A Metamodern Anthem for the God that's Emerging
“Time… was sure, I’m sure,
to raise our faction up: the consequence
of history which, in its twists and turns,
always gives answer to its own excess
by harmonizing poles… And now it has!
for now our moment’s come!”
(The GOD Emerging, p. 121)
We stand at an auspicious moment in history, one both perilous and promising. Everywhere I look, I see things falling apart. And yet, I also see people coming together—people from all over the world, assembling to meet the herculean challenges at hand and turn momentous crisis into opportunity. This, more than anything, gives me hope in this gravely uncertain time between worlds.
Ten years ago, if you had told me that there would be a collective awakening around our decaying culture’s urgent need for meaning, with various efforts by rogue intellectuals to reverse-engineer transcendence and redesign religion and communitas for the 21st century, I would have laughed (longingly). At the time, it was the best I could do to simply imagine such a community, to dream them up and write them into my work as if they might someday materialize.
And yet… it’s happening. You’re here. We’re doing this. Call it what you will (personally I’m fond of Joe Lightfoot's “liminal web”), but it exists. And in an odd and unexpected way, the energetic, meaning-hungry movement I’d both written of and for has finally manifested. Our task: to reconstruct, to re-enchant, to fix a world broken by parasitic processes and dying systems, to reinvent religio and give birth to a new conception of the sacred.
In Recapture the Rapture, Jamie Wheal argues that we find ourselves in a meaning crisis owing to the failure of Meaning 1.0 (traditional religion) as well as Meaning 2.0 (modern rationalism). “As both Meaning 1.0 and Meaning 2.0 have collapsed,” he writes, “we’re experiencing a global crisis. And into that vacuum have rushed a host of beliefs that threaten the fabric of civilization,” from extremism to nihilism.“ So the question for us,” he concludes, “is what Meaning 3.0 might look like. Can we architect culture that balances the salvation of traditional religion with the inclusion of liberalism? Can we do it not by top-down fiat but rather by bottom-up mobilization?” This same meaning crisis, and the endeavor to engineer a fitting response, likewise preoccupies John Vervaeke, whose “religion that is not a religion” has emerged as an urgent design challenge in conversation with the likes of Jordan Hall, Layman Pascal, myself and others. The “old world religions” are no longer efficacious; what open-source, bottom-up articulation of the sacred comes after? Similar projects energize and synergize with the integral community, metamodernists, syntheists, metapsychologists like Zak Stein and Gregg Henriques, and, with each passing day it seems, still other efforts aiming at renewal. Everyone is asking: How might we progressively re-engage meaning after the modern and postmodern paradigms that supplanted traditional religion have, in their turn, proven inadequate?
To this end, I offer The GOD Emerging. It tells the story of this collective project. It is a sort of myth for this growing movement—a myth of the return of mythos itself. It relates, in poetic terms, how, after the traditional God was overthrown by modernity, and modernity swiftly overthrown in turn by postmodernity, a vacuum of meaning opened up—into which rushes the Salesman, an opportunistic charlatan keen to turn people’s insatiable longing for Something More into profit. So rises a world based on consumerism, materialism, and nihilism, destroying Earth and value in the process. From this world the book's protagonist escapes—to see if he might somehow rescue God and return a sense of sacredness to Earth. Eventually, he returns from his journey to the underworld, only to find a growing community of post-postmodern creatives, artists, writers and thinkers, all likewise eager to re-engage meaning and overthrow the Salesman. So begins their defiant march on the City, culminating in a daring insurrection that topples crude materialism and renews a sense of reverence for Life and Earth again as a new, re-imagined God is born.
Call it utopian, but maybe a dose of hopeful idealism like this is what we need? Stories to encourage this most unlikely of endeavors. Symbols to evoke as we commune in shared purpose. An initial effort at some scripture-like mythos that, I hope, captures our spirit, our passion, our ethos and our mission.
The GOD Emerging is a myth addressed specifically to a metamodern generation of thinkers, activists, metatheorists, system poets, and sensemakers who see a broken and despairing world and wish to fill it once more with wisdom, meaning, and coherence. That is what the time demands of us. Here is my contribution. It is dedicated to you.
Get your copy HERE.
All proceeds will go to support other members/projects in our community.