New Book: The Listening Society by Hanzi Freinacht is now available as paperback and Kindle eBook

As any self-respecting philosopher, Hanzi Freinacht wrote this book while living alone in the Alps, overlooking a majestic mountain view.

In a sweeping move across history, politics and developmental psychology Hanzi works his way through the modern world, leaving in his wake a trail of crushed opponents and shattered, out-dated ideas. Full of jokes, poetry and exaggerated postures, often bordering on the arrogant and obscene, he takes strides to equip the reader with a powerful understanding of our day and age.

As we move from the industrial age and its nation state to an internet age with a globalized postindustrial market a question presents itself: What is the next major developmental stage of society after the liberal democracy with a balance between capitalism and welfare state?

In this book Hanzi Freinacht offers a compelling answer to this question. We are reaching the limits of modern society and we must work to achieve a metamodern society, that is, a society which goes beyond modern life and its institutions. The metamodern society of the future is a listening society; a society more sensitive to the inner dimensions of human beings.

Drawing upon an elaborate weaving of psychology, sociology, political science and philosophy this book lands in a positive vision for the future. It shows how a clear description of human psychological growth – how we grow as human beings – can also offer us key insights into how global society can and should evolve in the internet age. A politics that can help humans grow to the later stages of psychological development is also one that can be capable of meeting the staggering challenges of our time.

In the first part of the book Hanzi examines the politics and culture of the Nordic countries and shows how these progressive societies offer a fertile ground for metamodern politics. The basis of such metamodern politics is also described. In the second part of the book he turns to developmental psychology, describing how humans evolve through a series of stages – and how this matters immensely for the happiness and survival of us all.

As this story unfolds – in a uniquely provocative genre breaking manner – you will also glean insight into your own developmental stage and those of people around you.

Read with caution.

The Listening Society is available as paperback and can be bought here, and the Kindle eBook version is available here. Enjoy.


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10 thoughts on “New Book: The Listening Society by Hanzi Freinacht is now available as paperback and Kindle eBook

  1. Sounds very interesting… but as a member of the listening society I’m waiting for the book to come as a audio book (preferably on Storytel)

    1. Glad you’re interested. Unfortunately we don’t have any plans for an audio book, we simply don’t have the resources for a project like that, so I wouldn’t hold my breath. 😉

  2. This is very promising indeed. Finally, a way to efectvely resist the spreading tentacles of the extreme right with something that is new and might make sense to the disgruntled masses.
    I spent 3 months in Stockholm as teenager when my father was a guest researcher at the Karolinska institute a very long time ago.
    I have always wanted to return and have been sharing the New Yorker article with friends and relatives.
    Skol !

  3. Dear Hanzi (E&D), congratulations on your first book the listening society. It is the most interesting book I have read for a very long period. I have already ordered your next books The Nordic Ideology and The 6 Hidden Patterns of World History on (so go finish them).

    I have a short question after your book: Who am I?

    I am a privilege, middle aged, white, heterosexual man with wife and four children (please do not stop reading dear postmodernist). My teenage daughter constantly accuses me of being too hetero normative and not open enough to queer theory. She´s probably right and I try to adapt. But maybe the reason we look a little different on life is that she’s in a different life phase than I am (I hope that the perspective of life phases and how we look at life will be dealt with in your next book because it is one of the few things missing in the listening society).

    I have three post graduate educations and a good job as head of a Living Lab, which works with sustainable cities and green growth. I come from a family where there are equal number of craftsmen, architects and engineers as well as teachers and priests. It has given me a respect for the work of the hand and the mind, the concrete and the creative.

    I read the listening community as a campaign for the importance of the creative class and its aristocracy in the listening society. But what about all the people taking care of infrastructure, housing, transport, hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, production of energy, food, self driving cars computers and so on. Even in a more post material world someone has to support the basic “physiological” and “safety” needs in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. How do we ensure the sustainable production of the material basis in the listening society? It is hardly the Hackers, Hipsters and Hippies that operates the technology of the 4. Industrial generation or secure the production of co2 neutral energy and materials processed in the circular economy. (I hope the ones ensuring the sustainable production of the material basis in the listening society will get some credit in the The Nordic Ideology – because they deserve it)

    Politically, I entered social democracy in the 1990s under Svend Auken, where sustainable development became the official policy of social democracy. I have always been attracted to green idealism, but I am also a pragmatist and have had difficulty with some of the idealists ‘uninformed naivety, the lack of recognizing that geopolitics is still largely governed by Faustians and “Post” – Faustian codes and that the modern codes in this respect is one step in the right direction. I was a member of Social Democracy until 2013, where Bjarne Corydon lifted the “competition state” to the new goal of the social democratic project. Gone were the ideals of the sustainable welfare society. The social democracy was for me no longer idealistic pragmatism but pure pragmatism.

    In 2014 I donated several thousand to the Alternative and hoped that they would work for a new green pragmatic idealism and a new political culture. I participated in a few discussions and a political laboratory and met a few well-meaning people from the astrological precariat flying around in a dream, without the sense of pragmatism or basic system comprehension. I stayed in the Alternative until 2016, where the Alternative in the parliament indirectly voted to buy oil and gas for about 10 years in Putin´s Russia and Kong Saudi´s Saudi Arabia instead of using the oil money from the North Sea to accelerate the green energy transition of Denmark.

    To me the alternative became so symbolically idealistic that they in practice counteracted the realization of its own goals. To me it shows that the Alternative still lacks the ability to make informed politics. The Alternative did show a direction a positive narrative, which pointed to the future and beyond the postmodernist´s critical thinking and deconstruction. The Alternativ has focus on the process, but has not found the formula for the optimal interaction between hierarchy – democracy, knowledge – not knowledge, idealistic naivety – honest pragmatism, professionalism – serious playing and how to handle social cohesion across people on different levels of development. (Hallelujah, I look forward to read in Nordic Ideology, how you will open up the potentials of these interactions in practice).

    Now I’m back in social democracy, where the “competition society” is rejected as ideal. Pragmatism still rules but ideals and balances are back again and sustainability plays a key role in the new principle program of 2017. Social democracy was born in the modern, has survived and partially adapted to postmodern criticism. I see social democracy as being well prepared to transform it into being the leading party in a green meta modern and more listening society. It was the social democracy that raised the population away from the bottom steps of Marslows pyramid of needs and I think that the social democracy will be the leading party, which moves the population to the top steps of Marlow’s pyramid of needs. The social democrats listen to many not only the creative class and the precariat.

    And so to my question: Am I a run away Alternativ, a green idealistic meta – modern social democrat with a strong solidarity with the ones that secures the material basis for the listening society? (if they exist…) Or am I just a traditional eco modernist who believes that technology and the social-democratic focus on pragmatic idealism is the only way to a sustainable world?

    Or do I have to oscillate between the different positions, between pragmatic idealism and idealistic pragmatism.

    Good luck with your new books. I hope I can get the answer in your future books.

    All the best

    Jesper Steenberg

    1. Dear Jesper,

      The reading of “The Listening Society” in part itself an “effective value meme test”. People can buy its narrative for good or bad reasons, and they can reject it for good or bad reasons. But still, it iss unlikely that people who are genuinely at the effective value meme late modern will find the book engaging, credible or interesting.

      The book’s style also specifically targets the late postmodern mind, which means that people who are too invested in modernist worldviews tend to find it confusing (at best, appalling at worst).

      If you want a serious self-assessment in terms of value meme, you need to go through all the four dimensions and check for pathologies. Most people will tend to not see or admit their blindspots and assess themselves higher than they should, which of course is a problem. But look at your worst and best experiences in life (state variability), how you feel on average (state) what still haunts you and what you have learned (integrated states into depth or not), what drives you (depth), how many real ideas or innovations you have had (complexity) and how often you feel your teenage daughter catches you being in trouble with having consequential values (code) — and you will get rough idea. Just be very brutal with yourself.

      About social democracy and the future of politics, yes, I do believe that there is — in principle — a strong basis for a metamodern political program there. If you give us your email, we can send a report we wrote for the Swedish Social Democrats some years ago, a manifesto for a Social Democracy 2.0. In practice, of course, most people who are social democrats don’t really see the new emerging “global-information-high tech-transformative science” and thus stick too much with what I feel are increasingly trivial interests given the high stakes of the global system (focusing on worker wages, safe employments, jobs).

      For your question about all the workers in infrastructure, I think we must come to terms with the very real possibility that many of these jobs will be automatized, and that we may need to move a considerable amount of the workforce into a more “listening” jobs, as more and more of society depends on our inner lives — *and* we will need to reinvent more practical jobs that somehow fit into the postindustrial, robotized economy. The whole process requires a richer society in terms of social trust and perspective taking, as so many lives need to transform with the changing structures. But in principle, yes, I do believe that the traditional working class is a waning interest group, and that the economic middle class no longer rerpresents a substantive ideological grouping.

      Thanks for taking your time, Hanzi

  4. This sounds interesting and I’d like to read the e-book but I don’t have kindle. Any plans for releasing a e-pub version?

  5. Hi Hanzi
    After reading a bit about Metamodern theory I am very keen to read more of your work. Unfortunately I am in Australia and my local amazon, with which my kindle is registered, does not have The Listening Society listed. Is there any other way I could go about acquiring a copy of the ebook for my reading?