The Risks of Metamodernism

I just want to say something about the changes coming for American Society the next 50 years starting today in 2017. Lets first look at the ages we have passed through…..
Modernism (1900-1965)
Postmodernism (1965-2015)
Metamodernism (2015-)
Yes, we are entering a new age. I’ve said this before, but we all need to understand what this means because it’s a BIG change that is coming for American Society, despite the current political turmoil that seems to be taking us backwards.
The Modernists were my grandparents – those born after 1900 who built up institutions for the future generations to enjoy, who built bridges and libraries, fought against evil dictators in war, and who saw value in government through the higher tax rates needed to serve the needs of people housed under the state. Medicare, the WPA, Social Security….all institutions created by these giving people. They believed in God and family and the value of the goodness of society as a whole versus the individual whose needs, art forms, and value were wholly subservient to the needs of the country. JFK talked about this idea shortly before his death. These were the men and women that fought and died in World War II and went to the moon. They put country before self as that was the ideal they eschewed up until 1965.
Postmodernism came after 1965 and was about the Baby Boomers, those born between 1946-1964. They valued spiritualism, rebellion, art, myth, the transcendent Self, and rugged individualism. But with those ideals also came their decadence, dark vices, violence, rebellion, and anti-government feeling. They saw the failures of two world wars, of suffocating religion, of the hidden hypocritical sexism and racism in their society, of the workings of evil government and its control over them, and of the void of creativity and art and musical expression their Modernist parents had hoisted onto them. They rejected all that. They hated authority in all its forms. But they kicked down the doors that stood before them, many of which opened up new doors to rich innovation through free-thought and risk-taking, doors that led to incredible inventions like the World Wide Web and the Internet, the personal computer, rock and roll, and spiritual rebirth in all of the Arts. They were about FREEDOM, complete and total freedom. And so they fought hard to destroy government, hide from taxes, destroy pubic schools, demolish the institutions of marriage, and privatize all systems of government, moving them to the performance-based institutions created by stockholders today, of massive privatized, Wall Street-controlled Corporations, and free markets.

But the Postmodern Baby Boomers also brought us wide-spread escapism and drugs use, uncontrolled greed, huge upticks in violence and gun use, financial meltdowns, massive recessions, and the rebellion, vices, and loud voices of the Me Generation. This was the generation bailed out by the government they so hated, yet still having no consideration of how their mistakes and selfishness affected the rest of society……a fallen, sex-addicted, drug-addicted, self-centered, corrupt society we now have suffered from the past 50 years. 

President Trump is a Baby Boomer and the last gasp of this selfish generation of people who both recreated the innovation world we now have yet have fought so hard to destroy the unity of its government and culture their parents fought so hard to create in that old Modernist world that died in the 1960’s.

Yet we must remember what good comes from true freedom, that great creativity and music and art and film came from the Baby Boomers. And with that creative loss today, society will suffer.

Today, Postmodernism is dying. It needed to die. Yet the creative will is dying with it in subtle ways yet unforeseen. And so society is changing as young people see the folly of what came before, since 1965. We are entering the new Age of Metamodernism in 2017, which is about the Millennial Generation and the young people and their reinvention of society from the ground up. This new trend is about them and their ideals of equality, multiculturalism, ethics in business, realist fiction, true morality, rediscovery of religion, the promise of science, and the rediscovery of meaning inside themselves as connected to the greater society where before there was no meaning beyond the rugged individual. This is a movement about groupie culture once again, about us and togetherness. And so much of their new ideal is about a return to 1900 Modernist views and its belief once again that society and government should serve everyone, that with science and technology comes hope and a brighter future, and of the value of good government which can once again serve Humanity to create “good works” that privatization has failed to do due to greed.
But there is a darker story here that I see coming…….that with Metamodernism, unseen by many, there is a bad story that follows the good one.  And I want to share a few of those concerns….

With Metamodernism brings the risk of shallow ideals, of the embrace of corporate culture again, of blatant consumerism, the rejection of healthy intellectual rebellion and debate, of the rebuilding of authoritarian systems, and of the rejection of the sins of history by a “cleansing” or reinterpretation of history and its many shades-of-gray historical figures. This is very, very dangerous. There is the threat that forcing the single voice of the citizen to the more appropriate voice of the greater society will eventually stifle innovation and ideas, which, without real freedom and challenging voices, will be lost.  Through the loss of this freedom -which the Postmodern Boomers granted themselves – we may find ourselves without innovation once more. How much will we miss the old  ideals of freedom and free expression we have enjoyed the past 50 years in America?

What will be lost for the sake of this cleansing of voices and meaning to serve the greater good of the group that Millennials now value so highly?

Will CENSORSHIP now be a viable tool in the war to destroy Postermodern’s last loud voice of defiance and rebellion against the world and the state, I wonder?
That seems to be the crux of what I’m seeing today. Metamodernism has too many beautiful changes ahead to let this “loss of spiritualism” be its darker side. This bright warm embrace of all people once more as good and valuable beyond money and race and gender is the Millenial Generation’s greatest virtue. (Its sad its taken this long for Americans to understand this). But what I fear is with that comes the censorship and the denial of the “darker self” or shadow unconscious that sits at the depths of all men and women that Postmodern harnessed so well in their creativity, fantasy, play, and self-discovery.

Without that spiritual freedom to explore the Self through expression we will all suffer eventually. For the modeling of new ideas and the remaking of old ideals must come from the rebellious individual alone. His/her spirit and defiant intellect alone Has always held the key to new creativity and innovation. Groupie culture cannot foster it. 

In the Metamodern there is a fear of that hidden darkness that’s evolving, where the psychology of the Jungian Self is rejected for the sake of the real world that needs to be healed, re-embraced, and rebuilt by its people. The empirical world once more needs to be embraced in Metamodernism. But by running away from our richer mythological selves in fiction, art, and music (this fear of the Shadow Self) kids today are setting up society for the next Postmodern rebellion against the authoritarian society we are rebuilding today. And a terrible rebellion in 50 years will certainly arrive if we cant let rebel voices shout out now in fiction and the poetry flow and the music dive down into darker waters not yet seen.

Through Metamodern’s rebirth of the Myth of Good Authoritarian Rule and Governance (post-Trump) we will start to see in America in the years ahead something that’s good for our children, good for the poor, good for the economically disenfranchised,  good for the climate, and good for our future but bad for our souls. It is something very threatening and troubling for the Arts, our written expression, and our mythological selves – a tearing down or destroying of the realization of self-hood separate from the world and society that has sustained our spirits the past 50 years……something which we all crave to know, of our true depths and the richness of the realms that lie beyond the shallow, superficial “groupthink” of the greater society.

If we lose that we will have lost all that Postmodernism taught us about ourselves despite Postmodern’s many evils and crimes. And that will, I feel, be a sad sad loss…

– the Author

#mythology #metamodernism

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