Where my work stands relative to one of the internet's most nebulous terms
Love your work Scout, so much so.
I found Brendan’s response to Dave Snowden’s haphazard and rather shallow and misplaced bad-faith take on metamodernism to be quite apt. https://www.brendangrahamdempsey.com/post/a-response-to-dave-snowden-s-meta-mugglism
Also, most of the folks I know who have read The Listening Society (the first book by Hanzi Freinacht) would describe it as very progressive (super duper left in its directionality, yet inclusive of all society) rather than merely synthesising all sides of the political spectrum into one “super-saiyan” political worldview.
I’ve lifted a few snippets:—
“Metamodern politics aims to make everyone secure at the deepest psychological level, so that we can live authentically; a byproduct of which is a sense of meaning in life and lasting happiness; a byproduct of which is kindness and an increased ability to cooperate with others; a byproduct of which is deeper freedom and better concrete results in the lives of everyone; a byproduct of which is a society less likely to collapse into a heap of atrocities.”
“Building—or cultivating—the next and deeper layer of social welfare requires the ongoing posing of two questions: How can good conditions and prerequisites for human flourishing and “thrivability” be brought about? How can this be done in a manner that is open, democratic, non-manipulative—without a “creepy” undercurrent of control?”
“It is by looking at deep psychological issues, the inner development of each of us, and how such properties are generated within society, that we address the core of society’s problems.”
“Point being: we’ll never have a harmonious, kind and functional society without extensive inner work being done by many or most of us on a regular basis. And this is where the neo-monastic institutions would be of help: At major transit stations and periods of crisis in life, people would be supported to do the hard work that inner integration requires.”
I guess what I am suggesting is that metamodern politics is often reduced into some sort of centrist middle position that integrates all views—but I think this isn’t quite accurate. But these things have a way of accruing new meaning, or becoming hijacked or subject to memetic drift.
I *love* your conclusion very much. Likewise I struggle with the labels. My friend Joe and I find ‘metamodern’ to be a useful dispositional heuristic (Joe created a playful ‘manifesto’ on it a few years back https://www.joelightfoot.org/post/the-metamodern-solarpunk-manifesto). We struggle with metamodernism alone though, for we have felt that the generally ‘pro civ’ aspect of it doesn’t encompass the sensibilities of Indigenous knowledge systems, and metamodernism itself can sometimes needlessly dismissive of ritual and magic. There’s also an element of infinite games, tricksterism, solarpunk and more—all stars in the vague constellation that might serve as beacons as we stumble our way into the ‘reconstruction that follows the deconstruction’ of post modernism.
I shall leave this overly long comment with gratitude for your work, and a poem by the late Tom Christensen, shared in a private message forum, dubbed “Metamodern #3 ”
We discovered the emptiness of belief.
The debris of contingent truths,
our honored chaos,
gave us only stillborn visions.
that was achievement,
for those leaving certainty behind.
For us in the mess created,
the loss of all foundations,
what was there to do?
Some of us still live in the debris,
honoring it as liberation,
and it is, liberation from.
But liberation to,
is what calls the others of us.
Freedom to build on nothing,
ending up with
fabricated truths again.
This time though,
we know its Maya,
and know that Lila cannot dance,
Oh, lovers of illusion,
creators of tomorrow,
weave, sew, lay on the strokes,
build the roads that are not there
and lead us into the tomorrow
we love for.
Love this Scout. I’ve been pondering similar questions. The need to identify with something, to belong to something doesn’t allude me, and I entered metamodern spaces with this desire, but nowadays I like to think of my work as “deeply informed by” Metamodernism. And my artistic endeavors seek that metamodern “structure of feeling” that already existed within me before I found the term and the large body of adjacent works. To me, being in the midsts, the dancing mercurial middle, is what is the most important, building my capacity to hold that middle ground is much harder than aligning with any one set of understandings, cripplingly so sometimes. I’ve been considering making an alter to the middle way, the sacred third, to hold that tension with me, because it is a lot sometimes. Thanks again for sharing.
This was a fascinating foray into the Metamodern though sphere and your own view was dang interesting as well. It’s interesting that you’ve been interested in Germane’s project, for one thing-I think that project might be the turn into high Metamodernism.