Introductory note about "From Modernity to After-Modernity"

This series is becoming so long by now that new readers might easily get lost... So let me start with an introductory note about their context.

My thinking adventure started in the sixties and seventies of the past century. As an aspiring painter I was bewildered by the confusion reigning supreme in the art world and so I felt compelled to engage in a process of thinking about the arts and the function of the arts in society that later expanded to societal evolution and how the function of the arts adapts naturally to the realities of new historical times. This series tells what I learnt along the way.

What I write about is the perspective of a thinking artist and my conclusions go something like this:
– the form of artistic productions must necessarily reflect the Zeitgeist of their times and must also be aesthetically pleasing in order to attract eyeballs
– the only artistically worthwhile productions are the ones that succeed to give a peek to the viewer on the emergence of the future. In that sense the content of the artwork is paramount because it opens the minds to the emergent future which encourages us to adapt our present ideas and behaviors in consequence. Those works that succeed to catch the spirit of the future are the ones that will be remembered in the future... the rest will be forgotten.

The articles in this series are a first draft about the transition from Modernity to After-Modernity which is the historical leap of humanity out of Late-Modernity or out of our present historical era... I'm strongly convinced that what comes our way compares to what humanity experienced during its past 3 major societal transitions:
1. from small bands to tribes sharing a worldview called animism
2. from tribes to empires and kingdoms that launched civilizations whose societies shared a worldview called religion or philosophy
3. from empires and kingdoms to nation-states that share a worldview called Modernity.

The emerging transition from Modernity to After-Modernity promises to be as earth shattering for humanity as were the 2 first of these transitions and so it is my contention that the real artists today are those who are sensitive enough to capture the spirit, of what comes after Modernity, that is starting to emerge in the present. Being the active agents of the commodification of the arts, it goes without saying that, the operators of the art market are totally blind to such considerations...

The articles in this series will be formatted in book form and edited for publication. Book 1 written during the winter 2014-2015 is about history, Book 2 written during the winter 2015-2016 is about theory, and this Book 3 written during the winter 2016-2017 is about what the future has in store for humanity ...and so its title "Divination".

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Book 3. Divination

1. the future emerges in a given context

1.1. The quasi-Worldview of Modernity

Modernity is not a worldview in the real meaning of the term. It is a quasi-worldview. A worldview relates to a holistic narrative that all citizens can share as their own understanding about what reality is all about. In other words the ideas generated by Modernity, and the facts those ideas derive, are not weaving a holistic narrative about human existential reality. As a matter of fact nor Modernity, nor science which is its active method of inquiry, are offering a narrative about what reality is all about... In this sense we come to understand why Modernity can’t answer the existential questions that pop up in peoples’ minds and why peoples’ minds are thus filing with anxiety that isolates them in the disturbing feeling of not really belonging to their societies. 


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Book 3. Divination

1. the future emerges in a given context

Obviously the future does not fall from the sky.

The future is resulting from the arbitration between the multiple determinant factors that are competing in the present. In other words the competition, between the multiple determinant factors in the present, is what shapes the context out of which the future emerges.


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Part 3. Divination
Introduction (continued. 4)

The future as a probabilistic outcome

The alternatives, that are shaping in the present as potential futures, are not readily visible and so the substance of the future remains invisible to the naked eye for the majority of citizens. But it is nevertheless accessible to inquiring minds. To detect these alternatives in their very early stage, I mean at the early stage of their formation as potentialities in the present, one has to entrust the subconscious by entering states of altered consciousness. It is indeed only after they have already emerged as selected future alternatives that conscious observation will possibly detect them. The fact of the matter is that the substance of these alternatives is being formatted inside the context that is shaping in the present which means that, while this context has still not been substantiated yet, future alternatives are already forming in the midst of the presently forming context. This whole process remains largely hidden to conscious observation and its visibility will only arise with its substantiation.


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Part 3. Divination
Introduction (continued. 3)

About divination

This “Book 3” is about getting a feel of what the future has in store for humanity and more broadly what the future has in store for life on earth. The future is perceived as being unknown so it is imperative for those who want to talk about it to clarify the methodology of their approach. This is what I propose to do here after.


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Part 3. Divination
Intoduction (continued. 2)

Confrontation, reconciliation, integration

The subconscious is accessible through altered states of consciousness and humanity, along the path of its societal evolution, has developed a certain number of techniques to reach such altered states in order to gain a deeper understanding of the working of reality and the place humans assume in it.


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Introduction. (1)

By confronting one’s conscious certainties with one’s subconscious visions one gets to reconcile them in a unified consciousness that is boosted at a higher level. This supplement of consciousness is then integrated within the scope of one’s conscious certainties. Mastering such a process fixes it in the mind and the resulting automatism engages an unstoppable quest for ever higher levels of consciousness. This is the path of the man of knowledge1 that opens one’s vision to what is emerging in the present as the substance of the future.


Writing season 2016-2017 = Book 3. Divination

Hi patient readers,

I have started writing, these last few weeks, the first draft of "Book 3: Divination" of my series "From Modernity to After-Modernity". My experience last winter with "Book 2: Theoretical Considerations" was really exhausting. Furthermore the length of my posts and the weekly publishing I had imposed on myself resulted in draft versions that I felt were sometimes not sufficiently thought out.  So I plan on a slower rhythm this winter with shorter posts (3-4000 words instead of 8-9000).

My first post, in this 2016-2017 winter series about the future, will appear on December 9th. Thinking about the future has been called divination since ancient times that's why I borrow that old word as title of the writing of this season 3 that later will become Book 3.


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Summary sketch of part 2.

Life is one of the applications installed in the operating system of the universe and it emerges eventually in those of its sub-sets whose context contains all the ingredients for life to emerge.

Humanity is one of the youngest species to have evolved from such a process of emergence on earth. As all species humanity is subservient to the application of the principle of life. By that I mean that we can’t escape its rules; we are merely dancing to the tune of its music.


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What follows is the table of content of the 25 posts I published during the past winter 2015-2016. These posts form part 2 of "From Modernity to After-Modernity" that addresses my personal theoretical views about societal evolution and the arts. This part 2 ended up totaling 204,122 words or some 750 book pages. I thought a table of content of this material could be useful to those of my readers who would want to read or re-read some specific parts of the content.  To find the post relating to the subject that interests you please go here.

Part 3 will address the paradigm shift that has already been set in motion during Late-Modernity. In other worlds part 3 shall address the formation of a new worldview, a new form of societal organization, and a new understanding of the arts that will replace the models of Modernity in the coming future... This will be the subject of my writing during the winter 2016-2017.

Until then I wish you all a very creative summer.



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Chapter 5. About the arts

5.4. the arts in what comes after Modernity
As I have laid out extensively already Modernity is in its late phase that I call Late-Modernity. This new context is made of multiple existential crisis that prepare the conditions for the seeds of what comes after Modernity to sprout. What is at stake here is the birth of a whole new societal paradigm that emerges as an answer to a falling model.
One of the most interesting aspects of the new paradigm relates to knowledge formation and acquisition.


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Dear readers I'm really sorry for this late publishing of the last articles in this series.  A software glitch left me stranded in Beijing and I could not find a way to access Blogger. There are 3 more posts to complete the publishing of what I wrote along the last winter. I'll post them weekly as I did in the past.
I wish you all a great summer. I'll be back publishing next November.
Laodan Numerous contemporary ideas about the future.

People generally agree that modernity has yielded a series of bottlenecks but they widely disagree on their future outcomes for human societies. The range of future possible outcomes varies along the line between the following two extreme beliefs:
  • the belief in technological singularity
  • the belief in the collapse of modern civilization.


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Part 2. Theoretical considerations 
Chapter 5. About the arts  China.

China and the countries in the TriContinentArea ("Middle-East: in Western European parlance) experienced a radically different transition from tribal societies to empire. In one word the countries in the TriContinentArea, as well as those that later adopted one of their worldview like Europe and its colonially forced geographic extensions for example, experienced a rupture with their tribal and animist past. China on the other hand experienced continuity. I exposed the reason for this radical divergence in “4.7.2. About the emergence and development of China's institutions of governance".

Rupture means that empires discard anything relating to tribes and develop a new governance structure and a new worldview from scratch. Continuity means that empires grew organically by adopting animism and by growing it further with add-ons.

This rupture versus continuity principle implies two radically different paths for the arts in Europe versus China.


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Part 2. Theoretical considerations 
Chapter 5. About the arts

5.2.3. From biological evolution to societal evolution

What I propose here is that biological evolution has been a first mover in the process of the evolution of life. It has bestowed on us our biological characteristics in a process of natural selection that operated over hundreds of millions of years. Furthermore the near infinite chain of its successful mutations have imprinted patterns in our biological code that act as a predisposition of the individual to prefer beauty over ugliness, love over hate, cooperation over competition, winning over losing and so on.


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Part 2. Theoretical considerations
Chapter 5. About the arts

5.2. The origins of the arts.

It is my contention that to have a valid conversation about the arts we have first and foremost to understand how and why they emerged in the first place. The arts are indeed not a given and they also did not fall from the sky. Nature has no patience with things that are of no use to it and very fast it discards such un-useful things. So logic implies that a human demand must have arisen, sometime and in a given context, for the usage of the arts. They must indeed have emerged as a valid answer to a human necessity in a given context. That’s what I want to address here.