So post-modernism started dying in the 1990s and finally kicked the bucket in last decade or so. And modernists everywhere rejoiced. But then they found out that the world didn’t really swing back to their side. It went in a completely different direction.
Metamodernism entered the scene:
“Metamodernism is a recent reaction to postmodernism that combines elements of modernism and postmodernism. The term metamodernism was introduced as an intervention in the post-postmodernism debate by the cultural theorists Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker in 2010. In their article ‘Notes on metamodernism’ they assert that the 2000s are characterized by the return of typically modern positions without altogether forfeiting the postmodern mindsets of the 1990s and 1980s. The prefix ‘meta’ here refers not to some reflective stance or repeated rumination, but to Plato‘s metaxy, which intends a movement between opposite poles as well as beyond.”
So what does that mean? What elements does this new hybrid movement entail? Wikipedia goes on to say:
Van den Akker and Vermeulen define metamodernism as a continuous oscillation, a constant repositioning between positions and mindsets that are evocative of the modern and of the postmodern but are ultimately suggestive of another sensibility that is neither of them: one that negotiates between a yearning for universal truths on the one hand and an (a)political relativism on the other, between hope and doubt, sincerity and irony, knowingness and naivety, construction and deconstruction. They suggest that the metamodern attitude longs for another future, another metanarrative, whilst acknowledging that future or narrative might not exist, or materialize, or, if it does materialize, is inherently problematic.
This way of thinking leads to better dialogues between groups that disagree, once you move away from the “only one right answer” slant of modernism and the “all truths are relative” underpinnings of post-modernism:
The secular metamodern philosophy of history holds tightly to the idea that all thinking individuals have preconceived ideas and worldviews and opinions, and that these color everything they do, including science. Metamodern historians are not saying—as the postmoderns did—that there is no objective truth. What they are saying is that there is no way to scientifically prove that objective truth in the writings of the ancient past. It all gets colored by our perceptions, which are, in turn, colored by our preconceived ideas about the way the world works. These ideas are, problematically, very different from the preconceived ideas of the ancients.
Like any other philosophy, there are many disagreements on what metamodern means, and just like in post-modernism, you don’t have to follow everyone else’s definition to still be a part. If modernism and post-modernism are black and white opposites, metamodernism is the area in between that looks gray at first, but turns out to be a swirl of the best of the blacks and whites. You don’t have to give up your black or white leanings (or your personal mixture of both) to be in the mix – you just have to realize how they all have equal ground on the global stage.
Click here to read a good article on the ten principles of Metamodernism.