Metamodernism and You

(Nate Savery) #1

After reading this article explaining the concept of Metamodernism by Seth Abramson, I was surprised that a search on Infinite Conversations did not yield numerous instances of folks using this term, particularly after the aforementioned article closely connected the term with Infinite Jest and DFW.

Quoted from another article responding to the aforementioned Abramson piece:
The first use of metamodernism dates back to the 1970s, was primarily developed in 2011 by Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker (of, and has many other influential proponents (Hanzi Freinacht of, Seth Abramson[…])

I’m sorry that I don’t currently have the wherewithal to summarize the concept of the Metamodern here, but I invite you to read the article(s) above, and more here, to get a sense of it.

It seems to me that many of the goals and dynamics of the Cosmos cooperative itself and the interests expressed within Infinite Conversations, may be considered distinctly metamodern. I certainly consider myself a metamodernist in most or all respects, and have been aligned with these metamodern perspectives for the majority of my adult life. I’m surprised I’ve not encountered this term, as it does seem like a relatively coherent ‘discourse demographic’ bucket to describe many of us and our common resonances.

Interestingly, I came across the concept in an illuminating piece by Abramson discussing the dynamics of ‘alt-right’ trolling communities, where Abramson situates the alt-right as another sort of (far less healthy) metamodernists.

I feel like this concept is rich and may be generative for our consideration in this forum, and I hope others feel the same. I look forward to hear what you all think of Metamodernism, and hope to share more of my own thoughts in the future also.


Globes, by Peter Sloterdijk – Conversation 2 [1/11]
Salmon Run - by Paul Maylone
Cosmos Café – Upcoming Events & Archive
(T J Williams) #2

Yes, good stuff, @natesavery, thanks for sharing!

Typically scattered thoughts:
My own gut response to the various essays was the same as in some of the subsequent comments: well, this is just Hegel: modern thesis, postmodern antithesis, and now “metamodern” synthesis but that led me to an intriguing polarity (not necessarily oppositional duality) of
"nothing new here" and “well, it’s about time!”

The positive take-away for me at the moment was the notion of “changing the game”. The history reader in me notes that we have changed the game many times before, and though often this was forced by environmental and social conditions nevertheless recognition of benefits has made for some real progress. Yes, progress - which truly is a word those of us educated under unspoken postmodern assumptions tend to say as we sneeze. :wink: (That I cannot even let this sentence stand without assuring the reader that I know “progress” is uneven and precarious from some points of view is telling…) But at least a stand is being made here, and that is refreshing:

“While the inconclusive character of postmodernism was figuratively a ‘work-in-progress’, metamodernism is explicitly working on progress, pledged to the reconstruction of society.”

On terms, I hasten to add, that seem to remain fully cognizant of the nightmares of yesteryear’s “utopian” theories.

It will be very interesting to see where this goes…

(john davis) #3

At a party, East Village, during Reagan’s first term, a one eyed acupuncturist, with a beer in his hand, mentioned the New Age. My ear perked up. It was the first, but not the last time that I would here that we were in the New Age. I recognized that many of us felt different and this was a good way to make sense of the explosion of interest in the occult and magic and eastern philosophy that seemed to spawn a lot of pagan stores with crystals and meditation circles and political resistance, etc. Postmodernism was happening too but we didn’t really call anyone postmodern until the postmodern was already over. The New Age lost its charm very quickly and was used to put someone down. Only recently have I bothered to try to get clear about what Postmodernism was by reading so called Postmodernists. Some of it is great, some of it is awful. You can fill in the blanks in lots of different ways.

I have heard alter-Modern as an add on to the Modern label and now we have another add on, the Metamodern. I am a little wary of titling an era or a period while it is happening. Integral was batted around in certain intellectual circles. What I’m most attracted to is the Emergent Age. I think that this Emergent Age is a break from the previous post-post whatever trends we have come up with.

Labels which are used in order to dismiss others is an ever present danger. I always hated it when people assumed that they knew something about me because I was ‘gay’. The label meant so little really. Then over night we all became queer. Then LGBTQ-go figure! No one to my knowledge has ever sat down and had a committee meeting about what we should be called. It seems a mysterious process.

I really don’t care what we call the next phase of our socio-bio-cultural development but I HOPE IT HAPPENS SOON!

Gandhi was once asked by a reporter what he thought about Western Civilization. He said, dryly, that it was a good idea.

(Ed Mahood) #4

I’m with @patanswer: very interesting reads, truly. I also have a very uncomfortable relationship with the word “progress” because most people that use it assume some sort of inevitability associated with it. We should always remember that better is the enemy of the good.

I’m with @johnnydavis: very wary of labels, for it’s too easy to hit someone with a label and be done with it; how do we know what it is till it has really established itself. Of course, I also have an uncomfortable relationship with prefixed anythings.

As @madrush would confirm, I agree with Dwight Macdonald that the whole left-right political dichotomy was obsoleted even before I was born (and that’s saying something). The referenced pages are, however, full of leftist politics that are really only relevant to the US. Angela Merkel is more conservative (right, in common parlance) than I can stomach, but she’s far-left compared to US Republicans on just about any non-trade issue. The absolute relativity of the notionality undoes it as a useful label for where we need to be headed politically.

Having said that, though, I’m with the websiters in so far as we need to seriously recast our cognitive, affective, and social interactions in ways that are more direct, consensual, and reflective of actual needs beyond one’s own personal interests. I, too, shall be very interested to see where this goes.

(Marco V Morelli) #5

Metamodernism and who? Me? But how could I meta-modern if, as Latour argues, I have never been modern in the first place?!

I’ve heard about Metamodernism before and read a few articles, and have had it in an open tab to get back to, because it looked like an interesting take on the ‘post-postmodern,’ which is generally where I situate myself when I’m not post-post-postmodern or non-modern to begin with.

Reading the articles you shared, @natesavery, I get a clearer idea of the set of mental attitudes which the term connotes, though I don’t really see the thinking that gets one there. It’s presented more as a conclusion (an ideology, though not a bad one) than an invitation to thought. I like the answer, but like a math problem, part of me wants to say, ‘Show me the work!’

For example, Ken Wilber basically lands in the same place as Metamodernism, however, he has a pretty detailed developmental theory, epistemology, and ontology that undergirds his ‘Integral approach’ as a worldview-product. Integral Theory also has as a richer sense of personal practice to go with it…though it’s weaker in the social domain because it privileges the meta over the concrete.

But I do think the term ‘Metamodernism’ is pointing to a real place on the intellectual map, which is also named (in overlapping aspects) by other terms, though I would challenge the implication (if it’s there) that the proper sequence for people to grow through is from ‘pre-modern’ to ‘modern’ to ‘post-modern’ to ‘meta-modern’. Latour, I believe, also questions this type of narrative, which I would also say might be confusing development with evolution (the latter not being predictable & linear), and doesn’t describe alternative paths on might take to similar views.

W/r/t David Foster Wallace, I’ve read through both Infinite Jest and the Pale King with groups, including academic Wallace scholars, and the term ‘metamodernism’ has never come up. So I don’t know where that claim that DFW started this ‘cultural revolution’ comes from, though I can see the connection, or why one might describe him as metamodern rather than postmodern (a label he rejected). But he was MUCH more than either of those labels as a writer and artist.

It would be cool to have some kind of 4D visual map of all these concepts, their overlaps and interconnections. I don’t see them merely as labels, but as places we can go in our interpretation of the world, with certain implications for how and ‘where’ we live.

(john davis) #6

I think post-modern is actually more a form of late modern. I feel that we have reached pretty much a dead end. Most post-moderns, for all of their brilliance,are arm chair radicals.

I am an action oriented kind of guy, except when I’m not. I know how to serve a martini and make polite conversations and I can also dig a ditch and empty a bed pan. I believe very strongly in a first person account that goes along a continuum with 3rd person accounts. I see fuzzy logic in most discourse is created by the lack of the concrete and by the advancement of really vapid abstraction. I believe Marco recognized this tendency and labeled it accurately. I would add that going meta can just be another form of advanced masturbation, another form of self-excitement but leaves us unsatisfied. As I mentioned elsewhere I felt Integral didn’t assist people with dealing with the Emergent. That is unpredictable and cant be found on a flow chart in a text book. And I love flow charts!

I am very attracted to meta-spaces and hope we can co-evolve and adapt with more refined meta-skills. I do not reject that capacity in myself or an another. Many of us can sense how our culture over values what we have cognitive access to. Our vocabulary is not in our control, and we cant like Humpty Dumpty make words mean whatever we say they mean.

(douglas duff) #7

Highly recommend checking out The Listening Society by the Metamoderna crew/“Hanzi Freinacht” to gain a comprehensive sense of the metamodern mentality and its application beyond art/pop-culture. Though not for everyone, I can easily see fellow postees here concluding its contents as the most riveting ride of sensing reality since being introduced to your favorite philosopher.

I believe this book is really the first truly acceptable or reasonable approach to the socio-political realm of Wilber’s Integral Theory. The author states that he owes much to Wilber’s framework/philosophy and is not afraid to take it into the realm of the concrete. The first half of the book lays down the political metamodern philosophy in quite the persuasive manner.
Whereas Wilber is seeking to further the integral synthesis of the personal/religious realm as seen in his latest book The Religion of Tomorrow and rehashing his theory in Trump and The Post-Truth World (which, in my opinion, really does not add much new thought into how we are to address the world we see unraveling before us), The Listening Society is the best accumulation of thought into this how.
The second half of the book is debatable, often changing the specific semantics of integral theory to seemingly create a new model, though it has a truly “detailed developmental theory, epistemology, and ontology” in its own right…maybe it should not be brushed aside. I would like to know what some of you here think. I have not mentioned the ideas presented, for I do not know if I could do it justice. Much of the Metamoderna website has excerpts from the book, but the site comes of as a bit amateurish compared to reading The Listening Society.
If interested, I have a Kindle edition and would kindly loan it out to you.

(douglas duff) #8

Forgot to mention the stellar podcast episode that introduced me to the term “metamodern” … if no time for or interest in reading the book, do listen.

(Marco V Morelli) #9

Hi @Douggins, thanks for your post. You are second person recently to suggest The Listening Society to me, and it’s been on my reading list since another mention of ‘metamodernism’ also came my way. The concept generally sounds good to me, from the little I’ve read so far. Beautiful title for a book, too. I went ahead and 1-click purchased the Kindle version.

I will say, however, based on the first few pages, that I wonder how much is really going to be fresh, other than the author’s attitude, which I could take or leave. I appreciate the Nietzschean flavor…to a point. I don’t particularly need to be convinced of developmentalism either. In general, I’m not on the market for another ‘ism.’ But I’ll hear the guy out!

“The Great Hanzi Freinacht.” I used to call myself “Marco the Great,” when I was 6 years old. I made my own pretend World Wrestling Federation championship belt, and used to climb up on the furniture and practice flying body slams on my younger brother. In retrospect, my Cobra Clutch was just a primal form of assisted yoga. Of course, when my older, meaner cousin, came over, I was suddenly on the receiving end of this play.

I certainly appreciate the focus on metamodernism in terms of a political philosophy; we do need fresh thinking in this area. Perhaps some other folks will also pick up the book and we could unpack it together.

(douglas duff) #10

(I cannot imagine giving a spoiler alert to a philosophy book, but…)

One thing to note, which is useful when criticizing the structure and voice of the book, is that Hanzi is their pen name (a couple of fellas or possibly a whole crew of Metamoderna individuals). Their creation (possibly inspired by The World’s Most Interesting Man commercials and also Fashion Santa) of the ideal philosopher is, as you imply, appreciable and negligible…thus the metamodern perspective. They could hardly give a damn whether you read, but their life depends upon it.

The writing comes off as pretentious/sophomoric, intentionally provocative at the expense of losing 75% of its readers. I suppose beyond the Reverse Psych.101 marketing ploy leading the reader to a position of “oh yeah?! I’ll prove you wrong by reading your book!”, it is a valiant attempt to demonstrate the metamodern philosophy to the public. The more I let it sit on the shelf, the finer it becomes when I have another acquired taste.

Side Thought: When examining the roots of this book, I began wondering if a collaborative effort to create a persona to promote a core political philosophy is not such a bad idea. Sure, it is achieved frequently through political measures, such grooming the next political candidate to fit the public’s needs and desires… so why not just create a candidate, such as a hologram of Lincoln, voice, writing and all?

(Marco V Morelli) #11

A band of Merry Pranksters! What fun and high irony. I’ll play along. But indeed: in creating a meta-persona (sort of like Anonymous, but less…faceless) there is political aesthetic I can appreciate. In another topic @johnnydavis54 called it a ‘politics that embraces paradox.’ Of course, any particular play will have its limitations of character and effect, which are worth noting. But the positive possibilities seem worth the experiment. Is there a literary payoff? I’m curious. Something to stimulate a broader political imagination?

I have only read a few pages of the book. Let me see how the stinky cheese ages after I leave it out for a couple days…

(douglas duff) #12

I am new to the political game, so it easily broadened my imagination. Payoff? I have Siri-listened to it once while tractor mowing hours at a time, re-read most of it at least once, and presented it to a liberal Quaker First Hour meeting with positive response, and I do not necessary like the book. If you do not have a chance to read it I might take a stab at a summary/take-away if interested.

See The Alternative political party of Denmark to get a tangible idea of a ‘politics that embraces paradox.’ Again, I know nothing about politics/social theory, but something about all this really resonates.

December 9th Edit: here is a recent article connecting Swedish politics with this Metamodern philosophy - New Yorker Essay

(Jim Trattner) #14

Thank you for the Dec 9th New Yorker edit. It really helped illuminate what you guys had been debating in the thread regarding the semantics around the concept, Metamodernism. Reading about a Swedish political experiment filled me with hope. It also stimulated in me a renewed interest in what Infinite Conversations has to offer. Meta this and meta that gets a bit tedious for my taste, but doing something (anything) seems to energize my aging neurons. Props to the NewYorker for continuing to clarify complicated happenings around the world. If I were younger…well that’s not going to happen, is it?

(douglas duff) #15

Ha! I am still bracketed in the 25-40 age range and feel “too old” most of the time to be a part of doing something, anything. It can be quite difficult to find something to believe in, especially for an apolitical chap on this side of the screen. Metamodern politics is grounded though and they don’t seem to be in any rush. This article really does depict the tangible possibilities for change in the right direction. Right now the ‘movement,’ if it can be considered such a thing, is just a few young folks in Scandinavian countries. My novice political intuitions see it maturing soon though especially as a true change becomes necessary.

Hope to see us articulate and spread similar ideas here and elsewhere.

(douglas duff) #16

The following is from the Appendix of The Listening Society . This should provide a solid image of the metamodern “direction.” Many of the tenets align with the Cosmos Co-op mission/philosophy and the conversations held on the Infinite Commons.


¡ To be exquisitely ironic and sincere, both at once.
¡ To be both extremely idealistic and extremely Machiavellian.
· To see that God is dead and humanism dying (humanism is the hum­an­­ity-centered worldview originating in the Renaiss­ance) and to accept and celebrate this by taking meaning-creation into one’s own hands.
· To intellectually see, and intuitively sense, the intimate inter­connected­ness of all things: “the universe in a grain of sand.”
¡ To accept and thrive in the paradoxical, self-contradictory, alwa­ys in­com­plete and broken nature of society, culture, and reality itself.
· To have a general both-and perspective. But note that it is not either “both-and” or “either-or”—rather, it is both “both-and” and “either-or”. In each case, it is still possible to have well-argued pre­ferences:
Ÿ both political Left and Right (and neither one!);
Ÿ both top-down and bottom-up governance;
Ÿ both historical individuals and social structures;
Ÿ both objective science and subjective experience;
Ÿ both cooperation and competition;
Ÿ both extreme secularism and sincere spirituality.
¡ To accept and thrive in both manifesting, systematizing philo­sophy (like Plato or natural science) and non-manifesting, pro­cess oriented, open-ended philosophy (like Nietzsche or crit­ical social science).
¡ To recognize the impermanence of all things, that life and exist­ence are always in a flow, a process of becoming, of emer­gence, imman­ence and ever-present death.
¡ To see normal, bourgeois life and its associated normality and profess­ional identity as insufficiently manifesting the great­ness and beauty of existence.
¡ To assume a genuinely playful stance towards life and existence, a play­ful­ness that demands of us the gravest seriousness, given the ever-pres­ent potentials for unimaginable suffering and bliss.


¡ To respect science as an indispensable form of knowing.
¡ To see that science is always contextual and truth always tenta­tive; that reality always holds deeper truths. All that we think is real will one day melt away as snow in the sun.
¡ To understand that different sciences and paradigms are simul­tan­eously true; that many of their apparent contradictions are superficial and based on misperceptions or failures of translation or integration.
· To see that there are substantial insights and relevant knowledge in all stages of human and societal development, including tribal life, poly­theism, traditional theology, modern industrialism and postmodern criti­que. In another book, I call this the evolution of “meta-memes”.
¡ To celebrate and embody non-linearity in all non-mechanical matters, such as society and culture. Non-linearity, in its simpl­est definition, means that the output of a system is not proport­ional to its input.
¡ To harbor a case sensitive suspicion against mechanical models and lin­ear causation.
· To have “a systems view” of life, to see that things form parts of self-organ­izing bottom-up systems: from sub-atomic units to atomic parti­cles to molecules to cells to organisms.
· To see that things are alive and self-organizing because they are falling apart, that life is always a whirlwind of destruction: the only way to create and maintain an ordered pattern is to create a corresponding disorder. These are the principles of autopoiesis: entropy (that things degrade and fall apart) and “negative en­tropy” (the falling apart is what makes life possible).
¡ To accept that all humans and other organisms have a connect­ing, over­arching worldview, a great story or grand narrative (a religion, in what is often interpreted as being the literal sense of the word: some­thing that connects all things) and therefore accept the necessity of a grande histoi­re, an overarching story about the world.
The meta­modernist has her own unapolog­etically held grand narrative, synth­esizing her available under­stand­ing. But it is held lightly, as one recog­nizes that it is always partly fictional—aproto­synthesis.
· To take ontological questions very seriously, i.e. to let questions about “what is really real” guide us in science and politics. This is called the onto­logical turn.


¡ To see the fractal nature of reality and of the development and applicability of ideas, that all understanding consists of reused elements taken from other forms of understanding.
· To be anti-essentialist, not believing in “ultimate essences” such as matt­er, consciousness, goodness, evil, masculinity, fem­ininity or the like—but rather that all these things are contextual and interpretations made from relations and comparisons. Even the today so praised “rela­tionality” is not an essence of the uni­verse.
¡ To no longer believe in an atomistic, mech­anical universe where the ultimate stuff is matter, but rather to view the ultimate nature of reality as a great unknown that we must metaphorically cap­ture in our sym­bols, words and stories. To accept the view of a world being newly born again and again.
¡ To see that the world is radically, unyieldingly and completely socially con­st­­ructed, always relative and context bound.
· To see that the world emerges through complex interactions of its parts and that our intuitive understandings tend to be much too static and mono-causal. This is called complexity. It is the fundamental principle of not only meteorology but also of social psychology, where patterns (such as the “self”) emerge through the interactions of inter­related, inter­dependent dividuals.
· To accept the necessity of developmental hierarchies—but to be very critical and careful with how they are described and used. Hierarchies are studied empirically, not arbitrarily assu­med.
¡ To see that language and thereby our whole worldviews travel through a much greater space of possible, never-conceptualized worlds; that lan­gua­ge is evolving.
¡ To look at the world holistically, where things such as scientific facts, per­spectives, culture and emotions interact (this form of interactivity is called hypercomplexity, because it involves not only many interacting units, but interacting perspectives and qualitatively different dimens­ions of reality, such as subjective vs. object­ive reality).
¡ To see that information and management of information is fund­a­mental to all aspects of reality and society: from genes to mem­es to mo­ney and sci­ence and political revolutions.
¡ To ­accept an informational-Darwinian view of both genes (org­anisms) and memes (cultural patterns) competing to survive thr­ough a process of dev­elop­mental evol­ution that involves neg­ative selection (that dis­favored genes and memes go extinct, but continue to exist as poten­tials).
¡ To see that Darwinian evolution depends equally on mutual co­oper­a­tion and competition; that competition and cooperation are always inter­twined.
¡ To see the dynamic interplay of the universal and the particular, where for instance humans in more complex societies become more individ­ual­ized, which in turn drives the development of more complex societ­ies where people are more interdependent and more universal values are needed to avoid collapse.
· To see that the world runs on dialectic logic, where things are always broken, always “stumbling backwards” as it were; that things are always striving for an impossible balance and in that acc­idental movement create the whole dance that we experience as reality. So the develop­ment of real­ity does have directionality, it’s just that we are always blind to this direct­ion; hence the metaphor of “stumbling backwards”.
· To see that reality is fundamentally open-ended, broken, as it were, even in its mathematical and physical structure, as shown in Gödel’s incomp­lete­ness theorem and in some of the core find­ings of modern physics.
· To recognize that potentials and potentiality, rather than facts and act­ual­­ities, constitute the most fundamental or “more real” reality. What we usu­ally call reality is only “actuality”, one slice of an infinitely larger, hyper­­complex pie. Actuality is only a “case of” a deeper reality, called “absolute totality”.
· To explore visions of panpsychism, i.e. that consciousness is every­where in the universe and “as real” as matter and space. But panpsych­ism should not be confused with animistic visions of all things having “spirits”.


¡ To take existential and spiritual matters very seriously; to view human­ity, intelligence and consciousness as expressions of high­er principles inherent to the universe.
· To recognize that the esoteric, spiritual disciplines and wisdom tradit­ions East and West relate to real insights of great signifi­cance—a recog­nition of the importance of mysticism.
¡ To have a careful, unknowing and explorative mindset in matters of spirit­ual­ity and existence.
¡ To understand that elevated, expanded subjective states relate to higher exist­ential and spiritual truths than do most of the exper­ien­ces of everyday life.
· To see that inner experience—and the direct development of the sub­ject­­ivity of organisms—is crucial to all things, and is perhaps the main ingred­ient lacking in the perspective of the modern world; acknow­led­ging inner experience is often the golden key to managing society’s problems.
· To take philosophical, cultural and aesthetic matters very serio­us­ly, as they are seen as inherent dimensions of reality, not just “additional woo-woo” on top of physics.
· To create art and architecture that allude to the depth and myst­ery of exist­ence, without putting it “in your face” or trying to tell you what to think or what is real.
¡ To support a democratic, intersubjective, participatory, scienti­fically supp­orted, peer-to-peer created spirituality, rather than traditional paths, teach­ers, gurus or authorities.
¡ To see that both a spiritual and non-spiritual life experience and world­view are fundamentally okay. Spirituality and non-spirit­uality: neither is inher­en­tly better than the other.
¡ To understand that people are fundamentally crazy, that our everyday consciousness is not a sane reflection of reality, but a bizarre, psychotic hallucination that is utterly contingent, made up and arbitrary.
· To intuit that the central spiritual and existential insight is the perfect­ion of absolute totality as it always-already is; that there is a pristine, serene clarity underneath all the chaos and contra­diction; that there is an under­lying elegance even in the often tragic, hell-like experience of life; hidden, as it were, in plain sight. This can be called the recognition of “basic goodness”.


¡ To see no fundamental divide between nature and culture.
¡ To see that we live in a new technological era (the information age), and that human societies evolve through different develop­mental stag­es for better or worse.
· To believe that history has some kind of directionality based on logic, but that this directionality can never be certainly known, only meta­phorically and told as a story—playfully and purpose­fully.
¡ To believe that we can always synthesize the knowledge we have about society to some kind of overarching narrative, a meta-narrative, but that this metanarrative is never taken to be a complete synthesis, but rather always a self-critically held, but necessary protosynthesis.
· To have a nomadic view of social life; knowing that our “self” is part of a social flow, a journey—and that we are becoming more tribal and nomadic in the internet age with our virtual identities.
¡ To celebrate participatory culture and co-creation of society thr­ough non-linear, interactive processes where the whole is more than the sum of its parts.
¡ To see the importance of collective intelligence (not to be con­fused, as it unfortunately often is, with collective conscious­ness, often associated with Carl Jung, etc., which is not part of the metamodern paradigm). Collective int­ell­igence is simply the ability of a group or society to solve pro­blems and respond to collective challenges.
· To understand that technology is not neutral, not just “a tool in our hands”, but that it adopts its own agenda and logic, shaping and steer­ing history.
¡ To see sustainability and resilience as fundamental questions to all social life.
¡ To see that sexuality and sexual development are a widely over­looked centerpiece in the mainstream understanding of all hum­an societies. Sexuality has extra­ordinary explanatory, behavi­oral and predictive po­wer.
· To see “everyday life” as something that humanity can and shou­ld tran­scend in favor of a more actual and authentic form of life and com­munity.
¡ To take the rights and lived experience of all animals very ser­iously, human and non-human. Human society is just a cogni­tive category, and this category can just as well include all cult­ures, all deep-ecolo­gical enti­ties (ecosystems, biotopes) and all sent­ient beings.


· To see that humans are behavioral, organic “robots”, controlled by our responses to the environment, and that we are simul­taneously subject­ive, self-organizing and alive—beings of great existential depth.
· To see that my identity and “self” are not ultimately my body or the voice speaking in my head; or at least that my fundamental identity is not exhausted by that everyday conception of a self (my body plus the voice talking in my head), what is some­times called “the ego”. The ego is just an idea, an object of awareness as any other created category that des­cribes an object.
· To adopt a depth psychology stance towards humanity, seeing that her consciousness is transformable by changing her funda­mental sense of self and sense of reality. This is achievable through psych­o­analysis (or “schizo­analysis”) and love relation­ships as well as athletic, aesthetic, erotic, intell­ect­ual and spirit­ual practices—where contemplative myst­icism stands out as a very valuable path.
· To see that every person has a three-dimensional view of reality of her own, consisting of an ontology (a strong sense of what is real), an ideo­logy (a strong sense what is right) and a self (a strong sense of one’s own place in reality)—and that these three dimensions can be describ­ed in a pattern of sequentially unfold­ing developmental stages.
¡ To see that different human organisms are at fundamentally diff­erent dev­el­opmental stages and therefore display very differ­ent behavioral patterns.
· To understand the transpersonal view of the human being, where her deepest inner depths are intrinsically intertwined with the seemingly rigid structures of society. She is not an individ­ual—her deeper identity reaches through and beyond the indivi­d­ual, the person. The “person” is just a mask, or a role, depend­ent on context. It is not inherent to the individual—even if the human organism can of course be described with behav­ioral science.
¡ To see that in the transpersonal perspective, individual people cannot really be blamed for anything. All moralism is meaning­less. This translates to a radical acceptance of people as they are; a radical non-judgment that can also be described as a civic, impersonal and secular bid to love thy neighbor.
· To see that the human dividual has many layers, that she is both animal, “human” in a multiplicity of roles, and that she has higher pot­entials within herself—and that she is born through the inter­actions, (or even intra-actions) of such layers within diff­erent people.
This has some important imp­lications:
Ÿ The multi-layered psyche has both subconscious, con­scious and supra­­conscious processes (where the supra­conscious processes cons­titute higher and more subtle intelligence than our normal thoughts, such as univer­sal love, philosophical insight, deep artist­ic insp­iration and the like).
Ÿ The higher layers of the psyche follow more general, abstract and universal logics, whereas the lower layers follow cruder, more selfish and concrete logics. But they operate simultaneously and interact with one an­other.
Ÿ The multilayered nature of the dividual psyche means that we can often see unconsc­ious and supra­conscious layers in one another; we can often understand one another better than we understand our­selves. This is what makes practices such as psycho­analysis or psych­iatry poss­ible. It also means that my agency can origin­ate from you and vice versa.
Ÿ This transpersonal perspective holds that our “selves”, even our bodies, are not “sealed” or “auto­nomous”; we develop together in one great, multidim­ensional netw­ork. This network follows a logic that is often largely alien to our individual thought processes and agencies.
¡ To acknowledge the inalienable right of every creature to be who she is.
¡ To have a non-anthropocentric view of reality, where human ex­peri­ence is not seen as the measure of all things.
· To accept the idea that humanity’s biology and fundamental life exper­ience can and will change through science and technology, what is called trans­humanism.
¡ To stretch solidarity towards the highest possible universality: love and care for all sentient beings, in all times, from all pers­pectives, from the greatest possible depths of our hearts.


Capra, F. & Luisi, P. L., 2014. The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision. New York: Cambridge University Press.

The grande histoire of metamodernism is described in the history book of this series.

Brier, S., 2008. Cybersemiotics: Why Information Is Not Enough! Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Barad, K., 2007. Meeting the Universe Halfway. Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. London: Duke University Press.

Many thanks to Hanzi and the Metamodern folks for permitting use of this content.