Back to: Metamodernism

the ability to hold contradictory realities in your mind for long enough to consider what each has to offer and appreciate ideas that don’t belong to any of them

  • informed naivete

    The sci- fi author Ursula Le Guin once noted that, in times prior to democracy, the end of the divine right of kings was unimaginable, and that today, the end of capitalism is equally so. Yet, democracy did emerge, once the conditions were ripe for it. It is by being students of such conditions of transformation and change that we can adopt and live by an informed naivety. Such naivety keeps some of our childlike qualities, like innocence and directness of experience, but attempts to marry them to the discerning and protective mind of the educated adult. (Book - 12 Commandments For Extraordinary People To Master Ordinary Life by Hanzi Freinacht)

  • pragmatic romanticism

  • sincere irony

  • magical realism haruki murakami

  • welcoming diversity

  • openness and flexibility

  • agreeing on how to handle disagreements

narrow value sets are as bad as narrow goals

values often exist in a dynamic tension with other values. Optimizing one at the expense of the other can end up looking like evil.


Honesty vs. Kindness

Following the value of honesty all the time may lead people to be assholes to others in the name of honesty, or it might go against other ethical values (Nazis asking for information).

At the same time, trying to be kind all the time might justify lying and avoid giving necessary critical feedback.

Progressive vs. Conservative

Traditional impulse: a lot of wise people thought about the current systems for a long time, and the systems that survived were successful and might have some embedded wisdom that I don’t understand fully. It makes sense to trust that wisdom as my null hypothesis Example of the Sabbath, allowing people to rest, spend time with families, think about with goals are worth pursuing etc… The tradition goes against the impulse and multipolar trap of working as much as possible to outcompete others, potentially ending up in less satisfaction, worse families’ relations, burnout and collective disadvantage

Progressive impulse: Collective intelligence is advancing, building on all we have known, we’re moving into new problem sets where old solutions can’t work. We need to have fundamentally new ways of thinking.

from Book - The Listening Society - Hanzi Freinacht

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:

  • both political Left and Right (and neither one!);
  • both top-down and bottom-up governance;
  • both historical individuals and social structures;
  • both objective science and subjective experience;
  • both cooperation and competition;
  • both extreme secularism and sincere spirituality.

Metamodernism is the marriage of extreme irony with a deep, unyielding sincerity. These two sides are in superposition to one another. The sincerity makes the irony much more effective, because it becomes genuinely ambiguous; the irony, because it is all-encompassing, creates room for an unapologetic, even religious, sincerity of emotions, hopes and aspirations. Without the irony and the sarcasm, my sincerity would simply be too much; it would awaken severe suspicions, and for good reason too.

Going “beyond Left and Right” means that we make questions of the relations between public sector, private sector and civil sphere into open discussions where the best empirical arguments for each mechanism, in each case, must be taken into consideration. For instance, do “free markets” work more or less efficiently than state bureaucracies? The answer depends on what area of society we are studying, what values need to be taken into account in our common goals within this area, and what kind of state bureaucracy and how functional a market we have available