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The Listening Society: A Metamodern Guide to Politics, Book One (Metamodern Guides)
by Hanzi Freinacht


This book argues that political metamodernism is the most powerful ideology of our time, offering a new perspective on politics and society beyond the limitations of modernism and postmodernism.

The key tenets of political metamodernism include:

  • The Listening Society: A deeper form of welfare that includes the psychological, social, and emotional well-being of citizens, focusing on individual development and fostering a more caring and empathetic society.
  • Co-development: A transpartisan approach to politics that values collaboration and mutual understanding, promoting dialogues across political divides to create a more productive and less conflict-ridden political landscape.
  • The Nordic Ideology: A proposed new political system that emerged from the cultural and economic development of the most progressive societies in the world, particularly Scandinavia. It seeks to transition to a metamodern society by outcompeting and replacing liberal democracy, capitalism, and existing welfare systems.

The book explores the multidimensional crisis-revolution we are currently experiencing, characterized by rapid technological advances, environmental concerns, and societal shifts towards post-materialist values. It argues that the dominant meta-ideology in the most progressive societies is Green Social Liberalism, a synthesis of liberalism, social democracy, and environmentalism.

The book delves into human psychological development, presenting a comprehensive theory of adult development with four key dimensions:

  • Cognitive development: Measured by the Model of Hierarchical Complexity (MHC), which describes how people solve problems of increasing complexity and how they reason.
  • Cultural coding: The symbolic toolkits individuals use to interpret the world, shaped by their exposure to different cultural metamemes or "symbol-stages", such as the traditional, modern, postmodern, and metamodern.
  • Subjective states: The lived experience of reality, ranging from low states of misery and suffering to high states of bliss and spiritual awakening.
  • Depth: An individual's level of familiarity with a wide range of subjective states and their ability to integrate these experiences into their overall understanding of existence.

The book argues that higher effective value memes, characterized by greater complexity, advanced code, higher states, and deeper existential depth, are necessary to address the challenges of a globalized, postindustrial, and technologically advanced world. It emphasizes the importance of collective intelligence, emotional intelligence, and social intelligence to build a more functional and humane society.

Hanzi Freinacht's metamodern perspective challenges us to:

  • Embrace paradox and non-linearity: Recognize that the world is complex and unpredictable, and that our linear models often fail to capture the intricate interactions between different dimensions.
  • Move beyond the limitations of liberalism and the liberal innocent: Recognise the limitations of liberal democracy and embrace the need for a new political paradigm, transcending the old Left-Right divide.
  • Take responsibility for societal change: Understand that we are all part of a co-creating system, and therefore all have a responsibility to contribute to positive change.
  • Cultivate higher states and greater depth: Explore contemplative practices, challenge our assumptions about reality, and embrace the beauty, mystery, and tragedy of existence.
  • Recognize and manage developmental imbalances: Address the magic residuals and reductionism that can hinder our progress, and find ways to foster more balanced development.

The Listening Society is a challenging and thought-provoking book that offers a bold vision for a more just, compassionate, and sustainable future. It encourages us to think differently about ourselves, our society, and our place in the world, ultimately urging us to embrace the metamodern revolution and become active participants in co-creating a better world.