As many of the followers of my blog have read over the past ten months, I have been delving into Postmodernism and its effect on the Craft. I know, especially in the beginning, many people commented that this subject had nothing to do with Freemasonry’s decline; comments I have dismissed. I dismissed them because these individuals have not studied this topic and have only lived a Postmodern life. Therefore, those who have predominately lived a Postmodern life would be more apt to accept such a life as reality. However, because I have studied the written works of both Albert Pike and Eliphias Levi, I know that there is an alternative reality; if one only looks hard enough, it can be seen. That is why I am now going to discuss the terms Post-Postmodernism or Metamodernism, which are vertically the same topic.
Post-Postmodernism can be defined as, “a wide-ranging set of developments in critical theory, philosophy, architecture, art, literature, and culture which are emerging from and reacting to postmodernism. Another similar recent term is metamodernism.” And Metamodernism, “is a set of developments in philosophy, aesthetics, and culture which are emerging from and reacting to postmodernism. One definition characterizes metamodernism as mediations between aspects of both modernism and postmodernism. Metamodernism is similar to post-postmodernism.”
You see, there is a merging of both Modernism and Postmodernism taking place. As I stated in an earlier blog posting on this topic, we will never actually be able to go back to Modernism, nor should we. In fact, we, as a culture, will blend our past, incorporating the good and leaving the bad elements behind.
There are, of course, differing scholastic opinions on this topic as well; nevertheless, there appears to be a broad consensus developing:
Consensus on what makes up an era can hardly be achieved while that era is still in its early stages. However, a common positive theme of current attempts to define post-postmodernism is that faith, trust, dialogue, performance and sincerity can work to transcend postmodern irony.
There is no doubt in my mind that Postmodernism has had a negative effect of the Craft; however, Post-Postmodernism or Metamodernism might be a turning point for Freemasonry? Only time will tell for sure. While reading the above quote, the words “faith, trust, dialogue, performance and sincerity” became a glaring contrast to the Postmodern society of no faith, mistrust, no dialogue, a lack of performance and a lack of sincerity.
What does a Post-Postmodern (Metamodern) society look like and why should we be hopeful in this transformation? Here is one optimistic view I thought you might find enjoyable:
We metamodernists stay true to the postmodern skepticism and ironic distancing from all attempts to tell “the one story” about in which direction society should be developed. But we also add a crucial ingredient that was present during modernity: hope and faith in progress. We believe that society truly has evolved and that positive developments are possible. Progress is real. Life invites us to greater possibilities. Possibilities, potentials, are always dangerous, but always real – and necessary. That is why metamodernism is based upon an invitation to a critical, self-reflexive dialogue about the future of society.
We have our own ideas about the future and we hold them without apology. We present them and break them against those of others. We distance ourselves from the excessive irony prevailing today; an irony we feel has an undercurrent of philosophical and political cowardice. We believe that metamodern society is born through risk taking, vulnerability and hope. Metamodern society is created through the political and cultural adventure, an adventure that requires passionate participation. To be a political metamodernist means to never settle for ironic distancing, to not be satisfied with “asking new questions”. Metamodernists also have an entrepreneurial or artistic side – we seek answers, or at least solutions. We recognize that these answers to the riddles of life and the problems of society cannot be final, but we always attempt to find the best possible answers and visions. We are prepared to put our “good names” at stake and to admit when we’ve been mistaken. We believe that is the right path ahead.
I, of course, find this view right in line with Masonic instruction. Especially with regard to attempting to find the “riddles of life.” Think about it, is this not what Freemasonry is all about – YES, YES it is! Furthermore, here is a comparative list to help better define the topics of Modernism, Postmodernism and Metamodernism (Post-Postmodernism):
- Faith in science
- Development and progress
- The individual
- A meritocratic social order
- Humanity can recreate nature by virtue of her reason
- Critical questioning of all knowledge and science
- Suspicion towards all grand narratives about “progress”
- Emphasis on symbols and contexts
- Ironic distance
- Cultures have been oppressed and ruined by modern society
- Reveals injustice in “democratic” societies
- Relations create the individual
- A multicultural order where the weak are included
- Humanity has destroyed the biosphere
- How can we reap the best parts of the other two?
- Can we create better processes for personal development?
- Can we recreate the processes by which society is governed, locally and globally?
- Can the inner dimensions of life gain a more central role in society?
- How can modern, postmodern and premodern people live together productively?
- How can politics be adjusted to an increasingly complex world?
- What is the unique role of humanity in the ecosystems of nature?
In conclusion, based on the goals of Metamodernism, I personally believe we have the making of a glorious return of Masonic teachings and instruction in the near future. Let us continue to work towards such an end and then we can look upon the past 40 to 50 years as a necessary purge; similar to the Anti-Masonic movement that started in 1824, which also lasted some 40 to 50 years!
So Mote It Be!