Related Perspectives on
the Leading Edge of Culture
Here are some of the more powerful, emergent voices, sense-making communities, and perspectives that are cultivating pathways that offer realistically hopeful visions for pathways toward adaptive living in the 21st Century.
The Fifth Joint Point, the Singularity and the Emergence the Digital MetaCultural Landscape in the 21st Century
The ToK System depicts the universe as an unfolding wave of cause that is marked by four great emergences of Matter, Life, Mind, and Culture. Following Matter, each emergence has been marked by the growth of a novel information processing and communication system. Life is associated with genetic/epigenetic information processing and cell-cell communication, Mind with neurocognitive information processing and animal-animal communication and Culture with symbolic information processing and person-person communication. Given this pattern, as we look out at the 20th Century, we see an unmistakable pattern. Computers and other artificial intelligence systems have been networked together, such that the outline of a new Digital dimension can be seen to be emerging in the horizon of the future in the 21st Century. As such, it seems our great question and task is how can we cultivate a way of being that takes into account the current environmental and global context, our human natures, and the emergence of the digital landscape. Doing so with wisdom is the challenge of the 5th Joint Point.
See this TOK-21 Video Production on Constructing the 13th Floor as laying the ground work for the transition into MetaCulture.
Here is a chapter on the 5th Joint Point.
Awakening From the Meaning Crisis and Voices with Vervaeke
According to Professor John Vervaeke, modern society is facing an acute crisis of meaning making. To place our struggles in historic context and to provide us a way to frame where we might go, he has offered a powerful course called Awakening From the Meaning Crisis, that combines philosophy, cognitive science, consciousness studies and a powerful analysis of the situation we find ourselves in. He also has developed a Voices with Vervaeke podcast that engages in dialogue with some leading edge thinkers to explore the way we might adaptively cultivate meaning and connection in the decades to come.
Dr. Jordan B. Peterson
Dr. Jordan Peterson shot across the consciousness of the world between 2016 and 2019. Unfortunately, his health deteriorated dramatically in the fall of 2019, and he was incapacitated. We wish him the best and hope that his recently reported improvements continue.
His work is important on several accounts. First, the sociopolitical impact of his message and the controversies that surrounded him were deeply diagnostic of profound conflicts and confusions that our society faces. Second, his theoretical ideas are of interest, this is especially true of his work in Maps of Meaning and his psychological analyses of the Bible. Third, he and other members of the "Intellectual Dark Web" have sparked much discussion and emerging communities that are of significant relevance to the Theory Of Knowledge Society. Finally, as this open letter titled Can You See the Elephant Sun God narrates, the "Peterson Phenomenon" pulled Dr. Henriques from his "blue church" setting in the traditional academy into these alternative, futuristic communities that share in the TOK sensibility that new sense-making systems are needed.
TOK Blogs on Jordan Peterson:
Rebel Wisdom and the Intellectual Dark Web
Rebel Wisdom is an alternative media platform founded by David Fuller and co-founded by Alexander Biener. It proclaims that the old media systems are broken and new sense-making systems are called for. Fuller was taken by Dr. Jordan Peterson and followed both his rise and fall in the spotlight. Rebel Wisdom also closely followed and documented the Intellectual Dark Web. This includes individuals like Bret and Eric Weinstein, who both have popular podcasts.
Rebel Wisdom was also a key player in giving media space to new futurist voices analyzing key societal trends and pointing to the need for change. These include leading thinkers such as: Daniel Schmactenberger, Jordan Hall, Zak Stein, John Vervaeke, Peter Limberg, Nora Bateson and many others.
Some Key "Game B" Players
As this Rebel Wisdom Video highlights, the concept of "Game B" was formed in a series of conferences held in Staunton, VA in 2013. The idea emerged because a number of leading thinkers and futurists were concerned that the current culture both was not living up to its potential and was in grave danger of risk of significant collapse. Game A refers to the basic script that generates civilization, and it emphasizes a fairly rivalrous, competitive approach to status and resources. Game B is the idea of a new "operating system" for society that is more synergistic, cooperative, and energy is directed at things like well-being, sustainability, and distributed networks of communication and commerce (rather than top down, centralized control). As narrated in the video, the group experienced a fracture in 2014 and dispersed. However, in 2018 new people picked up the idea. Major players in the Game B space include Jim Rutt, Jordan Hall, Daniel Schmactenberger, and Brett Weinstein
Although Dr. Henriques lives 20 minutes from Staunton, he was unaware of these activities. As this podcast notes, he recently connected with Jim Rutt and the linkages between Game B and Henriques' conception of the 5th joint point and MetaCulture are explored. In addition, Henriques is in contact with Jordan Hall, Zak Stein and John Vervaeke and, as this Vervaeke-Hall podcast shows, future projects are emerging to make additional linkages.
Metamodernism: The Sensibility Emerging After Postmodernism
Metamodernism is a new cultural sensibility that captures the mindset of many current big picture visions consistent with Unified Framework and perspective of the TOK Society. Some leaders in the movement include Daniel Görtz, Lene Rachel Andersen, and Tomas Björkman. See here for a TOK blog that gives a basic description of metamodernism and here for a TOK blog with Lene Andersen on how metamodernism can be thought of as a kind of cultural sensibility.
The most basic way to conceptualize metamodernism is to consider it as the mindset or sensibility or cultural code that comes after postmodernism (see here for the Wiki entry), which in turn was a reaction to modernism. As such, it is helpful to briefly review modernism and its relationship to postmodernism, which, in turn, sets the stage for understanding the emerging metamodern movement. Modernism is a mindset and cultural code that is formed during the emergence of modern science and the Enlightenment (thus, it has been around for ~300 years). It emphasizes reason and rationality, the power of science in deciphering foundational truths about the universe, capitalism, and the idea of human progress. It also emphasizes individuality and universal human rights. Most "modern" industrial societies are primarily organized by these values and codes. Postmodernism arose mostly in the back half of the 20th century. In direct contrast to modernism, the postmodern viewpoint offers a skeptical critique of modernist knowledge and concludes that the knowledge we generate is always contextual. The postmodern argument is that there is an inevitable fusion of truth with social power. It was consolidated by continental philosophers, and manifested in movements such as the massive civil rights and feminist positions that emerged in the 1960s, as people demanded changes in the existing power structures that were seen to be connected to a Christian, white male hegemony.
At its broadest contours, the metamodern view can be considered a kind of higher-order synthesis that includes and transcends both the modernist thesis about rationality and science and the postmodern antithetical critique. In addition, metamodernists tend to view the current state of our knowledge to be overly chaotic and fragmented and advocate for a more integrated pluralism that allows for positive, constructive work on what some have called a "post-postmodern grand meta-narrative."
Two key books on metamodern social and political philosophy are The Listening Society and Nordic Ideology by Hanzi Freinacht (a pseudonym for Daniel Görtz and Emil Ejner Friis).
If you are interested in the Metamodern Movement or related perspectives, here are some links and resources:
Bildung is a related concept that has been recently advanced by Lene Rachel Andersen in a series of works. As she notes in this TOK blog, Bildung is about character formation undertaken primarily through education and cultural development, and was the "secret" to the success of the Nordic countries.
Andersen has also written a book on Metamodernity As this blog co-authored with Professsor Henriques notes, metamodernity emphasizes including and transcending the four phases of cultural evolution: 1) pre-historic indigenous; 2) premodern formal; 3) modern; and 4) postmodern.