54 hours, as this is considered to be loving towards the community. His wife has been criticized for not valuing him enough.

Some of what I have heard, e.g. the separation of parents and children, strengthen the image that relationships of dependency are created here and that people are disempowered.

I wish to be able to question all people who live in the community or who are in close contact, whether what this group gives them is worth what it takes away from them, their self-determination and self-esteem.

I advise everyone who is interested in it to be careful and always to trust their own perception the most.”[11]


[Translated by Google]

“I think this place is very destructive. Distinctive hierarchies, great egos, undermining of self-determination and individuality, devaluation of feelings and the voice of the heart, psychological manipulation and all under the guise of “love”.”[12]


[Translated by Google]

“This place has exceeded my limits.”[13]

Holy shit!

That’s some pretty bad reviews. And I mean, it’s not like they’re getting one star reviews for serving mediocre food and hosting boring workshops. These accusations are pretty damn serious. Go&Change is a place where people get hurt.

And not only that, from the article in the Main-Post you probably couldn’t have missed the part mentioning the two dead children. Children. Dead.

I did get in contact with people who’ve been close to G&C to have this confirmed. It did in fact happen, and G&C has never denied that two children, in two different incidents, got killed at their premises. Accidents, of course.

Of course you can have bad luck. But twice? Within the same year? In a country with one of the lowest child mortality rates in the world? Hmm. I don’t suspect they wanted these children dead. But, it appears to me that G&C is not a safe place for kids to be, and that the reason it isn’t safe is because the adults are caught up in all kinds of sick cult stuff instead of taking care of their children.

Suddenly this whole story went from eerie to rightout frightening.

What to Do?

So here I am, little old me, going on a panel discussion with this psycho cult leader equipped with enough dark jedi mind tricks to control a community of 40 people. And I just managed to piss him off. And call him super creepy while he was listening.

There was no way in hell I was participating in that event. I just felt like leaving the damn place right away, but that I couldn’t do either. At least not without explaining why. I had to write a public statement and at the same time warn people. But before doing that, I naively thought I could somehow get G&C out of ZEGG by confronting the summer camp organizers with what I had found out about G&C and give them an ultimatum: Either stop the cooperation with G&C and politely ask them to leave, or, I would write a public statement and publish an article warning people about ZEGG being involved with a dangerous cult.

Following the dinner table incident, I talked to many of the ZEGG inhabitants about what was going on. I found out that the majority were critical of G&C and that only a small group were in favor of G&C. Unfortunately, that small minority consisted of many of the most prominent members of the community, people with a lot of influence, and they were very devoted to the project. Of the summer camp organizers, all but a few were deeply into G&C. Later it became clear to me that the whole summer camp had been one big promotion of G&C. The organizers hadn’t asked the other members of ZEGG for permission since they knew G&C was rather unpopular in the community. In fact, that Felix Krolle would participate was only announced a few days before the beginning of the summer camp.

Few people thus knew that the summer camp essentially was a G&C event. Little by little, however, it became clearer and clearer what was going on. More and more G&C stuff was smuggled in here and there, and for every day the talks contained more and more praise of G&C and Felix Krolle. One woman went a bit overboard, kind of blew the cover, by praising G&C to the skies and started oversharing about how much she just loved giving away all her money and decision power to G&C (you can see the talk here: The panel discussion featuring Felix Krolle was of course supposed to be the pinnacle of the show. I guess my primary role was to lend him legitimacy by my mere presence and hopefully by being just as excited about G&C had they managed to convince me about their amazingness.

Before publishing my statement I had two meetings with some of the leading ZEGG summer camp organizers. At the first meeting I sensed a little window of hope. It was as if I could see glimmers of doubt in their eyes as I presented my findings and warned them about what they had gotten themselves into. They agreed to think about it and meet me the day after. But the openness I had felt on the first meeting was nowhere to be found the following day. Rather undramatically we quickly realised that we were miles apart and no change of course from either party were to be agreed upon. As such, I was written out of the program and I published my statement the following morning.[14]

Out of consideration to the remaining ZEGG inhabitants I gave the community two months to officially distance themselves from G&C before I would write an article about my experiences. It’s been two months now, and even though they recently agreed to not cooperate with G&C on next year’s summer camp, there hasn’t been any public announcement regarding G&C. ZEGG is still an official partner of G&C, as you can see on G&C’s website here:

A friend of mine told me she met Felix Krolle at the ZEGG a couple of weeks ago. As such, I must conclude that ZEGG remains infiltrated by G&C and thus isn’t a completely safe place for people to visit. So, as promised, an article about the whole mess by yours truly. I had hoped it would have been different, but alas, here we are.

The thing that pisses me off the most about the whole thing is not so much the unpleasant encounters at the summer camp. It’s more the dishonesty I have a problem with. First of all I was never informed about the participation of G&C, the controversial nature of the organisation or that the intention with the summer camp was to promote this organization. But worse is that the talk I was supposed to have given, a talk about cognitive complexity stages, the very thing that G&C misuses in a severely perverted way to legitimise the social hierarchies in their community, was part of an overall plan to promote and legitimise G&C—without me knowing anything about it. Fortunately, my gut feeling told me that talking about the Model of Hierarchical Complexity was a bad idea. Instead I talked about the vision of the listening society. I wasn’t getting paid anyway, and I’m pretty sure people enjoyed that topic more. The talk went well by the way, and I sold all the books I had brought with me. Yay.

Apart from Felix, two of the camp organisers and me, a fifth person was to participate in the panel discussion, an integral guy named Rolf Lütterbeck. Not knowing who he was, naively assuming he was just as ignorant as I had been, I sent him an email warning him about who he were to be on a panel discussion with. The only proper thing to do, I thought, would be to give the guy a chance to make up his mind about what he was getting himself into before I published my statement. Once again, however, I didn’t do my fucking homework to properly research people. Shortly after, someone told me he was Felix’s old mentor, now a big supporter of G&C.

So, the so-called panel discussion was nothing but Felix Krolle’s fan club. And then me. Would have been nice to have known beforehand.

Kicked Out of the ZEGG

Oh, and before I forget. I still haven’t talked about what I in the introduction referred to as one of the most insane experiences of my life. The way I left the ZEGG wasn’t entirely peaceful. In fact, my fiancée and I were kicked out, and it almost got physical.

The camp organizers, with whom I had had the above mentioned meetings, did ask me to leave the day after. I said I would. But I woke up quite late the following day with a headache, so I changed my mind and postponed our departure to the morning after. I didn’t interpret their request as an ultimatum, and since I felt rather welcome at the ZEGG, not least due to all the people asking me to stay, I didn’t think much of it. After all, the camp organizers were only in charge of the camp, not the whole village. In addition, I didn’t feel like participating in any of the events anyway and just wanted to chill in my room and the village pub.

Despite wanting to rest, I did end up spending a significant proportion of the day talking to people. Many of the ZEGG folks were appalled about the summer camp having been hijacked and were happy about me taking a stand against G&C. Many of them didn’t know what was going on and were keen on hearing what I had found out. I did see it as my duty to inform people, but I can also see that it can be interpreted as a provocation. On the other hand, were I to deny people the information that I myself found so important? I didn’t seek people actively, they came to me.

Before going to bed my fiancée and I wanted to go to the pub for a goodnight beer. On the way we were stopped, again, by people wanting to talk and praising what we were doing. We chatted for a while, and just before saying goodbye, two of the camp organisers stormed towards us. Things quickly turned rather unpleasant and we were asked, quite assertively, to leave the village immediately. Initially I refused, but after an extremely aggressive verbal exchange I decided that it wasn’t worth staying. Going on an hour-long train ride with a migraine was preferable to staying in this madhouse.

I’ve never experienced anything like it, the gaze in this one woman’s eyes was just murderous, as if her eyes turned completely black. She yelled at one of the other ZEGG women with whom we had been talking to not stand there with her “dog’s eyes”, whatever that meant, and told her she had no say in the matter since she wasn’t even a full member of the ZEGG. As we decided to leave and go pack our bags, she stepped in front of me and blocked the path yelling at us that we should hand over the keys and that she would get our stuff for us and put it outfront. When we refused and told her that we didn’t want her to go through our private belongings, including sensitive objects such as computers and notebooks, she wanted to fucking grab me and force me into submission.

The insanity of the situation was not so much the quarrel itself, but the way in which this middle aged woman, enraged by hate, as if possessed by some malicious spirit, was ready to engage a younger, stronger male in hand-to-hand combat. It may sound rather trivial when I write about it. But it was the way in which this nice hippie lady’s face suddenly just deformed into pure rage and hate, with eyes ready to kill you with a gaze, which made the experience just so darn insane. It was like one of those films about cults where the nice smiling hippies suddenly turn into brainwashed murdermachines when the outsider finally reveals what’s actually going on.

It was only when I raised my voice, the only time I did so, and asked her if she was going to use force against me, that she snapped out of it and finally pulled back. We walked back to our room, but the woman followed us, trying to get as physically close to my fiancée as possible. It was only because the two women we had been talking to, bless their souls, took her under their arms and shielded her from the mad woman with their bodies that she made it to our room. We repeatedly asked the woman to leave, reassuring her that we were going home, but she refused and even wanted to get into our room, yelling that she was not going to wait outside “like a dog”. I guess she was all about dogs that day.

The two women helped us inside without the mad woman entering. After spending a few minutes recovering from what had just happened, we packed our bags and left the village. As announced, the woman did not wait outside.

Rape and Dead Children

After the summer camp I was contacted by several people who had read my statement or otherwise heard about what had happened. I spent the following weeks listening to their testimonies, which all-in-all confirmed my impression that G&C is a very dangerous cult.

Of the many people I spoke to, there were two in particular who left a lasting impression on me. The first is a therapist who’s currently treating several G&C victims. Unfortunately, she can’t go public with these testimonies due to client confidentiality. What I was told, however, did fit the overall pattern of brainwashing, sexual abuse and violence that I had heard and read elsewhere. The second person is Sebastian Stark, who was also mentioned in the Main-Post article:

“Sebastian Stark, former companion of Felix Krolle […] has been active in the so-called ‘integral movement’ for years, a scene that also includes ‘Go & Change’. He also knows K.K. and Krolle for a long time, had been to Lülsfeld several times. In an interview with the editors, he confirmed the descriptions of the dropouts: sex as ‘treatment’, substance abuse and a psychological and financial dependency of the community members. He speaks of ‘permanent totalitarian psychotherapy-like work’ in the monastery. Stark’s assessment: ’People are destroyed, brought into line and traumatized.’”[15]

Ten years ago Sebastian Stark started this network of young integral people known as IMOVE. It was here he met Felix. Initially, he told me, Felix was just this nerdy kid looking for friends. For years the two were close friends, building up this transformative movement within the integral scene in Germany. This changed, however, when Felix met a guy named Kai Krischik and the two broke off from the main branch of the movement and started Go&Change. Here, Felix and Kai began doing all the things Sebastian had been opposed to, such as psychedelics, group sex and shadow work without consent. Gradually, the whole thing developed more and more cult-like features such as a strict social hierarchy, a guru with a special status (that job became Kai’s) and various mind control measures.

The story Sebastian told me about Kai, which he in turn had heard from other G&C members, was out of this world. I don’t want to go into too much detail here, but the short story is that Kai grew up in a children’s home. Later he was injected with something when he was in the army, which resulted in him being bedridden for five years where he got really really fat. For those five years he studied all kinds of manipulation techniques, body language reading, neuro-linguistic programming, pick-up artistry and shamanism. Eventually he cultivated this guru personality and started G&C with Felix. I don’t know about you, but this guy sounds like the perfect comic book villain. Oh, and apparently he likes to ram giant dildos up people’s cavities. He claims to be some kind of healer, if the colorful stories I hear are true. Apparently he heals people with those dildos. One woman allegedly got severe injuries to her genitals. Go&Change hasn’t denied the story, but merely asserted that it’s a private matter.

I was also told they put great care into separating couples when they arrive at G&C. Initially, new females will be love-bombed and led to believe they have some kind of special “princess” status by all the positive attention they get, especially from the highest ranking male in the group, the guru. A few weeks after arriving, they are usually told they have severe shadow issues and are in need of sexual healing from, you guessed it, Kai the guru. This is standard cult stuff. But the originality of G&C is that the male is pressured into having sex with the other men in the community. The intention is of course to weaken the couple’s relationship so that they become easier to control, and few heterosexual relationships obviously benefit from the woman being fucked by the guru, thinking she’s the new princess, while the man gets fucked in the ass by a bunch of guys whether he’s into it or not.

It’s all typical cult stuff. They all have different explanations to why: facing your shadow, transcending your ego, challenging your heteronormative conditioning etc. But at the end of the day, it always comes down to the guru fucking your wife. And at G&C, as a guy you’ll end up being fucked as well—figuratively as well as literally.

Apart from sex, G&C also uses methods such a sleep deprivation and drugs to manipulate and control their members. Depriving people from sleep, pressuring them to use various substances such as LSD or MDMA, and then having sex with them in ways they otherwise wouldn’t, that really opens you up to be manipulated on a whole other level—and have your soul crushed if one desires. I mean, from what I hear, the stuff they’re doing at G&C sounds like some serious CIA shit.

If chem sex is your thing, no judgment from my side, but if you’re at a place to seek spiritual development, and you’re peer pressured into talking psychedelics, and the guru and everyone else fucks you while you’re tripping balls, it’s pretty difficult to talk about consent. And sex without consent, well, in plain English, that’s rape.

The worst thing, however, was when we started talking about the children. I asked if it was right that two children had died. Sebastian confirmed. I then went on to ask how many children were living there. He said around ten the last time he was there. He added that the children were to be separated from the adults, something I’ve heard from others, too, and that they lived in a separate room and weren’t allowed to roam freely around and mingle with the adults. The reason for this was to enable the children to grow up “egoless” and to prevent the egos of the children to manipulate the parents, or some crazy shit like that. In reality, of course, the reason is that it’s much easier to control someone if the emotional bonds with their children have become as weak as possible.

If children being separated from their parents wasn’t bad enough, the story I heard about one of the couples who lost a child is absolutely insane. In order to prevent the parents from having a moment of clarity at the funeral and realise what they had gotten themselves into, they were pressured to take LSD and participate in a group sex orgy, while at the same time being deprived of sleep, on the night before their child’s funeral. That’s some fucked up shit.[16]

And that’s how you break people.

The ZEGG Needs to Be Vaccinated against Cults

So, here’s what’s gonna happen: Either all cooperation between ZEGG and G&C comes to an end and all G&C members are banned from entering the ZEGG, or ZEGG becomes a G&C stronghold.

Although it’s currently just a small minority of the ZEGG who’s into G&C, that this minority is composed of prominent members of the community, all lit by a zealous fire to promote G&C, will make it very hard for the remaining members to resist them in the long run. As is often the case with cults, they believe they’ve found the ultimate truth and that they’re going to save the world. As such, they can’t really be bothered by a few broken eggs in the process. They also tend to have this righteous us-against-them thing going on. If you resist them, it just confirms their chosenness and that they are fighting for a just cause. They get high from the struggle. Normal people just get tired of that shit. In the end, more and more people will be exhausted by the constant conflict and move out of the ZEGG, leaving the place in the hands of G&C.

As such, if G&C is allowed to continue their activities, scheming and planning and manipulating people at every opportunity they get, eventually, they will prevail. So to all you cultists out there, congratulations, victory is nigh.

The thing is, these kinds of people eat happy hippies for breakfast. They use the hippies’ values of openness and trust against them: “please trust me”, “it’s for your own good”, “why don’t you listen to me”, “don’t be so dismissive”, “open your mind” and so on. By wanting to be nice, good-hearted and open to new things, the hippies have little defence against a group of skilled manipulators. If one group plays dirty and brutal, while the other insists on playing nice, or even denies to play at all, the odds are disproportionately stacked in favor of the former. They’ll never know what hit them.

Coming from the integral scene, G&C also knows how to play these folks. First of all, integralists tend to over-intellectualize everything so that obvious plain truths are lost in the noise of words, all the best words. I’ve also noticed that there seems to be a bit of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” in many smart people’s responses to G&C: no one wants to be the one who’s not developed enough, too unenlightened or just too stupid to grasp the higher meaning of these super duper developed G&C folks. But most importantly, integral virtues such as multiperspectivalism, both-and interpretations and the ideal of not being a postmodern justice warrior who declares things to be evil, are all easily used to neuter and disarm the integralist.

And speaking of nice multiperspectivalist integralists, I also talked to a guy named Alexander Capistran, a very sympathetic fellow who had participated in a number of G&C events in the past, but eventually concluded that the whole thing was rather pathological. You can read his testimonial here:

Being a good integralist, he starts his essay on G&C with all the good things about them he can come up with. But obviously, all cults offer something of value; things that incite positive emotions and make people come back for more. For christsake, even the Nazis had a lot of things going for them in terms of arousing positive emotions and offering exciting experiences. But seriously, when the negatives are so severe as in the case of G&C, or the Nazis for that matter, it appears rather out of place to insist that we shouldn’t omit all the positive things. I mean, it’s like having been to a party where everyone got violently raped, but you still want to emphasize that the food was delicious and the DJ played some sassy tunes. Or to stress that at least Hitler gave us the Autobahn when talking about the Holocaust.

So, since I’m not a good integralist and don’t care much about multiperspectivalism in regards to G&C, I’ve decided to just skip all the fun stuff that made Alexander stay around to begin with, and instead present a few snippets from the text with the things that made him leave:

[Translated with (free version)]

“Inability to criticize: Either the person is challenged and intimidated in front of the whole group or (as happened twice in my case), the person is summoned to a back room where the management of the monastery confronts the person and sets ultimatums: Either you trust and stop criticizing or you have to leave within X hours.”[17]


[Translated with (free version)]

“Manipulation of Freedom of the Press and the Public: If one follows internal discussion dynamics or now correspondences with the public at Go&Change, one is left with the impression that only the person who is most highly developed should speak. Those arguing from a (perceived) lower perspective should remain silent.”[18]


[Translated with (free version)]

“Gaslighting: Imbalance of projections and introjections This phenomenon, when projections of others become one’s own reality, is called ‘gaslighting.’ This is, in my opinion, a basic operating principle of manipulation in Go&Change.”[19]


[Translated with (free version)]

“Undermining of Human Freedom: The basic message often coined at Go&Change: ‘Go into your power, go into your self-responsibility’ is great. What happens too often, however, is that the leadership has unquestioned interpretive authority and, above all, which is the main problem, often acts as a guide to action: why don’t you do this and that, you should do this and that in order to develop yourself. The perfidious thing is: often these are even good observations and tips, only they subvert what they should actually stand for: Self-responsibility and free will in the spirit of love. What would Kai probably do or say now? What would happen if he walked in the door now? I heard this very often and it lay like a wafting shadow over the overall atmosphere. You can still see this in the reaction of some of the former, ‘cast-offs’: loyalty is maintained even after events and discord that are sometimes degrading for those affected. The former dependence on the group or the external leadership by an authority is still effective, only mute. Stockholm syndrome in subtle.”[20]


[Translated with (free version)]

“Unassailability through intangibility: Lastly, I would like to mention subtle factors that are difficult to grasp but have great relevance. This is about atmospheric violence and harshness. Many processes were conducted with aggression that was legitimized as resolutely pointing out boundaries and soberly mirroring them. This is not an apologia of pseudo-friendliness or “professional detachment,” but simply an observation that harshness and aggression, anger, form an integral part of the force of the project’s psychological work.”[21]


[Translated with (free version)]

“Attempting to integrate the shadows at these levels, in my observation, resulted more in a manipulative activation of these levels, with the effect of keeping people down and driving an unending drive for development.”[22]


[Translated with (free version)]

“On the whole, however, people don’t shine; they seem jaded, flighty and servile.”[23]

Alexander ends his essay by concluding that it would be for the better if G&C was dissolved, at least in its present form. I can’t say I disagree.

The way I see it, the so-called we-space, which G&C on several occasions hosted during the summer camp, functions as a kind of Trojan horse. Initially, the purpose is not to immediately start manipulating and gaslighting everyone around, but rather to normalize the use of we-spaces and of G&C leading them. Gradually, as people gain trust in the methods and the people conducting them, the we-spaces will begin to contain more and more of the usual bullying and gaslighting cults tend to use them for. And the more intimate details people already have shared in these spaces, the more stuff the facilitators have to use against them. Things will quickly turn quite icky from there.

The thing is, people, especially in places like the ZEGG, need to learn about cults, gaslighting and other manipulation techniques. Conscious communities, or whatever we’re gonna call them, communities where people seek higher spiritual development and closer togetherness than what mainstream society can offer, are exceptionally vulnerable to spiritual hijacking, limbic hacking and unconscious manipulations, all huddling around the cozy fire of the gaslight.

Spiritual people need to get vaccinated against these kinds of things. And as long as they don’t take the jab, we’ll see stories like these again and again.

I don’t think it’s a good idea for me to go back to Bad Belzig any time soon, and honestly I’m starting to get pretty fed up with the place, but if someone would go out there and offer a workshop or two about these matters I think it would benefit a lot of people.

Until then, my advice to you is to stay as far away as possible.



[1] In German, “Zentrum für experimentelle Gesellschaftsgestaltung”, in English “Center for Experimental and Cultural Design”.

[2] Hello Felix, I know you’re reading this 🙂

[3] Proper practical usage of adult development theory must emphasise natural hierarchies — not introduce another arbitrary dominator hierarchy into the social matrix. It’s adult development psychology 101.

[4] After having witnessed one of the G&C led we-spaces at the summer camp, I called my dear friend and colleague Daniel Görtz who’s a doctor in sociology with a keen interest in cults. I told him about my concerns and started talking about the so-called “we-space”, but before I got a chance to describe what I had experienced, he interrupted me and insisted on guessing how it worked. Without knowing anything about what I had seen, he could in detail describe what had happened and told me that most cults have such methods. It’s standard procedure in the cult business, so to speak.

[5] Not only was he very insistent on getting more meetings with me, every time he saw me at dinner he tried to sit as close to me as possible. Creepy.

[6] In German, “Aussaugen”.

[7] Felix is probably not aware that Michael Commons, the creator of the Model of Hierarchical Complexity, recently added an even higher stage than cross-paradigmatic: Meta cross-paradigmatic. My sneaking suspicion tells me that had Felix known, he would probably have claimed to be that.

[8] I recently watched the panel discussion. It’s interesting to see how they addressed my observation that they didn’t seem to show love and that they all have dead eyes. Apparently, highly evolved people do not show love the way us normal people do. In fact, we probably can’t feel how warm and loving they are because we’re just too unevolved to notice it. I’m so glad we cleared that up. You can watch the panel discussion here:

[9] Achtung!!! Ich verstehe die Sehnsucht nach liebevoller Gemeinschaft, doch macht nicht den Fehler sich dieser Glaubensgemeinschaft anzuschließen. Bei Go & Change handelt es sich definitiv um eine Sektenartige Gruppierung. Hier wird systematisch der Kontakt zur Außenwelt gekappt. Man soll sich von Freunden/Familie die kritisch sind distanzieren, es gibt deutliche Hierarchien und angebliche Energiearbeit/Psychotherapie welche im Endeffekt Brainwashing ist. teilweise werden hier Familien aufgelöst, Kinder von ihren Eltern getrennt und was weiß ich noch alles, und das Alles geschieht nach dem Gusto der “Anführer” namens Felix und Kai welche sich selber jegliche Freiheit nehmen können während die “Bewohner” strengen Tages und Arbeitsrhytmen unterliegen. Ich habe leider einen Freund an diese “Gemeinschaft” verloren. Einige weitere Freunde haben zum Glück rechtzeitig den Absprung geschafft. Ich habe mittlerweile auch von einigen anderen Aussteigern Berichte gehört die eindeutig auf Sekte und Brainwashing hinweisen. Natürlich gibt es dort Praktiken die funktionieren und einem zunächst suggerieren das es richtig ist was dort vermittelt wird oder man über sich selbst lernt, auch ist mit sicherheit nicht alles schlecht was dort passiert. Auf Dauer soll und wird aber eine Abhängigkeit und ein Machtgefälle erzeugt welches in einer Art Ohnmacht endet. So richtig bewusst wird es vielen Aussteigern erst nachdem sie davon weg sind. Ich rate zu äußerster Vorsicht und wünsche allen Menschen hier das Beste. —fex cnrd

[10] Diese Gemeinschaft hat für mich etwas von einer Psychosekte.

Tut mir Leid das sagen zu müssen, aber ich mags auch nicht verschweigen.

Starke Manipulation durch sowas wie : “wir denken alle, dass du…” und “wir möchten dir spiegeln, dass…” dann wird diskutiert, “bis alle dieselbe Perspektive haben”, zur Not die ganze Nacht durch, aber “durch wenig Schlaf hat man auch weniger innere Widerstände”. Du wirst angehalten nicht alleine zu essen, darfst dich auch nicht im Speiseraum gesondert setzen, denn “wenn man sich absondert, wachsen die Schatten”. Idee ist, konstant mit anderen Menschen zu sein, weil ein Mensch nur in der Gemeinschaft fähig sei, seine Schattenseiten zu transformieren. Innere Hirarchie gemischt mit Polyamorie – ” ich mach dir sofort ein Kind, wenn du diese Themen transformiert hast.”

Uiuiuiuiui… passt gut auf euch auf : ) —silvia mittelstaedt

[11] Bei Go&Change ist die innere Prozess- und Schattenarbeit Kern der Gemeinschaft. Es gibt eine offizielle 7 stufige Hierarchie in die alle Bewohner eingestuft werden, in der obersten Gruppe sind die Beiden Gründer Felix und Kai. Ein gängiges Mittel ist das “Spiegeln”, wobei dir dein Verhalten und Verhaltensmuster gespiegelt werden, jedoch wird ausschließlich von Ranghöheren an niedrigere Mitglieder gespiegelt, welche dessen Urteile scheinbar uneingeschränkt annehmen. Es gibt eine  Tagesstruktur mit Aktivitäten und Arbeiten zu denen alle Bewohner verpflichtet sind, außer die Ranghöheren Gruppen.

Ich erlebte einen Mann dem wegen zuspätkommen zu einer Aktivität mit einer Disziplinarmaßnahme (1Std. in einem Raum sitzen) gedroht wurde. Außerdem wurde ein Mensch dafür gelobt, dass er 54 Std. wach war, da dies als liebevoll der Gemeinschaft gegenüber gewertet wird. Seine Frau wurde kritisiert ihn nicht genug dafür Wertzuschätzen.

Auch einiges was ich gehört habe, z.B. die Trennung von Eltern und Kindern, stärken das Bild das hier Abhängigkeitsverhältnisse geschaffen werden und Menschen entmächtigt.

Allen Menschen die in der Gemeinschaft wohnen oder sich in Annäherung befinden wünsche ich hinterfragen zu können, ob dass was diese Gruppierung ihnen gibt es Wert es was sie ihnen nimmt, Ihre Selbstbestimmung und Selbstachtung.

Allen die sich dafür Interessieren rate ich zu Vorsicht und immer der eigenen Wahrnehmung am meisten zu trauen. —Markus XX

[12] Ich halte diesen Ort für sehr destruktiv. Ausgeprägte Hierarchien, große Egos, Untergrabung von Selbstbestimmtheit und Individualität, Abwertung von Gefühlen und der Stimme des Herzens, psychologische Manipulation und das alles unter dem Deckmantel der “Liebe”. —Sarah D

[13] Dieser Ort hat meine Grenzen überschritten. —Noar Blume

[14] You can read my statement here:


[16] You are free to accuse me of not being on a high enough level of cognitive development to understand the higher meaning of all this stuff. That’s on the house. My recommendation still stands: Stay the fuck away.

[17] “Kritikunfähigkeit: Entweder die Person wird vor der ganzen Gruppe gechallengt und eingeschüchtert oder (wie in meinem Fall zwei Mal vorgekommen), die Person wird in ein Hinterzimmer bestellt, wo die Leitung des Klosters denjenigen zur Rede stellt und Ultimaten setzt: Entweder du vertraust und hörst auf zu kritisieren, oder du musst binnen X Stunden gehen.”

[18] “Manipulation der Pressefreiheit und Öffentlichkeit: Verfolgt man interne Gesprächsdynamiken oder jetzt Korrespondenzen mit der Öffentlichkeit bei Go&Change, drängt sich der Eindruck auf, nur die Person soll sprechen, die am höchsten entwickelt ist. Wer aus einer (vermeintlich) niederen Perspektive argumentiert, sollte schweigen.”

[19] “Gaslighting: Imbalance von Projektionen und Introjektionen: Dieses Phänomen, wenn Projektionen anderer zur eigenen Wirklichkeit werden, nennt sich „Gaslighting“. Das ist meines Erachtens ein Grundwirkungsprinzip der Manipulation bei Go&Change.”

[20] “Unterminierung der menschlichen Freiheit: Die bei Go&Change oft kolportierte Grundbotschaft: „Geh in deine Kraft, geh in deine Selbstverantwortung“ ist großartig. Was aber zuhauf passiert, ist, dass die Leitung über die unhinterfragte Deutungshoheit verfügt und vor allem, was das Hauptproblem ist, oft handlungsleitend wirkt: Mach doch mal dies und jenes, du solltest das und das machen, um dich zu entwickeln. Das Perfide ist: oft sind dies sogar gute Beobachtungen und Tips, nur subvertierten sie das, wofür sie eigentlich stehen sollten: Selbstverantwortung und freier Wille im Geiste der Liebe. Was würde Kai jetzt wohl machen oder sagen? Was wäre, wenn er jetzt zur Tür hineinkommen würde? Das habe ich sehr oft gehört und es lag wie ein wabernder Schatten über der Gesamtatmosphäre. Das merkt man auch noch an der Reaktion einiger Ehemaliger, „Verstoßener“: Die Loyalität erhält sich auch nach für die Betroffenen teilweise entwürdigenden Vorgängen und Zerwürfnissen. Die ehemalige Abhängigkeit von der Gruppe bzw. der Fremdführung durch eine Autorität ist immer noch wirksam, nur stumm. Stockholm-Syndrom im subtilen Bereich.”

[21] “Unangreifbarkeit durch Ungreifbarkeit: Zuletzt möchte ich noch subtile Faktoren benennen, die schwer greifbar sind, aber eine große Relevanz haben. Hier geht es um atmosphärische Gewalt und Härte. Viele Prozesse wurden mit Aggression geführt, die als entschiedenes Grenzen-Aufzeigen und nüchternes Spiegeln legitimiert wurde. Das ist keine Apologie von Pseudo-Freundlichkeit oder „professioneller Distanz“, sondern einfach die Beobachtung, dass Härte und Aggression, Wut, einen integralen Teil der Wucht der psychologischen Arbeit des Projekts bilden.”

[22] “Der Versuch, die Schatten auf diesen Ebenen zu integrieren, resultierte meiner Beobachtung nach eher in einer manipulativen Aktivierung dieser Ebenen, mit dem Effekt, die Leute kleinzuhalten und einen unendlichen Entwicklungsdrang anzutreiben.”

[23] “Im Großen und Ganzen aber strahlen die Menschen nicht, sondern wirken abgespannt, flatterhaft und servil.”

Advanced Course on Metamodernism Starting January 5th

We’re pleased to announce that Emil Ejner Friis’ first course on metamodernism is almost sold out. The next course is already up on the Dandelion platform. The follow-up course, beginning 5th of January 2022, is an intense deep-dive reserved for just 12 participants interested in a more intimate experience with Emil as your teacher. Here’s what Emil has to offer:

This course is limited to 12 participants ready for a deep-dive into metamodernism, the latest emerging grand narrative of our time. It’s designed for those who’re already somewhat familiar with metamodernism, including the work of Hanzi Freinacht. References will be made to Hanzi’s books, so it’s good to already have them available. This is no requirement, however.

Everyone will have two private 45-minute sessions with Emil, one before the first group session so as to figure out where you are and what you’re interested in, and one after the last group session to wrap up. Additionally, there will be abundant opportunities to ask Emil questions during the sessions. Although the specifics of this course will be tailored to the individual participants and where the discussions take us during the six-week process, it’s guaranteed to go into depth with the following topics:

Hanzi Freinacht’s The Listening Society & Nordic Ideology

  • Too long didn’t read? No problem, Emil got you covered.
  • What people usually get wrong after having read Hanzi’s books.
  • Why Nordic Ideology is a far more important and original book than The Listening Society.

What the Metamodern Stage of Consciousness Entails

  • Who’s metamodern and who isn’t?
  • What the metamodern mind can do that the postmodern cannot.
  • What are metamodern values?
  • The common error of not integrating postmodernism and the problems with regressive metamodernism.

What the Metamodern Stage of Cultural and Societal Development Entails

  • Game Change, how to avoid the traps of Game Acceptance and Game Denial.
  • How to predict the future(s): Attractors Points and how they determine the winners and losers of history.
  • Who will rule the future: The metamodern aristocracy and the role of hackers, hipsters and hippies (and hermetics, the “fourth H”, not mentioned in any of Hanzi’s books).
  • The emerging emotional regime of our times, The Sklavenmoral-regime, and how it will try to hold us back.
  • The increasing intimacy of control: Why we must embrace “creepy politics” to save the world (and how to avoid it actually getting creepy).

Hanzi Freinacht’s Upcoming Book 6 Hidden Patterns of History

  • What is a metameme? And how it differs from effective value-meme.
  • The difference between “hard” and “soft” metamemes. What Faustianism and Modernism have in common, and what Postfaustianism and Postmodernism have in common.
  • Art is always first! How art is always the first place to look in order to spot a new emerging metameme.
  • Why ethics is always last.
  • Development is tilted! The reason why most people can’t see historical development clearly.

Hanzi Freinacht’s Upcoming Book Outcompeting Capitalism

  • Why you cannot abolish capitalism (and why it’s stupid to try).
  • What capitalism really is (most people do not properly understand what capitalism is).
  • The forces that eventually (unless humanity kills itself beforehand) will outcompete and submit capitalism to a new logic.
  • The new emerging class society.
  • Why metamodernism must be postcapitalist.

Where is it all heading? What is the future of humanity?

  • At the end of this course we will wrap up what we have learned and discuss the current trajectory of the world.
  • Your hypothesis for future trajectories will be discussed and analyzed, if you wish.

This is a unique chance to get access to unpublished material and theory that will only be made widely accessible to the public once the next Hanzi books are released.

Emil will adapt the course and its contents to the individual participants. In order to figure out what the individual participants are interested in learning and what they already know, the course will begin with a personal one-on-one conversation with each participant of the duration of 45 minutes. Similarly, every participant will be offered a private 45 minute one-on-one with Emil at the end of the course to wrap up and answer questions.

The course thus contains:

  • 6 x 2½ hour long online session in a group of twelve participants
  • 2 x 45 minutes private session with Emil
  • Access to unpublished theory not found anywhere else (please don’t redistribute)

The main sessions will be held in English, personal conversations will be available in English, German, Danish or Swedish.

About your Facilitator


Emil Ejner Friis (b. 1981) is a theory artist and a teacher of metamodernism, he is a co-founder of Metamoderna and one of the writers behind Hanzi Freinacht. He has spent the last ten years trying to figure out how to create a listening society, a kinder and more developed society that deeply cares for the happiness and emotional needs of every citizen.

He has tried and failed at creating a metamodern political party, he has tried and failed at creating a metamodern IT-company, and he has just plainly failed at ever finishing his not so metamodern university studies by being drawn to all kinds of adventures to try and save the world instead.

When he’s not writing and theorizing from his safehouse in Berlin, he’s conspiring with other metamodernly inclined hackers, hipsters and hippies to outcompete modern society. To pay the rent he sells words, all the best words.

Emil is a skilled and experienced speaker and has a reputation of being quite entertaining and good at making complex ideas easier to digest.

You can follow Emil on his facebook profile here.

Here’s a link to the tickets:

New Webinar on Metamodernism Available, Starting October 11

We’re happy to announce that Emil Ejner Friis, one of the co-founders of Metamoderna, has started doing online courses on Psychedelic Society’s Dandelion platform. Here’s what he has to offer:

This course is for anyone interested in getting a thorough introduction to metamodernism. Pre-existing knowledge not required.

Metamodernism, the paradigm following postmodernism, is the latest emerging grand narrative of our time. It describes a set of interrelated developments in philosophy, politics, ethics and aesthetics you ought to know about, especially if you want to see the future humanity potentially is headed towards. You may not be ready for it yet, but your kids are gonna love it.

You will finish the course understanding the relevance and importance of stage theory, how to distinguish metamodernism from postmodernism and integral theory, and how to apply this new way of thinking to your life.

The course will take place 7 pm – 9 pm (2h) UK time via Zoom, for four consecutive Mondays beginning October 11.

Here is an overview of what you will learn:

SESSION 1: What Metamodernism Is, and What It’s Not

  • A super brief introduction to modernism and postmodernism.
  • A brief history of the term “metamodernism”.
  • The three different “kinds” of metamodernism.
  • What’s the difference between metamodernism and integral?
  • Are you metamodern? A quick personality test.
  • What people usually get wrong about metamodernism.

SESSION 2: An Introduction to Stage Theories

  • Development, why it’s real and why it matters!
  • Why we should use stage theories, and why they aren’t evil.
  • A very brief introduction to: Piaget, Spiral Dynamics, Ken Wilber, Kegan, Michael Common’s Model of – Hierarchical complexity.
  • Hanzi Freinacht’s four dimensions of developments and how it adds up to the effective value meme.
  • The ways stage theories delude people and drive them crazy.
  • How stage theories in fact are being used for “evil”.
  • A better use of stage theories. How to not be a jerk around them.

SESSION 3: The Difference between Modernism, Postmodernism and Metamodernism

  • A brief history of modernism and postmodernism.
  • How to spot metamodernism, and where to look.
  • The tricky task of telling postmodernism and metamodernism apart.
  • What makes our current society postmodern?
  • What would a metamodern society look like?

SESSION 4: An Introduction to Hanzi Freinacht’s Philosophy

  • Who is Hanzi? And more importantly, why is Hanzi?
  • Didn’t read The Listening Society? Don’t have the time? No problem, Emil will tell you all you need to know for a dinner table conversation.
  • Same with Nordic Ideology? Emil’s got you covered.
  • The things most people misunderstand about Hanzi.
  • How to not be like most people.


Emil Ejner Friis (b. 1981) is a theory artist and a teacher of metamodernism, he is a co-founder of Metamoderna and one of the writers behind Hanzi Freinacht. He has spent the last ten years trying to figure out how to create a listening society, a kinder and more developed society that deeply cares for the happiness and emotional needs of every citizen.

He has tried and failed at creating a metamodern political party, he has tried and failed at creating a metamodern IT-company, and he has just plainly failed at ever finishing his not so metamodern university studies by being drawn to all kinds of adventures to try and save the world instead.

When he’s not writing and theorizing from his safehouse in Berlin, he’s conspiring with other metamodernly inclined hackers, hipsters and hippies to outcompete modern society. To pay the rent he sells words, all the best words.

Emil is a skilled and experienced speaker and has a reputation of being quite entertaining and good at making complex ideas easier to digest.

You can follow Emil on his facebook profile here.

Here’s a link to the tickets:

Wieso ich, Emil Ejner Friis, meine Zusage zum Podiumsgespräch am ZEGG Sommer-Camp 30. Juli 2021 zurückziehe.

Wegen des manipulativen Verhaltens eines führenden Mitglieds von Go&Change, welches ich am ZEGG Sommer Camp 2021 miterlebt haben, und weil diese Person für den Missbrauch steht der Menschen bei Go&Change wiederfährt, kann ich es nicht vertreten bei einer Podiums Diskussion mit dieser Person dabei zu sein.

Aufgrund meiner eigenen Erfahrungen mit dieser Person, der Natur von sogenannten Wir-Räumen (Erklärung folgt), Zeugen, die erster Hand Erfahrungen mit der Organisations bekannt als Go&Change haben, und der überwältigend negativen und einleuchtenden Geschichten, welche ich über Go&Change im Internet gefunden habe, schlussfolgere ich, dass es sich bei Go&Change um einen gefährliche Sekte handelt.

Deswegen möchte ich nicht mit Go&Change oder seinen Mitgliedern in Verbindung gebracht werden. Ebenso möchte ich nicht mit dem ZEGG in Verbindung gebracht werden, wenn es weiterhin mit Go&Change in Verbindung bleibt. Ich will nicht den Eindruck vermitteln, dass ich Go&Change als Organisation oder seine Mitglieder gutheiße, durch meine Anwesenheit legitimiere oder sie im Einklang mit meinen Ideen sehe. Von daher, habe ich mich gegen eine Teilnahme an oben genannter Veranstaltung entschieden.

Ich möchte alle Mitglieder und Gäste des ZEGGs und die Öffentlichkeit vor dem manipulativen und missbräuchlichem Potential der dort stattfindenden Wir-Räume warnen. Diese sind keine neue Erfindung, sondern übliche Techniken von vielen Sekten, wo es zur Täuschung, Verunsicherung und Manipulation von Mitgliedern benutzt wird. (Ich habe Dr. Daniel Görtz, einen Soziologen mit erhöhtem Interesse an Sekten, kontaktiert und er konnte mir, meinen Beobachtungen entsprechend, in Detail die Mechanismen solcher Räume beschreiben ohne Go&Change oder die Erfahrungen von Menschen in diesen Räumen zu kennen).

Ich bin traurig zu sehen, dass ein führendes Mitglied von Go&Change zu einer Podiumsdiskussion am ZEGG Sommercamp eingeladen wurde. Ich glaube, dass das ein Fehler ist und das Ergebnis von schlechtem Urteilsvermögen, welches die Glaubwürdigkeit des ZEGG Sommer Camp Leitungsteams untergräbt. Was aber zum Glück nicht den Positionen des gesamten ZEGGs oder der ganzen ZEGG Gemeinschaft entspricht.

Schließlich möchte ich die vielen Überlebenden von Go&Change würdigen. Es ist meine Hoffnung, dass ihre traumatischen Erfahrungen anerkannt werden und dass sie Gerechtigkeit erleben. Ich entschuldige mich dafür nicht angemessen recherchiert zu haben mit wem ich durch das Camp in Verbindung gebracht werde und dass ich dadurch eine missbrauchende Organisation indirekter Weise legitimiert habe.

Emil Ejner Friis
Bad Belzig, 29. Juli 2021

The reasons why I, Emil Ejner Friis, am withdrawing from the panel discussion at the ZEGG Summer Camp July 30 2021

Due to the manipulative behaviour of a leading member of Go&Change that I have witnessed at the ZEGG summer camp 2021, and due to the abusive conduct of the organisation he represents, I no longer feel I can justify participating in a panel discussion with this person.

Based on my own experiences with this leading member’s behaviour, the nature of the so-called “Wir-Raum” (explanation will follow later), witnesses who have had firsthand experiences with the organisation known as Go&Change and accounts they in turn have heard from other witnesses, and the overwhelmingly negative and appalling stories about the organisation I have found on the internet, I have come to the conclusion that Go&Change is a harmful cult.

I therefore do not want to be associated with Go&Change or any of its members, and I do not want to be associated with the ZEGG if it in turn remains closely associated with Go&Change or any of its members. I do not want to convey the impression that I approve of Go&Change as an organisation or in any way find that it is aligned with my work, and I do not want to legitimise the actions of Go&Change or any of its members with my presence. As such, I have chosen to refrain from participating in the above-mentioned public event.

I wish to warn all members and guests of the ZEGG, and the general public, about the manipulative and abusive potential of the so-called “Wir-Raum”. This is not a new invention, but rather a common technique found in many cults where it is used to gaslight and control its members. (I consulted Dr. Daniel Görtz, sociologist with a keen interest in cults, about the matter, and he could in detail describe the mechanisms of the “Wir-Raum” without knowing anything about neither Go&Change nor my own or others experiences with the “Wir-Raum”.)

I am saddened to see that a leading member of Go&Change has been chosen to participate in a panel discussion at the ZEGG Summer Camp. I believe this decision is an error and a result of poor judgement that severely compromises the credibility of the ZEGG Summer Camp Leitungsteam.

Finally I wish to honor the numerous survivors of Go&Change. It is my hope that their traumatic experiences will be recognised and that they one day will see justice for the wrongs that have been committed against them. I apologise for not having properly researched who I were to be associated with at the ZEGG Summer Camp and for indirectly legitimising an abusive organisation.

Emil Ejner Friis
Bad Belzig, 29th of July 2021

Obedience as Laughter: From the Great Dictator to the Great Spectator

My claim is that the next murderous regime will be less based around agi­tation, fear-mongering and fiery speeches. It will come, there is good reason to suspect, from the source we least expect: comedy. In the echoing laughter of the crowd, transmitted over long dis­tances of net­worked broadcasting, we will find the next genocide. Un­wanted popul­a­tions violently exterminated, and the crowd laughing, laughing.

The following is a slightly edited extract from Hanzi Freinacht’s book ‘Nordic Ideology: A Metamodern Guide to Politics, Book Two’. This is the second book in a series on metamodern thought, a work of popular philosophy that investigates the nature of psychological development and its political implications. 

In today’s media-saturated society, jesters are indeed becoming kings. This is an aspect inherent to the postmodern condition, where the global village is imprinted upon us through a deluge of images from near and far, from across time and space—always told with someone’s perspective, some­one’s story, someone’s spin. The jesters, the tricksters, are the ones most proficient at catching people’s attention, and then quickly shift­ing bet­ween frames of understanding, between contexts.

That’s how comedy works: some frame or circumstance is suddenly shifted in communica­tion, and—whack!—things get funny. The simplest example is a pun or play-on-words: “Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He’s all right now.” The linguistics shift the meaning for us, creating a double meaning that catapults us, in this case, from the reassu­ring to the gruesome. A frame is shifted.

Add a refined sense of pacing, timing, rhythm—and nobody can stop the laughter from breaking out as clear water from a foun­tainhead.

Postmodern culture, the culture of perspective and surface, is a lot about mastering such framings of situations. One person can be framed as a hero, a president, a crook, a buffoon. Those who can most skillfully craft frames and shift between them with sleights-of-hand, in and across many different media are also likely to become the most powerful.

The late-night shows, the television hosts, the comedians—their power is growing. Jesters are becoming kings. The youth are getting their news filtered through comedy and entertainment. The jesters grab the attention of everyone, shaping and directing it—making us laugh together.

A large crowd laughing, united under one will. Oh, that’s so funny. That’s so edgy. They’re so smart, so admirable. Comedy is so liberating.

And then there is a subtle slide… If we all laughed along, then that must mean we all at least somewhat agreed, that what was said was at least partly true. And whoever was laughed at must have been, at least in part, at fault. We slide into assuming that the power to make us laugh is also the power to tell us the truth—or to suspend another truth, another story, another felt experience.

When we laugh we don’t only break taboos, relieve tensions and forge bonds. The laughter of the crowd also disciplines people into silence, and obedience—if anyone gets mad and says it isn’t funny, they just appear to be poor sportsmen with sticks up their asses. It stratifies us: the joker on top and the butt of the joke at the bottom. It unifies us, yes, but into “us and them”, with a rather clear who’s who.

Can you see it? The laughter of the crowd is a source of massive hidd­en obedience and submission to one will. Can you think of any other mom­ents when you can get hundreds, thousands, millions of people to sus­pend normal morality and to fall in line around the same point? Is there any better way to effectively steer a crowd?

The fascists of a hundred years ago hijacked the tech­niques of travel­ing socialist agitators. These knew how to display a sincere criticism of socie­ty, of how to fire up a crowd, how to point out glaring injustices. The fasc­ists caught on. Yet in today’ world, where educated and comfortable pop­u­l­ations are suspicious of such fiery speeches, of fanaticism and lack of iro­ny, the correspon­ding effect is achieved through jokes. Do you imagine that the fascists today might be paying attention and catching on?

It’s already happening. If you take a look at online movements of the far Right, such as the Alt-Right and the “meta-right”, these are packed with trans­gressive jokes and irony—often to the level of extreme absurdity so that it’s no longer distinguishable what is a joke, what is “post-truth” and what is sin­cere and what is not. The far Right jokes more than anyone else. They joke and joke and make memes until reality itself becomes transmogorified into a dream state where nothing is real and nothing needs to be taken seriously. If we have already joked a million times about being nazis and killing Jews, and waging war, and about a conspiracy that undermines our civilization, and about our own mega­lomania… then when the images of real crimes crop up, we keep jok­ing, keep laughing. “Relax, it’s just a joke. Don’t you get it, huh? All the smart people do. You’re one of the smart people, aren’t you? You’re not one of those with a stick up your ass who can’t even take watching children and animals being slit up alive—are you? I’m one of the crazy ones, the ones who know the subtle art of not giving a fuck. To me, there is nothing you can’t laugh about. Only people who are against free­dom would like to set taboos for what you may or may not joke and laugh about.”

During the Second World War, Charlie Chaplin famously made a par­ody of Hitler in his 1940 film, The Great Dictator. Chaplin used comedy to demask and demystify the power and allure of dictatorship and totalitar­ianism. And of course, this postmodern move, one of irony and parody, proved to be the hallmark of a superior society; one that ultima­tely beat the complete lack of self-distance that marked the fascists. When one side screams and rages on, and the other changes the frame and makes us all laugh—of course the latter is going to win. Of course the latter is going to be allied with a superior information processing system, which ultimately wins the war.

But now, nearing a century after the first emergence of fascism, the forces that want violence and bloodshed have learned a thing or two. This time, they won’t try to be Hitler—they’ll try to be Charlie Chaplin. The next dictator, the one who seduces crowds and leads the masses into trans­gressing common decency and morality, supporting nihilism in its destructive form and an abandonment of all empathy—will be a com­edian. Today, only comedians can claim the absolute and amoral obedi­ence of the crowd. Guess who also likes absolute and amoral obedience of the crowd? The totalitarian dictator.[i]

Michael Billig, a professor of social science, published a book in 2005 titled Laughter and Ridicule: Toward a Social Critique of Hu­mour. Boring­ly written as it is, this book seems almost prophetic: Billig was amongst the first to see that with laughter comes ridicule, and thus comes a reaffir­mation of power relations; sometimes liberating, but all too often discipli­ning and oppressive. Laughter often says: Shut the fuck up and obey.

Today’s inquisition, today’s Thought Police, thrives on the power of laughter. The most (pathologically) power hungry amongst us will be­come masters of mean and crafty jokes. And they will get away with it. And they will rule. And you will obey them with the rest of the mob.

What, then, beats laugher and ridicule? We may turn again to the early writings of Nietzsche. In his 1872 work, The Birth of Tragedy, he argues that tragedy is a higher and more refined art form than the “Apollonian” search for perfection in sculpture and “Dionysian” rapture and self-expression in the moment-to-moment flows of music. And indeed, in literature and theatre, comedy has never been able to become as highly esteemed as tragedy.

Tragedy is thus an expression of a higher synthesis; it resonates with more profound and vulnerable layers of the human soul. And tragedy is best expressed through poetry in its many different forms, poetry in a wide sense, what is sometimes called “poetics”.

In the times to come, then, dictatorship and oppression, sadistic power and maso­chistic submission, will come dis­guised in the form of comedy and laughter.

Resistance and emancipation, kindness and freedom, will come from that which brings a tear to our eye—from a subtle sense of tragedy, expre­ss­ed in different media, by poets of different shapes and sizes.

In these times, building upon the experiences of the last century, we have accustomed ourselves to thinking of the trickster as the hero. That used to be a good rule-of-thumb, and it still can be, in some cases. But this intuition will be increasingly treacherous in the times ahead.

We are beginn­ing to see the unfolding of a subtle battle-performed-as-play for the global hu­man soul—the near­est thing to what might be called a cos­mic struggle be­tween good and evil: the evil comedian, who speaks to the masses but sec­retly despises them as a herd that follows the crude me­chanics of humor understood only by a select elite, against the good poet, who sings to the few, but is in love with the many and their crea­tive spark of collective in­telligence. This is the struggle-reborn-as-play, stirring at midnight in the garden of good and evil.

David Foster Wallace, the early metamodernist novelist and cultural comm­entator who died by suicide in 2008, aged 46, author of the dense, thick and magisterial novel with the prophetic title Infinite Jest (1996), once said in 1990 “that the next real literary rebels in America would be artists with little interest in trying to shock or upset their peers but who were, rather, willing to become so credulous of everything in the world that their peers would laugh at them”.[ii] That’s what takes greater cour­age, and that’s where liberation is to be found—in a new sincerity.

The dictator-comedian, the jester-king, steers the laughter, pacing it with perfect timing as a dir­ector would an orchestra—often saying things that would have been completely unacceptable had they been voiced by an ordinary person. Remember Carl Schmitt’s definition of the sovereign as “he who decides on the excep­tion”? To a growing extent this seems to apply to the comedian: the elevated position of being excepted from the morality applying to everyone else. The consumtariat—the underclass of the inform­ational and attentionalist digital economy, per­petually starved for authen­tic meaning, participation, community and re­cognition—alwa­ys stuck in the role of onlookers, always consum­ers, always spectators; they laugh along greedily, hiding in the crowd, cheering. The consumta­riat are offered a false sense of participation and superiority: Chuckling along, they momentarily feel that they are part of what happens, and on the winning side, too. Indeed, laughter is the new heiling.

But the transmogorified dream-world of boundary-less jokes is not a productive outlet for the human soul. If, in the 20th century the biggest joke was The Great Dictator; today’s biggest tragedy is The Great Spec­tator. The Great Dictator was an easier foe, because The Great Spectator turns out to be yourself.

The Great Spectator will mindlessly laugh along, from his own sense of inferiority, envy and Sklavenmoral—while the poet acts and is laughed at. What about you, will you laugh your way to obedience and meaningless murder, or will you side with the laughed-at? Will you sing with the infor­med naivety of the metamodern heart—one that can resist the cruel lau­ghter of a crowd reduced to groveling slaves?

Hanzi Freinacht is a political philosopher, historian and sociologist, author of ‘The Listening Society’, ‘Nordic Ideology’ and the upcoming books ‘The 6 Hidden Patterns of History’ and ‘Outcompeting Capitalism’. Much of his time is spent alone in the Swiss Alps. You can follow Hanzi on his facebook profile here, and you can speed up the process of new metamodern content reaching the world by making a donation to Hanzi here.

[i]. When I first wrote this, Europe had already seen the rise of standup comedian Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement in Italy. Now, rereading the text, the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has just been elected by a landslide of 73% (vs. 24% for the sitting president)—also a comedian, who even plays the part as president in a satirical television show. While these two can hardly be called new dictators, they do certainly attest to the new power of comedy—and the crossroads of fact and fiction. Stranger days are coming.

[ii]. Quoted from Seth Abramson “On Metamodernism”, published April 16th 2018 on Medium, retrieved May 2018:

The Totalitarian Potential of New Age Spirituality

In this series of what we can learn from the totalitarian ideologies (for communism click here, and for fascism click here), I’d wish things would get less demonic around this time and that I could point to a cuter and happier ending when we get to New Age spirit­uality. But alas, as the human (or post-human) condition progresses, it only gets more wondrous, complex, per­ilous and terrifying, all at once. As Leon Trotsky once said “The forms of life will become dyn­am­ically dramatic […] And above this ridge new peaks will rise.” He just for­got to mention the new opening abyss between us and the peaks. Higher emancipation, incidentally, is found on the very edge of doom.

The following is a slightly edited extract from Hanzi Freinacht’s book ‘Nordic Ideology: A Metamodern Guide to Politics, Book Two’. This is the second book in a series on metamodern thought, a work of popular philosophy that investigates the nature of psychological development and its political implications. 

For many readers, no doubt, “New Age” seems to be the odd one out in a series about the totalitarian ideologies of the 20th century. Commun­ism, fascism, and… New Age? These phenomena aren’t usually discuss­ed in the same context. And yet, there is a clear and fundamental pattern conn­ecting the three; even a logical, historical progression (as well as more inter­connecting ties and overlaps than we could name or hope to trace).

The three ideologies appeared and gained prominence in sequence as modern society pro­gress­ed, each of them related to holistic visions, and each of them led to totalitarian, abusive and collapsed societies. Commun­ism rel­ates to a profound social equality and union between humans, to the abol­ition of the “shame-regime” as discussed in my book Nordic Ideology (since no one would have lower status in the communist utopia). Fascism builds upon the com­m­unist radical unity and the rise of certain strong wills and great figures in that unified society and a conscious refinement of huma­nity, corres­ponding to the abolition of the Sklavenmoral-regime. And the New Age move­ments aimed at creating a reign of universal love flowing from a genuinely unified and deeply emancipated hum­anity, uni­fying us not only with one another, but with the cosmos at large, with all life, and with our highest inner potentials—in Hanzi lan­guage, with our “highest subjective states” and “greatest inner depths”. Like commun­ism, New Age spirituality is utopian and egalitarian, like fascism it em­phasizes the dist­inctions between the genders as well as the value of authenti­city and full­ness of commitment and of total submission of the ego and disso­lution into a complete unity. This corresponds to the “higher reaches of free­dom” per­taining to the later stages of human development, to the deepest reaches of our imaginations and the most universalistic and holis­tic visi­ons of soc­iety and humanity.

Because of its developmental qualities, reaching higher and deeper than commun­ism and fascism, New Age holds the potential for a more hellish, oppressive and suffocating totalitarianism than anything hith­er­to seen in communist and fascist societies. Luckily for us, no utopian New Age mov­e­ments really gained power in the 20th century—their social sust­ainability was simply too low to grow beyond small communities and inward-looking cults. The exception may be Scientology, which turned itself into a self-sustaining market mechanism using psychological coer­cion to get peop­le to aggressively pool money into real estate around the world, which in turn boasts the identities of members (“look at my big temple”) who then gain incentives to uphold the structure.

The close connection between fascism and say Adi Da’s cult, or that of Osho, or Scientology, may be difficult to spot on a surface level. After all, fascists are tough and manly, and New Agers soft and spiritual. But many scholars have shown that fascism—new and old—is full to the brim with esoteric and spiritual underpinnings. Karla Poewe, Pankaj Mishra and Göran Dahl are worth mentioning in this context.

Viewed with the goggles of my own theory, this is the develop­mental imbalance of “the magic residual” at work, as explained in The Listening Society; i.e. people who have greater depth and/or state than complexity and/or code tend to seek wholeness and be drawn to the non-rational in the search of the trans­rational. In other words, you have a pervasive sense there is som­ething more to the world and to reality than we can normally describe and grasp with our conscious conceptual minds, and that the direct expe­rience of reality always points towards something larger than any specific struc­ture of thought, but that something requires that we jump off a cliff into the unknown, that we stop thinking and allow ourselves to “fully be”.

This impulse, while true, opens the door inside of us for a holistic vis­ion that would unite all of society with primary, archetypal and spiritual forces: Martin Heidegger initially supported the Nazis and Carl Jung had early writings which spoke of collective Aryan and Jewish psyches, and count­less other “deep stuff” thinkers have fallen into similar traps. There is a very close connection between fascism and the New Age, most recent­ly revealed per­haps by the harrowing example of Andrew Cohen’s cult.

Why then would I claim that New Age has the potential to be even more hellish than Gulag or Holocaust? Think about it: These relations involve your innermost ontological belief structures. They can make you believe that if you don’t follow suit, if you even think the wrong thought, you will be punished for a literal eternity of unbearable suffering. And they can make you believe that in full and earnest. That’s much, much more radical than making you think you’re a bad comrade or not a part of the master race. And they can make you believe that the fate of the entire cosmos, literally speaking, depends on your work with this and that inner purifica­tion, enlightenment, etc. And they can make you believe this or that person is literally God speaking and that nothing else has any relevan­ce compared to what they may be saying. And they can make you inti­mately feel that with every cell of your body and soul. It’s the Michelin Star Club of totalitarianism. It’s totalitarianism magna cum laude, extra everything; ketchup and mustard. Because it reaches into the depths of your soul and controls parts of you neither Stalin nor Hitler could reach. In theory, then, what crimes could that sort of power make you commit? And if you were invested in it, what would you be prepared to do to defend it from perceived attackers?

If you consider the stories told by some escapees of North Korea, you notice this pattern. This is a nominally communist country, which all but in name has transitioned to a caste-like hyper-militarized fascist society, and where you increasingly see the use of supernatural narratives to legiti­mize pol­itical pow­er. Miracles are associated with the Supreme Leader, and it can take years for a young woman who escaped to get rid of the belief that he is reading her mind. That, if anything, is worse that Orwell’s 1984. And it’s pretty close to what has been reported by ex-Scientologists. If Sciento­logy would have managed to take over society as a whole, you might have seen similar patt­erns emerging in other countries or at a larger scale.

And then there’s always that distinct trait of totalitarianism: First you have a creative burst for a period in which the arts flower, then you con­verge around a massive repetition, a complete shut-down of all art. Scien­tology looks and feels exactly the same today as it did in the 1970s, except now in an ironic and more critically minded age, it all looks extremely kitschy and hysteri­cal. The same is true of North Korea: There are paint­ers, sure, but their skills are entirely tamed and employed on a producti­on-line basis, all in credit of the regime and its worldview. The same happened with nazism during its very short period of existence and with the “per­manent revolu­tion” in some commun­ist countries. If someone gets to you with the idea that they have a correct grasp of “the totality”, any divergence, even in your dreams, becomes a subject of great existen­tial terror. This adds another, and more terrifying, layer of mean­­ing to Orwell’s “boot stamping on a human face—for ever”. Personally, I would rather be gas­sed to death naked than to have someone convince me of an eternity of suffering for me and others if I don’t obey. Spiritual involve­ment opens the door to a whole new world of horrors.

And yet, it would be wrong to think that universal love and high­er inner states have no place in the future of humanity. Again, it’s a matter of developmental imbalances; the spiritual and existential insights that infor­m­ed and energized the New Age movement in its many forms, and the pro­found and authentic experiences that gave it life, are not in them­selves false. They’re simply too big and too difficult to manage to fit into what­ever human relationships, social roles and symbolic universes we con­struct, and so these relation­ships and roles always self-destruct pretty soon after we start engaging with the highest (spiritual) subjective states.

As society progresses and we reach deeper into ourselves in order to deal with the existential underpinnings of civilization as well as coordi­nating our streams-of-action on subtler and more complex levels, we are bound to come face to face again with these spiritual or cosmic peaks and abysses. Individually, many of us can ignore these issues and live “normal lives” and not be bothered, but transpersonally speaking, we as a global society and emerging posthumans cannot avoid it. We are going to have to deal with the terrifying depths and towering heights of existence, with the vast oceans of being, with the eternities of tragedy and suffering and the unbearable infinity of potential—sooner or later.

If the present world-system survives and development continues to accelerate, consciousness is very likely to self-organize into posthuman stages mirroring the great existential depths intuited by the mystics. The New Age movements have given us a brief taste of these farther land­scapes of the soul, of the peaks—and the great abyss.

The abyss. We then, collectively and transpersonally, encounter a more profound terror than has hitherto been experienced; a terror intuited only in madness and bad psychedelic trips. A terror beyond death: an experi­enced eternity of looped suffering. There is a towering challenge ahead of us; beyond anything yet experienced in the history of the known universe. The scale is of a whole other magnitude, the stakes of a cosmic kind. Sheer terror, pure emptiness—and a corres­ponding level of evil, always found, ultimately, within ourselves. The highest good—universal love and accep­tance—can only be attained by facing the greatest and purest of evils. Although this challenge lies outside the scope of the political metamoder­nism I have formulated, the latter can at least commence the needed pre­paratory work for this unavoidable challenge to our innermost being. Only an existentially mature civilization will be able to face the surmount­ing terror.

You cannot gaze into the abyss without being moved. You cannot taste the heavens without becoming, at least in some abstract sense, a believer. And that’s what political metamodernism shares with the New Age: an acceptance of the highest subjective states, their ultimate significance and transrational truth; that of universal love and acceptance, the dissol­ution of our separate identifications, and the non-attachment to ideas and beli­efs. In brief moments, these higher potentials can animate us, “As spring sweeps uninvited into barren gardens, as morning breezes reinvigorate dormant deserts”, as one of the most celebrated poets of the Urdu langu­age, Faiz Ahmed Faiz once wrote.[i]

These flowers of freshest hue must be met by an unequivocal commit­ment to deal with a corresponding level of existential terror. Unlike the New Ager, the metamodern mind is not a millenari­an one; we don’t bel­ieve that a wave of light will “come soon” and “wash over” all of us and this will make people “wake up” and that we are the carriers of that evan­gel (or some circumscription of the latter). We just recognize that there is such a thing as spirituality, yes, and we allow for faint glimmers of it to hint us about a potential future that is both incom­prehensively mag­nifi­cent and terrifying beyond imagination.

We do, however, share the idea that inner transformation is an import­ant and essential part of societal transformation, and ultimately of socie­ty’s sur­vival. And we share the idea that self-knowledge tends to lead to greater universalism and love, however tortuous and difficult the path. And we believe this path is not laid down, but that it must be conti­nually paved and rediscovered as we interact with the open systems of the world as these open systems inevitably also change us.

Here we return to the metamodern idea of proto-synthesis—we can­not just throw all maps of meaning and directionality overboard. We must see that spiritual insight and higher universal love are powerful futu­re attract­ors, but that they reside in the posthuman or transhuman realm of poten­tials, which means that we shouldn’t rush it. In this case, we must remain careful and conservative, as the sheer terror that can be unleashed under the auspices of a “metamodern totalitar­ianism” leaves a heavy ethical bur­den on us. Imagine a world where dictators control your soul and the con­struction of your social universe and have a thousand social, psycho­logical, chemical and technological tools to control the structure of your mind. That would be beyond nasty.

Where does this leave us? At the spot where political meta­modernism seeks to carefully work for the relative utopia of a listening society—a soc­iety that has resolved the modern problems of sustainabi­lity, inequality and alienation; but it must always stop before any direct, pass­ionate and non-ironic utopianism.

So fundamentally, whether political metamodernism becomes a force for good or evil in the world—or just another obscure cult-like group­ing—depends upon our shared ability to manage paradoxes and both-ands. And it depends upon our willingness and capacity to engage with the open systems of the world, and letting these systems change us, while still keeping some kind of shared map.

It is okay to let glimmers of New Age spirituality—and traditional paths in general—inform and inspire us. They must, however, never go­vern us, lest we will inherit all their pathologies, albeit in a magnified and yet more toxic version. These are dangerous dreams.

Political metamodernism is a bit like standing on the North Pole; if you go far enough north, so that you actually stand on the exact location of the North Pole, east and west and north all disappear; on that particular spot there is only south—in all directions. When you get really close to it, all directions become the opposite of what you want to achieve, and yet you have to keep trying to go “north of the North Pole”.

There’s a koan to stay with: What is north of the North Pole?

Hanzi Freinacht is a political philosopher, historian and sociologist, author of ‘The Listening Society’, ‘Nordic Ideology’ and the upcoming books ‘The 6 Hidden Patterns of History’ and ‘Outcompeting Capitalism’. Much of his time is spent alone in the Swiss Alps. You can follow Hanzi on his facebook profile here, and you can speed up the process of new metamodern content reaching the world by making a donation to Hanzi here.

[i]. From the poem Last Night, loose translation by Michael R. Burch.

The (Partial) Glory of Fascism: What We Can Learn from the Far-right

It’s difficult to be playful around fascism. It arose in shaky times, gathered absolute power in the hands of fanatic psychopaths who not only oppress­ed their own populations but also got us the Second World War and the Holo­caust. To this day, we have crazy mass-killers swearing allegiance to fascist theories. Naturally, it’s not a joke.[i] And yet, the understanding of fascism as “pure evil” (and only an exist­en­tial lie) is simplistic, bordering on incorrect. There are very good rea­sons to revisit fascism and perform a little psycho-historical archeology to dig up partial truths that may serve political metamodernism and help us see the challenges ahead more clearly.

The following is a slightly edited extract from Hanzi Freinacht’s book ‘Nordic Ideology: A Metamodern Guide to Politics, Book Two’. This is the second book in a series on metamodern thought, a work of popular philosophy that investigates the nature of psychological development and its political implications. 

Here are a few circumstances that put the emergence of fascism in a different light:

  • The link to (and partial overlap with) the genuinely rev­olutionizing form of modern art called Ital­ian futurism, starting in 1909 with poet and art theorist Filippo Tommaso Marinetti who wrote the Futurist Manifesto. Futurism shows a number of signs reminiscent of meta­mod­ern­ism as an art move­ment as well as a philosophy—emphasizing agency, mobility, totality, acc­eleration, dev­elop­­ment, tech­nological transforma­tions, the conquest of other areas of life under the domain of art—as I discuss else­where.[ii]
  • The undeniable genius and lasting relevance of fascist and proto-fascist political thinkers such as Carl Schmitt (who coined the insightful definition of a sovereign as “he who decides on the excep­tion” and who went on to be the “crown jurist” of the Third Reich); Georges Sorel (who theorized the importance of myth in people’s lives and developed his own flavor of post-Marxism); Vilfredo Pareto (who is known for the 80/20 principle of income distribution, but also embraced fascism); and the US-born poet Ezra Pound—just to mention a few. These weren’t persons who got stuck in the fascist regimes of dumber people; they were deep thinkers whose oeuvres and lives led them to fascist conclusions.
  • The relative progressivity of the 1919 Fascist Manifesto (also authored by Marinetti), containing: uni­versal suffrage including women (opposed by most countries at the time), minimum wage, retirement at 55, the expansion of labor union rights and workers represented in boards of companies, and an eight-hour workday.
  • The undeniable fervor and enthusiasm sparked within literally millions of people in the years during which fascism and nazism emer­ged. Of course, this ability to unify and inspire does not in itself justify fascism. It does, however, highlight the fact that fascist practices can resonate with pro­foundly positive and beautiful emotions and coordinate many people’s actions in large and non-capitalist projects (i.e. actions coordinated by other means than monetary exchanges).
  • The general idea within fascism to view society and the populations as a developmental work of art. If you look at the 1929 novel Michael by Joseph Goebbels (who later became the propaganda minister of the Third Reich), you find the idea that a statesman is an artist:

“Art is an expression of feeling. The artist differs from the non-artist in his ability to express what he feels. In some form or other. One artist does it in a painting, another in clay, a third in words, and a fourth in marble—or even in historical forms. For him, the nation is exactly what the stone is for the sculptor.”[iii]

Naturally, this is a dangerous and dumb idea if you fall off the holistic balance and land in totalitarianism. Of course, people aren’t your “marb­le” to play around with. But the impulse in itself—to view society as a work of (co-created, participatory and democratically shared) art—is shared by political metamodernism. Society can be approached with the mind of an artist who wants to express his innermost depths. Society should not be the result of a cold bureaucratic process, but of passionate creation and love—aiming at the development of the inner qualities of the population.

  • The revolving door between fascist ideology and the far-left (Mussolini himself being an example, Georges Sorel another, even Goebbels and Hitler learning from Marxist theory and practices) as well as between deep ecology (recurr­ing in Heidegger and many esoteric green fascists) as well as with radical conservatism (notably with the Revolution von rechts idea: “revolution from the right”), including authoritarian conservatism and its link to neoliberalism (via Pinochet’s Chile, which espoused Milton Friedman’s libertarian economics). Basically, you find fascism sneaking in here and there across the classical political spectrum—and even in spirit­ual and religious thinkers. Mod­ern political thinkers will tend to emphasize the aspects that others share with fascism while denying their own connections, so as to prove one’s moral high ground, being “the farthest from fascism”, its very opposite. But it makes more sense to acknowledge that fascism has certain partial truths that are being denied and disowned, and then to productively own up to these and to include them in one’s own per­spective.

It should be apparent, then, that fascism cannot simply be discarded and never related to again. You can say that fascism is the cata­combs of the modern ideo­logical metropolis: It constitutes a vast network of secret and forgotten under­ground tunn­els connecting all of the poli­tical ideolog­ies. I guess you can say the same about all the ideologies to some extent—they all inter­connect—but fascism remains the most denied and least under­stood.

The poli­tical metamodernist must learn to travel these dark tunnels with­out becom­ing a creature of the night. You drain the sewers, clean them up, put in proper lighting, make sure the pipes work—you get the picture. As such, political metamodernism is both the ideology that is the closest to fascism and the one most in opposition to it. The catacombs are there, whe­ther we like it or not. The political metamodernist travels them and cleans them up; the liberal innocent denies their existence and sleep­walks in their dirt.

There is, naturally, something exquisitely demonic about fascism. As I argue in another book,[iv] this demonic aspect can be understood in terms of relations between “meta­memes”: Fascist and nazi thinkers used early postmodern insights (like the mass psychology of Gustave Le Bon and ideas about image control in the media, some pretty advanced psycho­anal­ytical and situational-psychological ideas as well as socialist criti­ques and the communist art of agitation) to mani­pulate a distinc­tly mod­ern society at a moment of crisis in order to wrest control over modernity’s advan­ced political mach­inery and econo­m­ic prowess; to rest­ore what is nominally a postfaustian society (traditio­nal), but in prac­tice amounts to a num­ber of faustian goals and ideals (the con­quest of the world, a master race, sheer power for the heck of it, war for the sake of war, the return of esoteric power gods, skulls on the sleeve, and so forth). That’s exactly what the archetype of a demon signifies: a fallen angel, one close to God who uses an elevated and exalted position, an access to rare truths and insights (postmodern), for crude and narrow purposes (faust­ian).

That’s the essential truth; fascism is so profoundly evil because it is dem­onic in this primary archetypal sense. A demon is a fallen angel, some­thing profound and beautiful in the service of something base and shallow. Developmental imbalance. And every time you have such glaring dev­elopmental imbalances, you can know for sure the hell patrol is com­ing.

Political metamodernism can only be true to its cause and polit­ically effect­ive if it faces this great demon of modernity—fascism—and asks him for his central truth, for his gem (yes, demons have gems, they love ‘em).

“So, okay then, dear mister get-kids-to-murder-and-torture-innocent-people-in-secret-death-camps, what’s your secret? What could you possi­bly tell me? What do you have that I, the enlightened and democratic modern mind, lack and secretly desire?”

The green little devil smirks slyly and replies:

“One word, one word. There is a longing inside of you; one that I live out more fully than you, one that you deny, but still haunts the outer rims of your mind as it beckons to the innermost core of your soul. And on the hour of your death, it will grant me victory over you. The word is heroism.”

Yes, everyday life under modernity’s democracy and capitalism denies and suppresses an impulse shared by all of us: the drive for great­ness, for superiority, for con­quering death, for ascendance. A small part of us knows that we want more, that this life—and our role in it—is too petty, too drab, too trivial, too self-serving, too spiritually impoverished. We know we were meant, in some sense, to take the hero’s journey, but we got caught up in mortgages and deadlines, and we tell ourselves that’s all we ever really wanted.

We hide this side from one another, from ourselves. It embarrasses us immensely. We find ways to subtly and gleefully dismiss the deepest striv­ings of others as boyish, immature, puerile, distasteful, deluded. We deep­ly resent the glimmering greatness of one another because it reminds us of the subtle lies we live by. And instead we reenact these longings in movies, in books, in music, in fantasies and historic personae. If someone around us wishes to go down the highway of heroes, we use all the strategies we can to ridicule their effort:

“Hah! They would have themselves be a movie char­acter, a Rambo! They lack humility. But I am mature—I really am—and I will never be a hero. Ever. I don’t even want to; only if fate forced my hand—which I by the way have a feeling might happen anytime soon—would I ever put on display the inner virtues that are uniquely my own! Until then, here’s to keeping an honest job and watching TV. With some bloody dignity.”

But when we utter these words to ourselves, we find our inner voices ring­ing strangely hollow. The green little devil’s whisper lingers on: We want to be heroes; we know that we really are heroes, and we want to fight the good struggle, and win. We want to conquer mort­ality. We want to be unleashed as creators beyond our social roles and masks, beyond the trivi­al confines of everyday life. We want to sacrifice ourselves, as Gilga­mesh, for the sake of unity so that we may live forever.

The word “fascism” stems from Italian fascio meaning a bundle of rods, ultimately from the Latin word fasces; it means to unite into a whole. Not all of us want heroism all the time and in every situation, but all of us do have this inner longing for greatness, for something far beyond ourselves. We like glory. A part of us secretly resents having given up any chance for rising higher—and that same part resents glimmers of the Übermensch in our fell­ow human beings.

­For all its wackiness and evil, for all its developmental imbalances and inherent pathology, fasc­ism is the ideology that most effectively honors this basic existential truth: the longing for heroism, power and trans­cen­dence through our deeds.

A reminder of this truth is the recurr­ing role of domin­ance and sub­miss­ion in sexuality and eroticism. Demo­cracy, fair­ness, gen­der equality, peace and deliberation—they all lack something: they lack that “oomph”, zest, lust, that carnal and dark demonic princely power.

At the heart of humanity, there is a sexual beast seeking to be unleash­ed. For all its moral and pract­ical superiority (even military, as it turned out), democracy is a bland nice guy. Fascism promises us an edgy bad boy and a sublime feminine surrender into uncon­trolled ex­­plosive orgasms that shake the foundations of the cosmos. Fasc­ism is the opposite of refi­ned demo­cracy: it is pure dom­inan­ce and sub­mission. It is speed, excite­ment, violence, blood, iron, autonomy, force, will, power. It is untamed—erotic in the deepest sense of the word.

Another reminder of the ubiquity of heroism in our psychology is the archetypal “hero’s journey”. Joseph Campbell famously described heroic blueprints shared by disparate mythologies, recurring in folk sagas, novels and movies (directly inspiring George Lucas in the creation of Star Wars). This universal narrative involves leaving our safety zone, tra­veling to our inner depths, facing dan­ger, conquering evil, and returning in a trans­formed state of being.

Hitler galvanized people—albeit around a stupid plan involving kill­ing everyone on the way down to the Black Sea so as to fill the area with raci­ally pure Germans who would go back to working as farmers, have lots of blond children and driving down a giant autobahn to Crimea to go on summer vacation in extremely repe­titive concrete blocks by the beach. Regardless of the app­arent stupidity and absurdity of the plan, which was only thinly disguised and was in actuality supported by many Germans, there was something there that modern life otherwise never offers us: an epic, heroic struggle with no irony, no distance, no second thought, no excuses made. What does it matter, then, if the aim itself is entirely pre­posterous?

Fascism was and remains a feverish boy room fantasy. But psycholog­ically, for all its immature lies and manipulations, it honored the fact that a part of us is always susceptible to such a dreamy will for greatness. We can­not truly “grow out of it”; only deny it. The world is not enough.

As lack of meaning and lacking sense of strength and vitality take hold in many young men, and some women, in our days, they turn again to these themes. From their imprisoned anguish grows new streams of fasc­ism. Some few join overtly fascist movements, others nationalist and radi­cal-conservative ones and “Indo-European identitarianism”, and yet oth­ers find more innocent ways of reenact­ing aspects of these: pick-up artist “gaming” (social power games to get women), BDSM tantra work­shops, violent porn, some of the authoritarian undercurrents of the men’s move­ment, anti-feminism, anti-modern anti-“decadent” art sen­ti­ments, varia­tions of theories about “the fall of the West” and other ideas about cyclical civilizational patterns where you need to rescue “civili­zation” by becom­ing more manly (again, a theme shared with the proto- and pre-fascists at the turn of the 20th century, with Oswald Spengler and others).

Not all of these things are all bad or all fascist. The men’s movement and learning good dating skills particularly have potentials for creating prod­uctive results, and some aspects of these blend into political meta­modern­ism. Viewed as a whole, these partly interrelated phenomena do however reflect the staying power of fascism and the masculine and boy­ish qualities it embod­ies. Most of it is relatively subtle and hidden from public view, but the psycho­logical forces brewing are strong.

These tenden­cies work their way through the collective psyche and slow­ly prepare the ground for de­mands of a new “Revolution von rechts”; the sentiment that decadence has gone too far grows, “the West” or “civil­iza­tion” or “the phallic order” or “the logos” are in danger, and this “nec­ess­ita­tes” some “decisive mascu­line action” to “save” your favorite unit of identification (the West, this or that country, etc.).

Ah, a new brotherhood of Greek hoplites, free-roaming muscular hero­es, always pre­paring for war! The women want it too, the fascist mind mur­murs; they only came up with their angry feminism because they’re subcon­sciously enraged with the too weakly and nerdy men of late mod­ern society.

In short: Fascism stirs, sprung from cages—at a new and higher, more abstracted and yet more demonic level.

If you look at more overtly fascist thinkers such as representatives of the Nouvelle Droite, (the New Right) and more recently the Alt-Right (the Alt­er­native Right), these enjoy the masculine anti-democratic qualities more unabashedly: bloggers, YouTubers and rightwing online media all base their ideas on Julius Evola’s esoteric fascism, Tomislav Sunić presents his theses in a book smugly titled Against Democracy and Equality (1990), and US Alt-Right leader Richard Spen­cer performs fiery speeches about ethno-nationalism. There’s that demon­ic quality again—it is shared to some ex­tent by the online movement of the so-called “Dark Enlighten­ment” (a brand of anti-pomo anti-femin­ism mixed with different wild re­actionary suggestions) and social media figures like Milo Yiann­opoulos who criticize political correct­ness and leftwing “social justice warr­iors” and ridicule vegan “soy boys”. Then there are radicals such as the pseudo­nym Bron­ze Age Pervert, flaunting more overt fascism, mixed with a kind of extreme, ironic humor. And there is Curt Doolittle’s propertar­ianism, attracting many young men through the internet. There’s even a “meta-right”, whose mem­bers seem keen on learning from political metamoder­nism.

These wider tendencies create a vast network of strange bed­fell­ows. Time and again, the different positions deny to be in league with each other but end up feeding the same underlying currents. Trump’s pop­ulism doesn’t like Richard Spencer’s Alt-Right, but the latter likes the form­er and claims to have influenced him. Jordan Peterson, the Jungian psych­ologist who calls himself a “classical liberal”, talks approvingly about posh brit Milo Yiannopoulos, who in turn loves Trump, who in turn was put in office with the help of Russian online troll factories, who spread anti-fem­inist ideas, which are recycled by the men’s movement and the loosely related BDSM tantra work­shops (in­cluding some rather nasty sex cults, such as The New Tantra).

The Russian online trolls spread ideas about the fall of the West and the “Fourth Theory” ideas of Putin’s chief philo­sopher Aleksandr Dugin, who claims not to be fasc­ist but is part of a Russ­ian machinery that supp­orts radical nation­alist parties across Eur­ope, the leaders of which read up on the power-grabbing theories of Carl Sch­mitt and others who inspired the 20th century fascists, and thus they gain edge on the conven­tional poli­ticians who only do law, economics and boring conven­tional political science. I have been invited to such Kremlin-paid meetings myself (to unite “alter­native” European politics).

In the US, the National Rifle Association is propped up by the Russian government and supports Trump, while arming a population of mostly white react­ionary males who feel Western civilization is being lost. And Steven Bannon buys Facebook data and conspires with the company Cambridge Analy­tica to win the culture wars in a neo-conservative direc­tion through tar­geted manipulations of public opinion.

Phew. Strange bedfellows, indeed.

I’m not saying all of these should be reduced to one another. Gett­ing a good whipping at a BDSM retreat doesn’t make you a fascist, nor is Peter­son a Trump fan (but would have voted for him), and Trump is not a Rus­sian neo-fascist, etc. And not all of them are all wrong or crazy. The point is merely that the same under­lying fascist im­pulse is there.

These are the dark tunnels beneath Metropolis Moder­nity that I was talking about. They all connect.

People who don’t know the fascist catacombs can some­times end up in argu­ments about masculinity or being against politi­cally corr­ect inter­sectional femin­ism, or criticizing some aspects of Islam, and find a flatt­ering and sur­pris­ing surge of support and enthu­siasm from people they normally wouldn’t associate with. Some of them under­stand they’re gett­ing a little demonic boost from the under­world, but many re­main genui­nely naive to what’s going on. The atheist philosopher Sam Harris—who is a fierce critic of Islam—was earnestly surprised that so many of his foll­owers were devoted Trump fans and vehemently resisted him when he sided with Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

What, then, does any of this have to do with political metamodernism? Here it is: Political metamodernism shares a part of that same demonic quality, which comes from owning the unapologetic striving to take the hero’s journey.

This one goes out especially to all the nice guys out there who have had this inner split about Hanzi and metamodernism from the start. The nice guys (it’s usually men) get something dark in their eyes and they say:

“You are saying all of these progressive, sensitive things about a ‘listening soc­iety’ and the value of hard inner work, but you keep acting slightly evil, and you keep talking about gaining power. There is a performative contra­diction here: The theorists we are looking for should be calm, kind and wise—free from worldly desires and strivings—but you are presenting a sneaky and aloof persona. What you are saying is interesting and rings somewhat true; yet there is some­thing lacking, perhaps not as much in your theories as in you, Hanzi, as a person. It makes me, the pensive idealistic guy, suspicious and it leaves me with a subtle uneasy sense that there is something… demonic going on. It seems you can reach higher truths than you quite should, and you seem to be too immature to use them res­ponsibly; you seem to be using philosophical and spiritual insight for power. For my part, I will learn a thing or two from you, but then I will return to the safe, pure, goodhearted, simple and humble path for devel­oping soc­iety.”

And I guess that right there is the ultimate litmus test for the meta­mod­ern mind. The metamodern mind sees that all nodes in the great weave of life long for power, for expansion, for fuller expression. And it sees that competition—just as love and trade—is an irremovable element of social reality itself.

So, hey there Nice Guy. Yes you. You know I am talking to you. Do you know who actually whispered the above words in your ear? It wasn’t your conscience, not your inner angel.

It was the green little devil, a sly smirk nudging his thin lips again. Your green little devil is prepared to use morality and claims of moral purity for the legitimization of your own will to power at the expense of others, and at the expense of truthfulness.

The reason you get this “dark ominous sense” when reading Hanzi isn’t that you’re good and I’m evil. That was what you believed, wasn’t it? It’s that I own my green little devil and have it tamed, but yours is sneaking about and lying to you and controlling you. Your conscience lied to you. You were caught by the devil’s lasso.

The dark ominous feeling you get when you see me prancing around is not a reflection of your kind, critical mind resisting the sell-out to power that I represent. It is a reflection of your own disowned green little devil, of your disowned will to power, and the resentment you feel when some­one else expresses so clearly and straightforwardly what you have hidden away from view. You’re the sell-out, not me.

How do I know that? I know it simply because I understand that power and freedom are sisters; creation is power. So any time you want to chan­ge or create anything, you must have a will to power, and any time you make a power claim, there will be adversaries who have different ideas, ideals and interests, and thus you have to own up to that adversity and you have to try to win. And without a wish to change or create anything, you can have no morality; no wish to strive for the good. Hence: pure morality requires a pure will to power. Your denied will to power is im­moral, and that’s what you feel reflected in yourself when you watch me unfold without apology.

You can wait around for another hundred years if you like—but Yoda isn’t coming. There won’t be another “pure” path of only kindness and wis­dom under a pure and kind teacher and leader. And no, you won’t become that person yourself when you’re older. That’s your green little devil talk­ing: your disowned longing for greatness. There isn’t a pure path in which you don’t have to relate to the demonic quality of creation and chan­ge. Moral purity, calm wisdom, humility—that’s the lie, that’s “the liberal inno­cent”.

And here’s the bottom line: Your green little devil is transpersonally con­nected to mine, just as your mind is to mine. We are all nodes in the great web of life; and life pulsates with the will to power. All life literally eats its way through other flows of matter and energy. All events feed on entropy; on decay. A human body consists of organic matter under viol­ent control: killed, chewed, swallowed, digested, broken down and reorga­nized. This is an indispu­table phy­si­cal fact. Power is transpersonal becau­se all creation is co-creation, and all emer­gence is relational—and power, ultimately, is the will and capacity to free­ly create; it is the will of poten­tials to emerge as actualities.

And herein lies, of course, the deep connection between fascism and Nietz­sche’s philosophy. Naturally, Nietzsche was misread and misinter­pre­t­ed in the crude and anti-intellectual times that followed his death, but this fun­da­mental impulse remains true: an unapologetic affirmation of the will to power, the striving to get past any obstacles of fear, shame, guilt and Sklaven­moral, and to freely express our highest inner expressions: the Über­mensch.

Here’s my suggestion—how about we stop trying to exorcise one an­oth­er’s “egos” and “shadows”, and instead own up to the creative sparks we all share; and then play together as mutually empowering and beau­tifully imperfect co-creators, to write new values on new tablets?

When you run around trying to reveal, tear down and (let’s admit it) punish the egos and wills to power of others, are you really acting with the purity of intent you’re telling yourself? How many times have you found yourself saying things behind the backs of others, things where you make unqualified psychoanalytical guesses about their dark hidden mot­ives? Do you really think that stuff is coming from a place of moral con­cern and the purity of your soul? Spanish Inquisition, anyone? Nobody expects it, but it always shows up. The inquisitor always wears a mask, and beneath the mask is—again—the green little devil, your disowned will to power.

Nice Guy. Stop being a hypocritical inquisitor or witch-hunter and admit that you want shitloads of delicious power—and then be kind to people.

We should all try our best to be kindhearted. But there is also Sklaven­moral disguised as niceness, and that’s a problem.

Unapologetically in love with power—and uncompromisingly idealist­ic. Both and. Right there is an equ­il­ibrium from which we can build a very pro­found sense of inter­pers­onal, or trans­personal, trust. And that’s the space from which meta­modern pol­itics can emerge—from the trust that you will use your power kindly and I will use mine kindly, for mutual ben­efit and mutual goals; in a network of shared will to transpersonal power.

And here is the really cool part. Listen now.

Once you admit you want shitloads of delicious power, that you crave pure co-creation, and you see and accept that same will in all other crea­tures—a profound sense of equality descends upon your soul; I guess you could say “equanimity” as we mentioned earlier.

At the heart of the will to power rests the most radical egalitarianism and universalism. This is what allows us, among other things, to study stages of adult develop­ment in a truly non-judgmental, accepting and non -competitive manner. The competitive element of life becomes purified and falls in its proper place—eternally balanced by love and exchange, solidarity and trade; God doesn’t love one more than another.

So what if Hanzi has come farther than you in terms of philosophical insight, so what if I contain your per­spective but you couldn’t have con­tained or recreated mine? It doesn’t matter; more fundamentally, we are still equals, and in other aspects you are my super­ior. There’s nothing to it; it just is what it is. Radical egalitarianism. We are all chosen, all sub­lime, all exquisitely precious.

Seriously, try it. Embrace your inner princely darkness. The green little devil stops whisper­ing at the outer rims of your mind; it goes quiet. Your moral outrage ceases to murmur. Silence is there. And with silence comes clarity. And with clarity comes a more sustainable and authentic goodwill and kindness.

You recognize the simple truth that every­body is just super-vulnerable and utterly pathetic—yes, Hanzi too—and that the dynamics of everyday life force us to pretend to have dignity and to try to look like we know what we’re doing, and that’s why we want power. That’s why you want power, too. We’ll just admit the whole thing, no more obfuscation. From there on we can play together in sincere irony and infor­med naivety.

The metamodern perspective uses its capacity for perspective taking, its existential insights, and its idealism, to gain power. That’s its demonic qual­ity, and that’s why there must always be a dark and dangerous elem­ent to any form of political meta­modernism—a Machiavellian element. You cannot get rid of it by “getting over your ego”; you must stay with it, and balance it, and make it transparent and shared. It must always remain dan­gerous. En­er­gy is movement, and movement is dangerous; all becom­ing is also dest­ruction. Entropy.

This is where fascism informs political metamodernism; this is the glo­ry of fascism—it honors the will to power, to superiority, to what Socrates called megalothymia. It’s that principle within us that wants more, to be viewed and recognized not only as an equal member of society, but as a majestic and awe-inspiring being. That’s the truth even about Dalai Lama, Eckhart Tolle and Yoda. And centuries of denial and meditation will never efface it: to want anything, is to want power.

Look at your demon. Dance with the devil, lest he’ll make you his bitch.

Grab his fucking gem; it shines not only with an owned-up-to will to power that connects you to the will to power of all others, and thus to the non-local emergence of the universe; it shines with the pristine love of all perspectives.

Fascism lets you play the hero. It honors the principle of megalothy­mia. Democratic capitalism not so much; you deny your heroism and that of others. Political metamodernism lets you play the hero again, owning that part of yourself and others, just with ironic distance. It’s like ground­ing an electrical wire. And once that is done, we are free to travel these tunnels without being electrocuted, to think in terms of “political theo­logy” (the disci­pline that stu­dies the dynamics of how small, determined groups can seize power and constitute themselves as sovereign).

And then let’s play together to co-create a more conscious society. Bring your demon’s gem or don’t come at all.

Don’t hate the will to power of oth­ers—love it, balance it, and play with it. Again: love the game and love its players. Allow for others to relate to you in the same manner. Let us build that transpersonal trust, cultivate that trans­personal integrity. That is the metamodern per­spective; the one that has solidarity with all perspectives.

Hanzi Freinacht is a political philosopher, historian and sociologist, author of ‘The Listening Society’, ‘Nordic Ideology’ and the upcoming books ‘The 6 Hidden Patterns of History’ and ‘Outcompeting Capitalism’. Much of his time is spent alone in the Swiss Alps. You can follow Hanzi on his facebook profile here, and you can speed up the process of new metamodern content reaching the world by making a donation to Hanzi here.

[i]. Then again, present-day society and its suboptimal forms and trajectories are no joke, either. If you look at the suffering of just one issue, such as animal exploitation, the global tragedy churned out amounts to a global output of many “holocausts per year.”

[ii]. The 6 Hidden Patterns of History.

[iii]. Goebbels, J., 1929/1987. Michael. London: Reed Business Information, Inc.

[iv]. The 6 Hidden Patterns of History.

The Partial Truths of Communism We Ought to Include in the Politics of the Future

As you may know, the anarchists were eventually excluded from the Inter­national in the 19th century—Mikhail Bakunin lost the fight to Karl Marx, and the latter became the de facto intellectual and political leader of the European radicalized workers. Unlike Bakunin, Marx thought it necessary to seize real political power, i.e. to keep the state intact during the first steps towards an anticipated classless and stateless society. Utopian socialist ideals such as those of Char­les Fourier (one of the great pre-Marxist socialist thinkers, 1772-1837, also credited with coining the word “feminism”) were sidelined to only be found in small “intentional communities”—attempts at rebooting soc­iety based on utopian standards, which always collapse and/or go sour after a while.

The following is a slightly edited extract from Hanzi Freinacht’s book ‘Nordic Ideology: A Metamodern Guide to Politics, Book Two’. This is the second book in a series on metamodern thought, a work of popular philosophy that investigates the nature of psychological development and its political implications. 

Real communism, Marx and Engels agreed with Bakunin, would exist only when the state had dissolved. But to begin with, there would be need for an interim dictatorship of the proletariat.[i] This idea of using state power to trans­form society stuck with the revol­u­tion­ary com­munist move­ments and came to define communism and “real socialism” in the 20th cen­tury.

That is why communism, unlike anarchism and Fourierism, became a serious political force, centered in the Soviet Union—the only coun­try of a non-ethnic and non-geographic denomination in the world, a society founded within the imaginary space of world-centric humanism.

Libertarian socialism nev­er materialized beyond small parliamentary representations here and there, and anarchism or lib­er­tarian Marxism hardly excised any political power anywhere: These have exist­ed almost entire­ly in the intellectual realm. As mentioned in Appendix A, the major wiel­ders of power have all been authori­tarian com­munists—follow­ing in the foot­steps of Lenin’s coup d’état in Russia.

The real leftwing political challenge to Marxism and Marxism-Leninism came from social democracy in the tradition of the philosopher Edu­ard Bern­stein (1850-1932) and perhaps the French socialist leader Jean Jaurès (1859-1914), who sought a peaceful transition to socialism by demo­cratic means and reforms. Whereas social democracy (and socialist parlia­ment­ary reformism) gained wide followership, it has in prac­tice gra­v­i­tated to­wards social liberalism—and in late modernity, towards green social lib­er­alism; i.e. towards the attractor point of modern society. In real­ity, then, social-democratic countries have largely developed along similar lines as other capitalist welfare democracies.

The underlying principle of communism is more radical: to act­ively and deliberately transform the fundamental structures of soc­iety by shoc­king them with planned strategic actions thought to be in line with the attractors that society’s inherent dynamics point towards. “Norm­al” soc­iety, “capitalist” society, “bourgeois” society—is simply viewed as eth­i­cally unacceptable. It’s just not good enough; it’s inhumane.

This—everything—everyday life with all its hierarchies, limitations and banality, is simply not enough. The communist demands more. The com­m­unist mind, its kernel of truth, grows from this solemn vengefulness aga­inst the injustices and insufficiencies of everyday life and from the deter­min­ation that comes with it: a moral determination to transform all of society; to act for the sake of the weak and the exploited; to act with the willingness to risk everything—one’s own life, one’s lifetime of commit­ment, and even perhaps being wrong—to make the decisive move that breaks the bound­aries of normal life and lets us come out on the other side. An honest sense of hope, a sincere and embodied sense of tragedy—and enough tempered righteous anger to remedy at least some of that tragedy.

That’s the dangerous dream of communism. It has little to do with drab concrete housing blocks, or polluting Trabant cars, or secret KGB agents, or nuclear warheads, or military marches, or mad dictators, or any of the things we usually associate with communism. We can even detach it from any specific vision about who owns the factories or how the eco­nomy is governed.

Real communism, then, in this deeper sense, simply connects to the det­er­mination to do what it takes to bring about a post-capitalist society. By definition, a communist society is that which dialectically flows from, and transcends, capitalist society and in which everyday life is governed and coordinated by another logic than economic capital. This logic must be less cruel and more rational, more in line with human needs and higher stages of inner development. It is a holistic, human­ized version of mod­ernity. Communism, in this deeper and generalized sense, is holis­tic post-­capi­tal­ism—plus the mor­ally driven determ­ination to achi­eve it.

The communists of the 19th and 20th centuries were wrong about a num­ber of issues concerning the dynamics and attractors of modern so­cieties and their economies. And this led to some terrible mis­takes, the worst of which was trying to force institutions into being with­out corr­es­­ponding develop­ments of psy­chology, behavior and culture (see this article on why communism failed); leading to jamm­ed information feedback processes, which in turn led to a fail­ing society, and ultimately to Gulag, surveill­ance, terror and coll­apse.

But some core aspects of communism were not in themselves false, only premature and out-of-context. Thereby I am not saying that bad con­sequen­c­es should be excused on account of good intentions. I am saying that par­tial truths should not be discarded on account of guilt-by-association.

What, then, are the communist truths shared by political metamod­ern­ism? One such aspect is the uncompromising moral determination to change the nat­ure of everyday life. Another is that there is in­deed some­thing that comes after capitalist relations, and that one can align one­self with such an emergence because it rhymes with discernable stages of techno­logical and societal development. A third aspect is that there should be a collect­ively intelligent form of governance based upon a more radical and deeper form of demo­cracy than representative party politics. A fourth one is that there should be a world-centric party (or meta-party) that takes on a transnation­al and even tran­scendental role of trans­forming soc­iety from a global perspec­tive, and that there should be some kind of van­guard who develops and spreads a shared theo­retical and organizational basis for such work. And a fifth, and last one, is that such a process-oriented party should rely upon the dialectics inhe­rent to society in order to guide its development and to gain power.

The Nordic ideology is, obviously, not communism. It may be revol­u­tion­ary, developmental and dialectical—but it is strictly non-violent. It works with other attractor points and it has other goals altogether. It sha­res the solemn vengefulness of communism, its tem­pered indignation: the grit, fire and guts to change a society that simply isn’t good enough, to achi­eve a higher stage of development, and to serve a deeper equ­ality.

Hanzi Freinacht is a political philosopher, historian and sociologist, author of ‘The Listening Society’, ‘Nordic Ideology’ and the upcoming books ‘The 6 Hidden Patterns of History’ and ‘Outcompeting Capitalism’. Much of his time is spent alone in the Swiss Alps. You can follow Hanzi on his facebook profile here, and you can speed up the process of new metamodern content reaching the world by making a donation to Hanzi here.

[i]. This is a posi­tion Marx at least partly revised after the 1871 Paris Commune, when “communard” workers revolted in Paris and held the city for two months before being beaten back.