What is Metamodernism?

Since (in a previous post) I just wailed on Postmodernism,

So… I had now, better talk about: Metamodernism.

(Okay, last and final rant about it: It’s over, people. Postmodernism is dead and gone… and, I much prefer consilience. In fact, I have always preferred consilience… All my heroes were (and are) consilient. e.g., Stanley Kubrick, Charles Darwin. Richard Dawkins, James Cameron [great screenwriter! well; mostly… I’m not keen on Titanic and Avatar, but love everything else he ever did, pretty much], and Prince, and Dredd Zeppelin, and Feynman, and Arthur Koestler, and Ed Wilson, Brian Boyd, etc, etc.*

(* See for example The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s guide to writing in the 21st Century, Pinker 2015. The first piece of writing he rightly cites and then examines for its writing brilliance is actually by Richard Dawkins.)

And So… as noted above – I had now better talk about: Metamodernism.

Okay, then, so – What is it?

Well; you could read this HuffPost article on it, by Abramson (2014) .

And also, this one: Ten Basic Principles of Metamodernism (Abramson 2015)

One of my personal favourite Metamodernist styled articles is, chapter 25:

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2014). The Systems Model of Creativity and Its Applications. In D. K. Simonton (Ed.), The Wiley Handbook of Genius (pp. 533-545). Chichester, West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

The Wiley Handbook of Genius (2014)

The Wiley Handbook of Genius (ed: Simonton 2014)

Also – below is a definition I came up with. This, at least, is how I currently understand it. (Metamodernism may well evolve…)

Metamodernism – Is an Internet-Era Philosophy, and a cultural movement currently in the zeitgeist; a new and useful combination of (1) Modernism, and (2) the very-few useful elements of Postmodernism.

`Metamodernists aim — much like the World War I-era avant-gardists of Western and Central Europe did — to honor and enact both Life and Art simultaneously’ (Abramson, 2014, online).

Metamodernism is often about engagement, affect, and storytelling

Metamodernism uses `AND/ALSO’ style holistic thinking (analysis, and then synthesis), rather than the old-school (postmodernist)`EITHER/OR’ binary opposites.

So less like this: (below is like Postmodernism)

Pomo - binaries things are either good or bad

And as far as I can see, Metamodernism is more like this: (shades of grey; look at the whole picture, and also the details)

Symmetrical Bell Curve - Velikovsky 2017

In short, I suspect MetaModernism is a (metaphorical) Trojan Horse…?

Trojan Horse

But of course – like any meme (idea, process or product) can be used for good – and/also evil – or both or neither. Or something in between. And, all of these. Depends who’s doing it and why.)

A classic Metamodernist lecture is Randy Pausch’s very-inspiring The Last Lecture (2007).

I also read the book when it first came out:

The Last Lecture – (Pausch 2008)

And years ago I also played around with Pausch’s game/storytelling educational coding software, ALICE (below), to prototype some videogames,


Anyway so – Metamodernism: Storytelling, affect and engagement.

Randy Pausch famously (apparently) said:

`Do not tell people how to live their lives. Just tell them stories. And they will figure out how those stories apply to them.’

Randy Pausch, in The Last Lecture (2007)

I must admit, his “The Last Lecture” (above) is very inspiring…!

Side Note: Since Metamodernists aim “to honor and enact both Life and Art simultaneously”, Metamodernism has thus a lot in common with Positive Psychology (e.g. Martin Seligman, and Csikszentmihalyi on a life lived in the flow state, etc). And, with Heroism Science

JT Velikovsky, PhD

Evolutionary Systems Analyst

& High-RoI Story/Screenplay/Movie & Transmedia Researcher

& Human & Computer Creativity Researcher (& random humanimal)

The above is an extension of the research in my 2016 doctoral thesis: “Communication, Creativity and Consilience in Cinema”. It is reproduced here for the benefit of fellow bio-cultural scholars, and screenwriting, filmmaking and creativity researchers. 

For more, see https://aftrs.academia.edu/JTVelikovsky

JT Velikovsky is a million-selling Transmedia writer-director-producer. He has also been a professional story analyst for major film studios, film funding organizations, and for the national writer’s guild.

For more, see the Transmedia weblog: http://on-writering.blogspot.com/


Abramson, S. (2014). Metamodernism: The Basics – from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/seth-abramson/metamodernism-the-basics_b_5973184.html


Pausch, R., & Zaslow, J. (2008). The Last Lecture (1st ed.). New York: Hyperion.

Velikovsky, J. T. (2017). Chapter 405: The Holon/Parton Structure of the Meme, or, The Unit Of Culture. In M. Khosrow-Pour (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Fourth Edition (pp. 4666-4678). New York: IGI Global.


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