Saturday, January 19, 2013

MetaMo: Hope & Change After Cultural Suicide?

Metamodernism is a movement emanating from the Radboud University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands, and is emerging from and as a reaction to pOmo. The term Metamodernism was introduced as an intervention in the post-Postmodernism debate in 2010 by cultural theorists, Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker.
Whereas pOmo is denying objective reality, truth and the possibility of human knowledge with a view to cultural destruction through philosophical desintegration, Metamo is no longer convinced of these absolute tenets. Or, at least, Metamos are fed up with the void and the cynicism that comes with the Reification of Zero and perpetual tethering on the brink of the existential abyss. How long can a human being live without hope or purpose?
Metamo isn't sure either of a goal to human existence, but in order to get past the destructive 'irony' rooted in egalitarian Nihilism Metamo propose to start moving away from the cliff, pending the discovery of a Sense of Life. Whence and how salvation is about to come from is obscure for the moment. But while we wait for it to emerge, the feeling is clothed in nostalgic Romantic Realism.
Meta stands for Plato's metaxis: in between. Since Metamo, like pOmo denies fixed constants, it is part of the famility tree of Pragmatism. Pluralism is an undefined position between modernist universalism and pOmo multiculturalism; Metamo on the other hand is an unfixed position, oscillating between the absolutism of modernism and the relativism of pOmo. Where precisely the modernist constant lurks, it unclear for the moment.
The Metamodern attitude longs for another future, a new grand narrative (subjective group reality), but acknowledges that narrative or even truth might not exist, or materialize, or, if it does, is inherently problematic because there is no fundamental break with the fallacies of pOmo (check the chart @ the bottom).
While pOmo suffers from the flaw in its absolute claim that reality is subjective and man made, Metamo may actually be worse in that it acknowledges it is not even sure of that much. But Metamo is a step forward in that it is intellectually more honest, is of good will towards life and a benevolent universe, and therefore abandons pOmo's scorched earth mentality. But the good news may be offset by... Luke Turner's Manifesto (2011):
1. The unfixed position is the natural state of the world.
2. We must break free from a century of "inertia" between modernist naive honesty and pomo cynical dishonesty, which is a strange way to describe an all out war of ideas in which the end justifies the means (check the comments). 
3. We are committed to progress by means of something that looks like the Hegel dialectic but isn't - a colossal electric machine, propelling the world into action. Check the comments for the Memo dialectic! It skips the synthesis part. 
4. We are subject to the laws of nature. We must adhere to that, but we can evade them with impunity because life is richer if we act as if there were no such limitations to reality.
5. Everything is inevitably going to pieces. The stress that ensues is the subject of artistic creation.
6. The present is a symptom of the here and now and what has come and gone. New technology enables multiple perspectives and experiences, enabling historical research along grand narratives.
7. Truth may or may not exist. Science strives for it, artists may find it. All information may lead to knowledge, whether the source is experience or proverbial, however faulty its magical realism. Error leads to sense [sic]. Epistemologically Metamo is completely on the fence: it is entirely agnostic in that department.  
8. Metamo propose a pragmatic, unprincipled modernism (Romanticism). Metamo is an unfixed state of mind between, beyond and in pursuit of a number of different and fragmented world views. Check Luke's comments: while oscillating, these are not undefined.
Conclusion:  This baby is ninety percent pOmo. It lacks absolutes and is so unfixed, all will depend on the individual practitioner, which is refreshing in itself. Metamo differs in that it wants to rid itself of the cynicism rooted in Nihilism and accepts there is something like an external reality; but it is still subjective and human knowledge is as illusive as ever. But like the Skeptics, Metamo feels sadness over the loss. It certainly doesn't celebrate ignorance, as pOmo does.
pOmo on the DIM scale is a firm D for Disintegration; Metamo is hard to peg but for the time being it is probably a M2 pending some clarification on metaphysics and epistemology.
While research is ongoing and Metamo is trying to establish where to go next, the prediction is safe that pOmo is now on the retreat, selfdefeating as suicide by definition is. We are going somewhere, but we have no idea of the next destination.
"Would you be willing and able to act, daily and consistently, on the belief that reality is an illusion?" ~Ayn Rand