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 http://www.metamodernism.com), and has many other influential proponents (Hanzi Freinacht of http://metamoderna.org/, 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.

Cheers!


Cosmos Café: Season 2 [April–June, 2018]
Cosmos Café: Season 1 [November, 2017 – March, 2018]
Cosmos CafĂŠ: A Radical Conversation with Terry Patten, author of A New Republic of the Heart [5/15]
Summer Reading Plans / Updating our Cosmos CafĂŠ Hours, Menu, and Format
Cosmos Café: Stare into the lights my pretties—a talk with filmmaker Jordan Brown [2/20]
Globes, by Peter Sloterdijk – Conversation #2
Salmon Run - by Paul Maylone
(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.


(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.

METAMODERN STANCE TOWARDS LIFE

¡ 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.

METAMODERN VIEW OF SCIENCE

¡ 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.
[i]
· 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.
[ii]
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.

METAMODERN VIEW OF REALITY

¡ 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).
[iii]
¡ 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”.

METAMODERN SPIRITUALITY, EXISTENCE AND AESTHETICS

¡ 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”.

METAMODERN VIEW OF SOCIETY

¡ 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.

METAMODERN VIEW OF THE HUMAN BEING

· 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.
[iv]
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.

FOOTNOTES

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

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

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

[iv]
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.


(Eugene Donnini) #17

Metamodernism is primarily a disillusioned, left-wing reaction to modernism and postmodernism, which does not challenge the philosophical and other premises, ideas and ideologies that underlie these modernisms, but has perched itself on a metaphorical fence between them, where it seeks mediations in the form of relationships and intercessions with both, believing this will somehow lead to an increase in knowledge.

Up until quite recently, most material relating to metamodernism has been reticent about defining what exactly metamodernism is, apart from a feelings-based phenomenon in the predominantly left-wing bourgeois arts and literary communities. This is, as far as I know, a first attempt by a metamodernist to write a Manifesto, in other words, a public declaration, a step forward into the arena of serious social, political and philosophical discourse. It is also a step that is fraught with danger because now meta modernists will have to defend their positions (or lack of) and will no longer be able to retreat into aesthetic generalizations, pompous romantic delusions, and vagarities. Imagine my disappointment after reading Turner’s Manifesto and discovering it was nothing more than a further reiteration of the above.

Metamodernism is not an upward or liberating movement but a kind of entrapment spawned from a disillusion with the irrationality of postmodernism ( but still not able to let it go!) and to a lesser degree, modernism; a movement held captive in a kind of willing incarceration by what it finds problematic but lacks the will to challenge or oppose.

1/ ::: "We recognize oscillation to be the natural order of the world."

What does oscillation mean but to move back and forth in a regular rhythm, in other words, to return to the place you started, which meta modernists believe is indicative of the natural order of the world? Perhaps that is the natural order as it relates to their ideas, but the real world is a world marked by indifference. Only in the diminutive human realm is their natural order i.e. a moral source from which natural law seeks to derive its authority.

It was the 18th century Enlightenment period, le Siècle des Lumières (the period of lights) or, The Age of Reason, that was one of the first in human history to derive the source of natural order, not from religious institutions, but from humanity itself, which, at the time, was a relatively new development – a development that gave birth and expression to a range of ideas centred on human reason and scientific empiricism (evidence based knowledge), as the primary sources of authority and legitimacy from which natural order and natural law are determined. This development came to create a set of ideals and implement ideas such as liberty, progress, tolerance, fraternity, constitutional government, the importance of family and family values, individual liberty, private property, free speech, a free press and the separation of church and state…a movement that modernists, and particularly postmodernists, abhorred and mostly rejected.

Outside the human realm of these inventions and discoveries, there is no Ipso facto, natural order, because law and morality do not exist there. A lion, for example, is not moral or ethical when it pounces on its prey; when a volcano explodes it is not concerned with the village below.

It is oscillation alone that has relevance to the relationship metamodernism has to modernism and postmodernism, between which it "oscillates". One is reminded of a prisoner walking back and forth in a cage and occasionally banging his head against the bars.

2/ ::: "We must liberate ourselves from the inertia resulting from a century of modernist ideological nativity and the cynical insincerity of its antonymous bastard child."

There was no modernist movement in philosophy, but only within the arts and the literati, which greatly influenced philosophical thought, and arose out of the rebellious mood at the beginning of the twentieth century. Modernism was a radical, primarily left-wing approach that yearned to revitalize the way modern civilization viewed life, art, politics, and science. This rebellious attitude that flourished between 1900 and 1930 had, as its basis, the rejection of European culture for having become too corrupt, complacent and lethargic, ailing because it was bound by the artificialities of a society that was too preoccupied with image and afraid of change. This dissatisfaction with the moral bankruptcy of everything European led modern thinkers and artists to explore other alternatives, especially primitive cultures. I don’t see any lack of experience, wisdom or judgment in the modernist movement, or any overt naivety although during its later stages it was prone to a few excesses. An important factor to remember here is that the modernists were searching for ways to revitalize Western civilization.

However, Turner’s bastard child, postmodernism was different in terms of its objectives and intent. Vindictive, malevolent and poisoned by resentment, postmodernism was not interested in revitalizing the West but destroying it, root and branch. The reaction against modernism with the rise of the postmodernists would not have been possible without giving MARXISM pride of place in the arts, in literature, philosophy and social science. After the failure of the Fourth Communist Internationale, following the demise of the Soviet Union, Marxist intellectuals had become disheartened by the murderous nature of this regime. But their belief in Marxism still lit up their black souls, and they soon convinced themselves that the Soviet Union wasn’t real socialism anyway, attributing its failure to corrupt leaders and/or their misinterpretation of the holy Marxist writ, of which most believed the mass murderer Leon Trotsky was the true prophet and messiah. They knew Marx’s proletarian dictatorship would probably never succeed through the brute force and genocidal murder, Marx wrote was a prerequisite to Utopia (most of the West’s proletariat actually prospered after WW2), so they decided to employ another method of imposing Marxist ideas and concepts from within the institutions of the West, a kind of intellectually nourished malignancy they hoped would eventually metastasize through the whole body and destroy it.

Let’s take a closer look at postmodernism which shares the metamodernist’s belief in the naivety of the modernist movement. We’ll begin with the works of Antonio Gramsci (the grand old man of contemporary Italian Marxism, who described himself as a postmodernist) whose writings appeared on university and school syllabi along with sociological and other works by Frankfurte Schule Marxists (Jewish and other academic defectors from Soviet and Nazi occupation) and postmodern philosophers such as Foucault, Baudrillard and others. Foucault was well known in France as a radical left activist. Baudrillard was also a man of the left. The focus of his education and work was based on classical Marxism and on the development of a postmodern Marxism, something he and Gramsci had in common.

These philosophers and ideologues were few of many who shared a common goal: to subvert and destroy Western civilization by the insidious injections of Marxist ideology and ideas into its institutions – ideas which in many case were ANTONYMOUS but unambiguously opposed the rights of the individual, the structure of the family, free speech, a free press, private property and so on…ideas that were in essence totalitarian and radically antithetical to the principles of the Enlightenment, which were based on the primacy of truth, reason, human dignity and the freedom and sovereignty of the individual.

Truth, which was the guiding light of the Enlightenment, for the postmodernists was no longer important and was given equal status to lies, the proviso being to use any means necessary if it brought them closer to attaining power and the West closer to total destruction. Satre was right when he said that postmodern philosophy had its beginnings in the inescapable horizon of Marxism.

It is hard to see why Turner and the meta modernists consider postmodernism insincere. It was very sincere about its mission. Turner did mention postmodernism’s use of antonymous (contradictory) ideas and philosophies which he doesn’t seem to oppose, but rather incorporate into metamodernism methodology or whatever you want to call it.

The third declaration of the Manifesto seems, among other things, a pompous acceptance and assertion of the postmodern Marxist use of antonymous ideas:

3/ ::: "The movement shall henceforth be enabled by way of an oscillation, between positions with diametrically opposed ideas operating like the pulsating polarities of a colossal electric machine propelling the world into action."

I’ll examine declaration 4 in two parts, and show how it perfectly illustrates the thrashings of the imprisoned metamodernist mind and movement. The language itself seems trapped:

4/1 ::: "We acknowledge the limitations inherent to all movement and experience and the futility of any attempt to transcend the boundaries set forth therein."

Not very inspiring, but in tune with a metamodernist caged mentality. Let’s look at some of these phrases e.g. the limitations inherent to all movement. What he is saying here is that movement itself is limited. This may, in some cases, be relatively true, (what goes up must come down - Isaac Newton) but in terms of movement itself, is patently false. Simplistically speaking, a horse was once considered the fastest expression of movement. Then came cars, airplanes, spaceships and the possibility of human beings traveling at the speed of light. If we acknowledge the latest findings in the study of physics, even faster speeds may be possible. Special Relativity itself was preceded by Einstein’s own more powerful General Relativity (1915), in which faster than light travel is possible under certain conditions.

As for human experience, it is not separate from movement but has defined and unraveled its possibilities through scientific investigation, again, a fundamental principle of the Enlightenment rejected by most postmodernists, as being merely an expression of Western cultural imperialism, which is far from the truth.

4/2 ::: “The essential incompleteness of a system should necessitate an adherence, not in order to achieve a given end or be slaves to its course, but rather perchance to glimpse by proxy some hidden exteriority. Existence is enriched if we set about our task as ‘if’ those limits might be exceeded for such action unfolds the world.”

A system is a set of principles or procedures according to which something is done; an organized scheme or method, which usually happens for a series of outcomes or specific goals. Turner assumes that systems are incomplete. His assumption is false. There are many systems that are complete and produce goals and outcomes on all levels. For example, in the 19th century the French physicist Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot, who studied thermodynamics, pioneered the development of the concept of a system in the natural sciences. In 1824 he studied the system which he called the working substance (typically a body of water vapor) in steam engines, in regards to the system’s ability to do work when heat is applied to it. The working substance could be put in contact with either a boiler, a cold reservoir (a stream of cold water), or a piston (to which the working body could do work by pushing on it). In 1850, the German physicist Rudolf Clausius generalized this picture to include the concept of the surroundings and began to use the term working body when referring to the system. Here we have an example of a working system that has achieved its goal or given ends.

Perhaps Turner is referring to a political system in which he thinks it would be best for those who strive not to expect to reach a goal or end or be slaves to its course, but in the process of their futile striving, by proxy (the authority given to a group, an organization or individual to act on your behalf) to give you a glimpse of some hidden exterior existence. He then assumes that existence is somehow enriched by all this and that is how the world unfolds, which it seems for meta modernists works best when you let someone or something else unfold it for you.

This is the sort of reasoning you get when art and its fellow travelers want to consider themselves equal to science, as learned, authoritative researchers into the working nature of the world i.e. as discoverers of knowledge and truth.

5/1 :::" All things are caught within the irrevocable slide towards a state of maximum entropic dissemblance."

Let me break this jibberish down. For a start. the phrase all things, since he uses no qualifier, would, as it is written, mean the whole of existence: the stars, the planets, the moon, the earth and every living thing, which Turner sees as caught in a not able to be changed slide towards a state of maximum entropic dissemblance. I would say, in retrospect, this is how meta modernists view themselves! But what does he mean by maximum entropic dissemblance? According to the Cambridge Dictionary, dissemblance means the act of hiding something such as the truth or your real intentions. So what he is saying is that the whole of existence is trapped in a downslide where its real intentions are hidden, intentions that it knows about. This is the literal interpretation of what he has written, which doesn’t seem to make much sense. Let’s see, if by examining the second part, if we can come up with anything close to a clear definition.

5/2 ::: "Artistic creation is contingent upon the origination or revelation of difference therein. Affect at its zenith is the unmediated experience of difference in itself. It must be art’s role to explore the promise of its own paradoxical ambition by coaxing excess towards presence."

Turner’s reference to art is again so badly written and quite difficult to decipher. One can only infer what he means in relation to what he has just said. His muddy references to artistic creation I would say, at a guess, means that art within the context of this dissemblance accentuates what is different by imposing a kind of order on it, which is the revelation of difference, the affect at its zenith. Thus, he concludes by telling us that the role of art is somehow paradoxical and this paradox itself is coaxing excess towards presence. Turner’s writing is like the order out of chaos production of a Google online postmodern text generator! I suppose you could break all this stuff down to one simple paragraph: existence is hiding something from us and art can tell us. little by little, what it is…

The reverence in which Turner and the meta modernists hold art is curious, and why they would want to give it equal status to science even more curious. Turner considers art as some sort of angel of light that brings order to chaos, which is ridiculous. Putting all ethical, moral and virtue signaling considerations aside, historically, art has also brought chaos to order, and has often sold itself like a cheap whore to the highest bidder, enabled the rise to power of Marxist, fascist and Nazi dictators and down through the centuries has been financed by money lenders and other unscrupulous interests. Today, the art and literary establishment are complicit in the repression of free speech, of artistic and literary censorship, and of giving legitimacy to pseudo-scientific Marxist theories and Orwellian government policies and legislation.

6/1 ::: "The present is a symptom of the twin birth of immediacy and obsolescence. Today we are nostalgists as much as we are futurists."

What I think he means here is that we live in the present between the past and the future, where we yearn for the past and dream and hope for a brighter future, and that these experiences and feelings occur simultaneously. So?

6/2 ::: "The new technology enables the simultaneous experience and enactment of events from an in light of new technology in a multiplicity of positions. Far from signaling its demise, these emergent networks facilitate the democratization of history illuminating the forking paths along which its grand narratives may navigate the here and now."

The invention of new technologies in the age of instant communication allows us to examine our immediate/obsolescence from a multiplicity of positions. Turner believes this does not signal any sort of demise, but opens up history in a kind of democratic process - I would add without the concomitant of responsibility - which allows all the past grand narratives from a multiplicity of positions to find their way into the here and now, impact upon it and upon us and thereafter make life better for us all, a proposition for which all evidence is lacking.

What Turner has done is to create a kind of extreme left-wing open border, anything goes policy for history. This mode of thinking is an example of the death throes of degenerate postmodern Marxism, as it presupposes that these grand narratives are somehow equal in terms of their value and contributions to humanity and therefore should be let in and are not to be looked at in any context which would impose value judgments on them. According to metamodernism’s idea of relative grand narratives, the grand narrative of Nazism or extreme Islamic fundamentalism should not be judged, discriminated against or excluded, after all, one grand narrative is as good as another and no one has the right to discriminate, when these narratives are coming at you along those forking paths of history into the here and now, like a million refugees pouring into a country that lacks the resources to sustain and integrate them.

The next proclamation is the most foolish of all and demonstrates the utter Lucy in the sky with diamonds lunacy of metamodernism. What Turner is again reiterating is that art is of equal (not different) value to science as a source of knowledge.

7/ ::: "Just as science strives for poetic elegance, artists might assume a quest for truth. All information is grounds for knowledge, whether empirical or aphoristic, no matter its truth value. We should embrace the scientific-poetic synthesis and informed naivety of a magical realism. Error breeds sense."

Here we see the Marxist equality principle once again stepping in to arbitrate, NO MATTER ITS TRUTH VALUE, between art and science. This is a very revealing phrase, where the value of truth itself, in good old Marxist postmodern style, is devalued or of equal value to other values, or perhaps given no value at all. To be untruthful then, when required, being of equal or more value than the truth.

The statement that science strives for poetic elegance is ridiculous and a little less so the statement artists might assume a quest for truth. The problem being is that the difference between artistic truth and scientific truth is as broad as the grand canyon and twice as deep. Nothing could be further from the truth! Art is capable, at best, of occasional insights and of revealing truths, but truths of quite a different nature to scientific truths. Often, artistic truths are fueled by the biases of political ideology or the need to expound an ethical or moral (or lack of) imperative or position. Scientific truths are devoid of all moral or feeling based presuppositions and are primarily focused on understanding, exposing and utilizing the stuff of the world, through scientific reasoning, usually for the purpose of benefiting humankind and to increase real knowledge about the world, how it works and how it relates to the realm of human existence.

Turner’s belief that all information is grounds for knowledge is true and has some relative value. But this is nothing new. His idea of wrapping up art and science in the same package as a kind of scientific-poetic synthesis is absurd and an illustration of metamodern Marxism disappearing up its own increasingly irrelevant rear end. Turner then hopes that all this will lead to a magical realism, and even if it messes up, the error of doing so will be worth the effort and breed sense. This idea of learning from one’s mistakes is nothing new.

The final proclamation in the Manifesto is yet another example of empty, metamodernist, grandiloquent gobbledygook.

8 ::: " We propose a pragmatic romanticism unhindered by ideological anchorage. Thus metamodernism shall be defined as the mercurial condition between and beyond irony and sincerity, naivety and knowingness, relativism and truth, optimism and doubt, in pursuit of a plurality of disparate and elusive horizons. we must go forth and oscillate!"

The concept of pragmatic romanticism unhindered by ideological anchorage has been one expounded by many postmodern scholars which basically means we should love life more than its meaning which is usually related to a political or religious ideology. But Ideologies can be found at every level of human existence and many have no relation to politics or religion and involve a comprehensive set of normal beliefs. But to love something because it means nothing? Why would you love it then? And let’s say that what you loved was lost or ceased to exist. I mean, if it meant nothing to you in the first place, why would you care about it, grieve for or suffer its loss?

At this stage, Turner and the meta modernists from the confines of their cages lose even the will to act decisively, to take a stand, to grab the metaphorical hammer of truth, will, and reason and dismantle the bars of their cages. But they won’t do that. They would rather remain incarcerated, prisoners of their own devices, sitting on a fence in the middle of a cage, balancing indecisively between and beyond irony and insincerity, naivety and knowledge, relativism and truth, optimism and doubt. In other words, they would rather do nothing or let others do something for them.


(john davis) #18

I’m curious, Doug, if you know the work of Matt Segall? I notice in this brief clip, which follows upon a discussion of Jordan Peterson, some deep and heavy sighs, no doubt activated by the enormous heavy intellectual lifting he is doing. I like the direction that he is going in. He is minor gesturing through the flames of our political wasteland, and as the fires burn, maybe the Phoenix will arise again from the ashes? Some one has to do some narrativizing here no matter how derived it is from the collapsing world we are trying to escape from. We may need to grab a few motifs as we take the leap into a new cosmology. But which motifs? I would be interested in your response as always…maybe a prompt for one of your really weird poems might arise?


(Douglas Duff) #19

I think you are spot on with some of your analysis. One note: this Manifesto “manifested” in 2011. Since then, as some would argue, it has become much more than just an ironic, artistic pseudo-philosophy. There a sort of transpartisian dialogue requested in its political schema, an entreaty to “build a transpersonal trust, cultivate a transpersonal integrity.”

A comment from Freinacht:

The metamodern view of society takes off from this postmodern standpoint and synthesizes the modern and postmodern ideas by studying how abstract patterns of viewing and interacting with the world unfold through a sequence of developmental stages. We can call these stages “metamemes”, as they are very general patterns that structure all of the other memes: from art, to philosophy, to science, to norms and values, to laws and legal systems. This metamodern view of society departs from the postmodern one because it reintroduces a self-critical and provisional understanding of progress. It views society both as a natural object and as a perspective, where neither of these two aspects can be seen as most fundamental and ultimately determining the other.


Maybe this could be considered metamodern…or maybe just some ironic fulfillment of your final statement.

Glad to have your perspective. Perhaps you could analyze these Metamodern views listed above…I do not know how to make heads or tails of it.


(Eugene Donnini) #21

The whole idea of “transpersonal trust” seems to exclude the right: an explicit bias of the Marxist inspired left-wing meta modernist movement. Don’t get me wrong comrades (which you already have) I’m not a right winger or a left winger. Although it seems I have been categorized as “right” with its implicit association with Nazism, which I find objectionable and a clear demonstration of where your true affiliations lie. I suspect you know as much about Marxism as you do about Jordan Peterson.

I suggest you take a bit of time to examine the ideology, theory, and practice of Marxism. For example; the history and nature of the dialectic from Socrates to Marx; the metaphysical basis of Marxism, the Utopianism upon which this whole false doctrine rests. Its analysis of class, science, the theory of value, culture, and hierarchy. Then there is the matter of it being responsible for the deaths of 100 million people, concentration camps, torture and mass starvation…little details you seem to ignore. As meta modernists, you could ask yourselves what in you still insist on giving this mechanistic, outdated 19th-century ideology relevance in the age of instant communication and quantum physics. In case you haven’t noticed, there are no archaic factories that employ child labor in the West. If you want to find those, visit China or the “Rocketman” republic, both based on Marxism. You could pop into Venezuela on the way, share a tin of dog food with the proletariat, or perhaps visit the Cambodian killing fields museum or the mass grave sites in Northern Russia…but then, none of these were real socialism…Liars.

Don’t get me wrong. I still believe the left and right have a role to play in a society that values free speech. Perhaps meta modernists should be asking yourselves are there any “alternatives” to Marxism, or for that matter, extremism in general, including right-wing extremism, which is just as intolerant as the left? Yes, there are alternatives, which would require legal restraints, that allow the left and right a voice in governance, but a “balanced” voice kept in check by legislation, because when things go too far on the right, in other words, far-right, the consequences are not good for a free society. The rise of Nazism during the Second World War is all the proof we need. In terms of the left, we have the rise of the Soviet Union (and other failed Marxist regimes). These regimes were based on a “radical” Utopian ideology, which, by its very nature, is far-left and tolerates no opposition. The ideology of Marxism should be considered with the same repugnancy as the ideology of Nazism. Some may say that this is a breach of freedom of speech. It’s not. It is necessary for its protection. Simply because, as the past demonstrates, the implementation of such doctrines by their very nature completely destroy, not only freedom of speech, but the institutions, values, and foundations of a free society. However, the left and right are not inherently evil. Both have a necessary place in the governance of a free society. The left, because it advocates and defends the rights of the poor and disadvantaged; the right, in terms of ensuring that society is structured and orderly.

We know at what stage the right becomes "toxic" (when it swings too far to the right) and to a great extent, the right itself has drawn the line. Racism, ethnonationalism, the prevalence of sectarianism in politics, are all warning signs that the right is drifting into the ideological quagmires of extremism. But the left has not yet drawn the line in terms of its own limitations, because, under the influence of Marxism, it is not permitted to have a line. This is because the core doctrines of Marxism (classical and contemporary) require absolute control and the total eradication of all opposition. There is no room for negotiation.The left need to completely disavow Marxism, to banish it from its lexicon, to draw the line…


(john davis) #22

And can that happen?

And if the left can completely disavow Marxism, to banish it from its lexicon, to draw the line…what kind of line is that?

And does that line, that you demand that the left draw, have a size or a shape?

And is there anything else about that lexicon after Marxism has been banished?

And when the left has completely disavowed Marxism, then what happens to the Right?

And we, who have transcended Left and Right, do we have a right to know which side is left and which side is right?

And when the Left drifts off into the middle of nowhere, what happens to the Center?

Thanks for sharing Eugene. I’m sure this is a worthy project, getting the Left to disavow Marxism, but it is not one that I take very seriously any more than I would expect the Big Banks to forgive the National Debt.

I imagine that this project is more important for you to decide than it is for me. I am more open to believe a lot of things which I thought impossible a few years ago. Though I appreciate that you may want to guide the group to greener pastures, I dont think you have shown us a very trustworthy map.

And where would “transpersonal trust” come from? The IMF? The Federal Trade Commission? The Federal Reserve?

Is there anything else about that “transpersonal trust” that excludes the right?


(john davis) #23

I have taken some time out to think about Marxism. I also have taken time to reflect upon the insidious ideology of Neo Liberalism that Jordan Peterson promotes and defends. Maybe you could direct your zeal to that task, too?

I have lots of sources to quote from that have reached different conclusions from yours. I believe it is good to have multiple descriptions especially as the there is more than one kind of truth that we are dealing with.

“Mass media is dominated by a small number of media moguls, while schools, universities and research organizations are being transformed into business corporations, snuffing out almost all inquiry that does not support increased profitability, advanced weapons technology, or provide the means for social control. As Marx predicted, commodification has intensified, Science itself, transformed into the knowledge industry, has been almost completely commmodified, and as such, extends false models of reality. All these developments have undermined the quest for truth.” Arran Gare

" In order for the scientist’s work to be possible, to gain importance and to achieve consideration, an innovative scientist has to form alliances with the state or industrial powers, so as to get them to decide that they indeed need the kinds of results he is working to obtain. He has to achieve academic recognition, he has to succeed in mobilizing the world, which includes getting the resources needed, and finally, he has to produce a public representation of this field; to have it accepted as scientific." Isabel Stengers

I dont expect that you are persuaded by my sources nor am I persuaded by yours. I think you and Jordan Peterson have a lot in common, you both have a gift for labeling and dismissing, and giving lectures instead of trying out dialogue. I’m sure you will take that as a compliment.