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Mapping Metamodern

Charting an emerging ecosystem by Life Itself, Emerge and collaborators

This project maps an emerging “metamodern” ecosystem centred on a radical, alternative approach to social change – one that is simultaneously paradigmatic, integrated and engaged. Discover key features and ideas of this growing space. Explore associated organizations, individuals and initiatives. See how it relates to other established and emerging movements.

Overview of the Ecosystem

We sense that a new ecosystem, or ecosystem of ecosystems, is emerging. A growing number of people, organizations and initiatives are taking alternative approaches to social change, which diverge from and go beyond the more established spaces in civil society and the social economy.

The ecosystem we explore is still emerging and ill-defined. Reflecting this, there has been no clear name for it and we have settled for now on the label “Metamodernist”.

As mapped it is quite broad – even disparate. Nevertheless, there are commonalities.

Most importantly, this ecosystem has a novel approach to social change. Specifically, an approach that is simultaneously paradigmatic, integrated, and engaged.

Secondly, there are a variety of commonalities in outlook and approach. The most noteworthy identified so far we have termed: post-individualism, (w)holism and culture-making (in the form of new norms and narratives).

There is also a focus on complexity, systems and emergence, on developmental models, spirituality and practice, and on sensemaking, different forms of knowledge and global-local activism. Other commonalities include an interest in decentralized governance, new narratives, alternative social imaginaries and regenerative culture.

Nonetheless, the boundaries, relationships and patterns of influences in the ecosystem remain blurry, with our present awareness feeling like it only touches the tip of the iceberg. Questions that remain unclear include who exactly comprises the ecosystem, how activities and visions relate to one another, where the coherences and tensions lie and how it might evolve.

What is Novel in the Approach to Social Change?

The defining feature of this ecosystem is its novel approach to social change. Specifically, the combination of being paradigmatic, integrated, and engaged. We emphasize that it is the combination of all three that is important and distinctive.

Paradigmatic

There is the belief that the change required is paradigmatic. That is to say, it seeks a transition of the entire social paradigm at both a systems and “ontological” (worldview and narratives) level. This contrasts with approaches that either simply seek reform e.g. making market liberalism better, or transformation that is deep but only in a given area e.g. transforming our structures of economic production and ownership but leaving base assumptions about who we are and how we relate to the natural world untouched.

Integrated

It identifies the need to incorporate methods and routes to change spanning a variety of fields and “locations” (e.g. personal, cultural, institutional etc). One central and basic example common to most (though not all) actors is the belief that inner and outer transformation have to go hand in hand. In Integral terms it is “all-quadrant” and in particular, prioritises the neglected “inner” quadrants.

Engaged

Participants are actively engaging with wider society for the purposes of social transformation. This sets it apart from groups which may be doing large amount of inner work but without connecting this directly and explicitly to broader social change, for example certain parts of the spiritual, developmental and psychedelic communities.

What are Some of its Core Characteristics?

Beyond the three pillars listed above, we also identify three high-level commonalities in outlook and approach: post-individualism, (w)holism and counterculturalism. 

Post-individualism

Post-individualism takes two forms. First, a focus on groups rather than just individuals as a primary unit of analysis, and the idea that we must shift our engagement outwards from ourselves and towards a more widely beneficial orientation. Note that, unlike traditional “collectivism” (a term we previously used but abandoned due to its connotations), this does not entail abandonment of individualism, but the inclusion of its positive aspects back into group-centric concepts. The second form of post-individualism shows up as a broad commitment across the ecosystem to actually operating in networked and communal ways.

Wholism

What we have termed (w)holism (we use the ‘w’ to signify consideration of wholes, as well as operating holistically) refers to the views taken of social phenomena, social change and simply the world at large. There is a widely shared understanding of the world as a gestalt object, be this under the banner of interbeing used by Buddhist and more spiritual actors, the complex systems terminology used by groups such as the International Bateson Institute or the ‘holon’ and integral’ labels taken up by Ken Wilber and the integral movement.

As can be seen by the paradigmatic focus and integrated approaches which we have identified as delineating the ecosystem itself, this (w)holism gives rise to a problem diagnosis which targets a deeper whole giving rise to negative social outcomes. These fundamental ways of approaching social change stem from a (w)holistic perspective more broadly, a fact which is further seen in the use of terms such as the metacrisis or polycrisis.

Culture-making

Counterculturalism for us is a desire to go beyond the dominant norms and narratives. This includes the norms of the progressive movement more broadly — perhaps its most surprising and interesting aspect. We also emphasize the culture in counterculturalism: for us, it is concerned with shifting the very foundations, worldviews and assumptions of our current order. In this sense it is a form of “culture-making”.

To use the Wilberian terminology, there is a desire to move beyond the ‘green’ developmental stage which is currently taken to characterise Western liberal societies, and much of the progressive movement as a whole. This leads actors in the ecosystem to be more open to questioning or dispute social and political positions that may be understood as norms not just in wider society, but also those (for example understandings of inclusivity) within progressive circles themselves.

Language and Buzzwords

The language of the ecosystem draws heavily on concepts such as complexity, systems and emergence, developmental models, spirituality and practice, and on sensemaking, different forms of knowledge and ‘cosmo-local’ activism. Other commonalities include an interest in decentralised governance, new narratives, alternative social imaginaries and regenerative culture.

Activities

Emerging organizations and individuals are opting towards ‘teal’ style collaboration and community building in order to maximize resources as a generalist, lateral way of operating comes into view as a more effective way of tackling systemic problems.

We have identified four major areas of activity: physical spaces, research, media/publishing and events. Nonetheless, it has been notable that many organizations have shifted to multi-channel working across a number of these e.g. producing media content as well as running retreats and events.

Profiles

Profiles found: 81

Topic
Activity
Life Itself

Life Itself

https://lifeitself.us

We are pragmatic utopians, committed to practical action for a radically wiser, weller world. We c…

Dark Matter Labs

Dark Matter Labs

https://darkmatterlabs.org/

Our aim is to discover, design and develop the institutional ‘dark matter’ that supports a more demo…

Dark Mountain

Dark Mountain

https://dark-mountain.net/

In 2009, two English writers published a manifesto. Out of that manifesto grew a cultural movement: …

Ekskäret

Ekskäret

https://ekskaret.se/

We live in an era of climate crises, polarised societies and failed leadership. Across the planet …

Emerge

Emerge

https://www.whatisemerging.com/

Emerge is a network responding to the question of what is happening within, between and beyond human…

Enspiral

Enspiral

https://enspiral.com

Enspiral is a network of people working on stuff that matters. Our mission is to support people who …

Findhorn Foundation

Findhorn Foundation

https://www.findhorn.org/

The Findhorn Foundation is a dynamic experiment where everyday life is guided by the inner voice of …

Larger Us

Larger Us

https://larger.us

Larger Us supports a breakthrough from a them-and-us to a Larger Us world: one in which the ‘us’ we …

Metamoderna

Metamoderna

https://metamoderna.org/

Metamoderna is a political and philosophical think-tank, the purpose of which is to contribute to a …

Mind and Life

Mind and Life

https://www.mindandlife.org/

At the Mind & Life Institute, we bring science and contemplative wisdom together to better understan…

Mind and Life Europe

Mind and Life Europe

https://www.mindandlife-europe.org/

We are a non-profit organisation that bridges and integrates contemplative practices and wisdom with…

Newspeak House

Newspeak House

https://www.nwspk.com/

Newspeak House is an independent residential college founded in 2015 to study, nurture and inspire e…

One Project

One Project

https://oneproject.org/

One Project is a non-profit initiative working globally with communities to design, implement, and s…

Perspectiva

Perspectiva

https://www.systems-souls-society.com/

Perspectiva is a community of expert generalists working on an urgent one hundred year project to im…

Presencing Institute

Presencing Institute

https://www.presencing.org/

We co-create innovation labs, deliver capacity building programs and conduct action research worldwi…

Rebel Wisdom

Rebel Wisdom

https://www.rebelwisdom.co.uk/

Rebel Wisdom is a media platform co-founded by BBC & Channel 4 filmmaker David Fuller, and Alexander…

Schumacher College

Schumacher College

https://www.schumachercollege.org.uk/

Schumacher College is an internationally renowned learning community offering ecology-centred master…

The Alternative UK

The Alternative UK

https://www.thealternative.org.uk/

The Alternative UK is a political platform based in the United Kingdom. Through curation, editorial,…

International Bateson Institute

International Bateson Institute

https://batesoninstitute.org/

The International Bateson Institute, registered in Stockholm, is a non-profit foundation for transco…

The Mindfulness Initiative

The Mindfulness Initiative

https://www.themindfulnessinitiative.org/

The Mindfulness Initiative was founded by Madeleine Bunting and Chris Cullen in November 2013 to sup…

Transition Network

Transition Network

https://transitionnetwork.org/

Transition is a movement of communities coming together to reimagine and rebuild our world. The move…

Advaya Initiative

Advaya Initiative

https://advaya.co/

Advaya is a systems change initiative building a community of change-makers around the principles of…

Centre for Applied Cultural Evolution

Centre for Applied Cultural Evolution

https://culturalevolutioncenter.org/

The Center for Applied Cultural Evolution has the mission to apply insights from cultural evolutiona…

Conscious Evolution

Conscious Evolution

https://www.consciousevolution.co.uk/

Conscious Evolution is the intentional effort to drive forward our individual and collective evoluti…

Cultural Catalyst Network

Cultural Catalyst Network

https://culturalcatalystnetwork.org/

We explore how to address the complex social and ecological challenges of our time, through whole-pe…

Daily Evolver

Daily Evolver

https://www.dailyevolver.com/theory/

The thesis of The Daily Evolver is that life is animated by the power of evolution, inside and out, …

Damanhur

Damanhur

http://www.damanhur.org

A laboratory for the future of humankind Nestled in the alpine foothills north of Piedmont, Italy, b…

Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement (DANCE)

Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement (DANCE)

http://www.thedancewebsite.org/

Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement (DANCE) is a space for connecting to explore the breadt…

EcoDharma

EcoDharma

http://www.ecodharma.com/

The Eco-Dharma Centre is situated in a beautiful and wild part of the Catalan Pyrenees. We offer c…

Embercombe

Embercombe

https://embercombe.org/

Embercombe is a beautiful and wilding 50 acre valley on the edge of Dartmoor. It is place to find …

Emergence Magazine

Emergence Magazine

https://emergencemagazine.org/

We host a variety of online and in-person programs and events featuring Emergence staff and contrib…

Esalen

Esalen

https://www.esalen.org/

Esalen is more than a retreat center or an educational institute. Anchored by the inspiring beauty o…

Extinction Rebellion

Extinction Rebellion

https://rebellion.earth/

Extinction Rebellion is an international movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience in an att…

For The Wild Podcast

For The Wild Podcast

https://forthewild.world/

For The Wild is an anthology of the Anthropocene; focused on land based protection, co-liberation an…

Future Thinkers

Future Thinkers

https://futurethinkers.org/

We live in an era of compunding crises. Economic crisis, meaning crisis, climate crisis, health cris…

Gaia House

Gaia House

https://gaiahouse.co.uk/

Gaia House is a silent meditation retreat centre, a sanctuary of contemplative calm set amongst the …

GameB

GameB

https://www.game-b.org/landing?space_id=3844035

We're gaining the power of gods, but without the love, wisdom and discernment of gods—that is a self…

HOME

HOME

https://aschoolcalledhome.org/

HOME is a school where we study the mess the world is in, not as a set of discrete problems to be so…

Integral Life

Integral Life

https://integrallife.com

Integral Life is a member-driven digital media community that supports the growth, education and app…

Integral Zen

Integral Zen

https://integralzen.org

Integral Zen started in about 2005, in Denver Colorado, 18 blocks from the Ken Wilber residence. Our…

K9 Coliving

K9 Coliving

https://www.k9coliving.com/

Liminal Learning Portal

Liminal Learning Portal

https://tllp.org/

Curating Content To Support Learning About Our Civilization's Transition.…

Liminal Village

Liminal Village

http://liminalvillage.com/

The Liminal Village is a co-living co-creation-space in a networked-rural setting, where we experime…

Microsolidarity

Microsolidarity

https://www.microsolidarity.cc/

In late 2018, Richard D. Bartlett published a proposal to start a "microsolidarity" group — a small …

Mindfulness for Change

Mindfulness for Change

https://www.mindfulnessforchange.co.nz/

Mindfulness for Change is designed to serve people who are connected with that heartfelt intention t…

Monastic Academy

Monastic Academy

https://www.monasticacademy.com/

The Monastic Academy is a training center dedicated to creating wise, powerful, and loving leaders w…

On Being

On Being

https://onbeing.org/

The On Being Project is a nonprofit media and public life initiative. We make a public radio show, p…

OuiShare

OuiShare

https://www.ouishare.net

Ouishare connects people and accelerates projects for systemic change. We question and experiment …

Path Retreats

Path Retreats

https://pathretreats.com/

For the past 40 years, Turiya and Rafia, the Path Retreats founders, have been training in a multitu…

Plum Village

Plum Village

https://plumvillage.org

Plum Village is a mindfulness practice centre in the South of France founded by Zen Master Thich Nha…

Resurgence and Ecologist

Resurgence and Ecologist

https://www.resurgence.org/

Welcome to The Resurgence Trust, where you'll find positive, informed and original perspectives on e…

The Emergence Network

The Emergence Network

http://www.emergencenetwork.org/

We are a constellation of humans and nonhumans working together trans-locally to curate projects, ri…

The Future is Beautiful

The Future is Beautiful

https://www.thefutureisbeautiful.co/

On this show we explore the weave between politics, spirituality, creativity and sustainability.…

The Mindfulness Project

The Mindfulness Project

https://www.mindfulness-project.org/

The Mindfulness Project is a radical new approach to a holistic lifestyle. We combine proven methods…

The Re.Generation

The Re.Generation

https://theregeneration.me/

The Re-Generation will highlight people and projects for ‘systems change’ in six definitive areas — …

The Wellbeing Project

The Wellbeing Project

http://wellbeing-project.org/

We are a global initiative co-created with Ashoka, Esalen, Impact Hub, Porticus, the Skoll Foundatio…

Triratna (Buddhafield)

Triratna (Buddhafield)

www.thebuddhistcentre.com

(formerly the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order (FWBO)) is an international fellowship of Buddhi…

Ulex Project

Ulex Project

https://ulexproject.org/

The Ulex Project provides high-quality training for activists, change makers, and organisations. We …

WakeUp

WakeUp

http://wkup.org

Wake Up: Young Buddhists and non-Buddhists for a Healthy and Compassionate Society Wake Up is an act…

Wisdom 2.0

Wisdom 2.0

http://www.wisdom2summit.com

We are community dedicated to creating a world of deeper Wisdom, and Compassion. Join us along with …

The Psychedelic Society

The Psychedelic Society

https://psychedelicsociety.org.uk/

We create life-affirming experiences to connect people with themselves, each other, the natural worl…

Buddhafield

Buddhafield

https://www.buddhafield.com/

Buddhafield is a collaboration of Buddhists involved with the Triratna Buddhist Community: some of u…

Theos Think Tank

Theos Think Tank

https://www.theosthinktank.co.uk/

Theos stimulates the debate about the place of religion in society, challenging and changing ideas t…

Alternatives UK

Alternatives UK

https://www.alternatives.org.uk/

Alternatives is an independent not-for-profit organisation dedicated to raising awareness and offeri…

Science and Nonduality (SAND)

Science and Nonduality (SAND)

https://www.scienceandnonduality.com/

Group of thinkers and researchers, doing talks and webinars on these issues…

Evidence-based wisdom

Evidence-based wisdom

https://evidencebasedwisdom.com/

The site translates academic research regarding the science and psychology of wisdom into understand…

Raising Free People Network

Raising Free People Network

https://www.raisingfreepeople.com/

Raising Free People Network helps families, organizations, and corporations to examine, assess, and …

Alter Ego

Alter Ego

https://alterego.network/

Alter Ego is a powerful network of leaders who are prototyping a deeper form of change, people who k…

Commonweal

Commonweal

https://commonweal.org

Commonweal is a center for learning and research, transformation, and discovery. Our programs work i…

Brave Earth

Brave Earth

https://www.braveearth.com

Brave Earth (Tierra Valiente) is a burgeoning community, regenerative farm, and healing arts center …

Prosocial World

Prosocial World

https://www.prosocial.world/

Prosocial World (PW) is a non-profit organization that seeks to evolve a more prosocial world. Inspi…

Radical Purpose

Radical Purpose

https://www.radicalpurpose.org/

A social justice movement to bring human dignity in all facets of life, centered on people first. …

Society 2045

Society 2045

https://www.society2045.com/

Envisioning Society in 2045 We are seeking to change the way society works by bringing together thos…

Moral Imaginations

Moral Imaginations

https://www.moralimaginations.com/

We are building a movement of moral imagination: collective imagining to increase radical kinship wi…

Essentia Foundation

Essentia Foundation

https://www.essentiafoundation.org/

Essentia Foundation aims at communicating, in an accurate yet accessible way, the latest analytic an…

New Economics Foundation

New Economics Foundation

https://neweconomics.org/

The New Economics Foundation works with people igniting change from below and combines this with rig…

42 Acres

42 Acres

https://42acres.com/

Creating space for connection with nature, self, and others. 42 Acres is a regenerative organic farm…

Authentic Revolution

Authentic Revolution

https://www.authrev.org/

Authentic Relating (AR) is the practice of freely expressing your true experience in the company of …

Building Belonging

Building Belonging

https://www.buildingbelonging.us/

We are a community of people working toward transformation and liberation: of ourselves, our societi…

Co.Creation Loft

Co.Creation Loft

http://cocreationloft.com/

We are a community of people who are open to exploring new ways of thinking and working together for…

Team Human

Team Human

https://teamhuman.fm/

Team Human is a podcast striving to amplify human connection. Each week we are engaging in real-time…