Note — Mar 03, 2019

Metamodern Values for a Listening Society

Excellent long interview with Hanzi Freinacht. It’s a 28 min read so lots of things discussed, from what is metamodernism, to meditation, flexicurity, the environment, UBI, to forms of democracy, and six forms of politics. Perhaps the most useful part for me is the actual definition of metamodernity and the kind of values it entails: multi-perspectivalism, developmentalism, and non-judgement. Meaning, multiple perspectives are good, entertain many, consider how they develop, and don’t judge those with different ones. He also says that you are metamodern when “nobody else seems to agree with you,” which means a few things but also lines up well with recent calls for realignment beyond left and right. (Many quotes below, I could have included twice that. The must read of the last few weeks.)

We have a non-resilient, unsustainable system; we are stuck with certain psychological needs and wants that drive the economy. We can reform the economy as much as we want, in terms of laws and regulations, we can give money to green products, but unless these fundamental drives—the human needs and wants—transform, we, that live in a democracy, won’t be able to fundamentally transform the base structures of the system. […]

[I]f you have a more listening society, people’s general trust goes up and stress levels go down, and the number of relations go up, and then they are more creative and innovative, exchange information more freely, and are better at managing social relations. […]

I firmly believe that there is such a layer of values, where you remix them and synthesise them in new ways. So that you get not one particular mix, but a family of different combinations that you can roughly label as metamodern. […]

Metamodern values are the values of the internet society, which are multiplicity and development, and which do not only try to see from other perspectives, but also try to gather as many perspectives as possible and have solidarity for people of all perspectives. That’s the pathway forward. […]

The citizen-metamodern is based a lot less on who you are on the labour-market. The reason is that we are in an information society, a society of abundance, so production isn’t really the scarce resource. The scarce resource is the management of complexity and good behaviour; it becomes more and more complex and difficult to actually behave well. […]

We have to create models that are wired for the metamodern economy, meaning an economy where information capital and cultural capital dominate money capital. […]

The romantics would say ‘let’s not quantify everything’, while I say let’s actually do this, because the calculus that you will get is going to be in favour of inner values and environmentalism. If you do the math and have an inclusive model, then the utility of us not destroying the environment and caring about each other is staggering. Now we are all stuck in the wrong calculations, we are all using the wrong metrics.