Bildung: Keep Growing
Bildung is moral and emotional maturity. Bildung is also to have the education and knowledge necessary to thrive in your society; bildung is to be deeply embedded in culture and community while having the autonomy to carve your own path in life. Bildung is always personal and unique.
Bildung is a German word that has no word in English. Beginning in the 1770s, German philosophers explored bildung as a secular form of inner development and it became popular among the bourgeoisie.
In Denmark, a pastor realized in the 1830s that the peasants needed bildung too, and he envisioned a new kind of school: the folk-high-school. In 1851, a Danish teacher, Christen Kold, figured out how to teach in such a way that young farmhands learned to think for themselves: he told them moving stories and let them ask questions. Once he had their attention, he could teach them new farming techniques, science, philosophy, history, religion, literature, art, economic theory, and political science. Norway, Sweden and Finland copied the folk-high-school concept in the 1860s and by 1900, a critical mass of youngsters in the Nordic countries had upgraded their skills and their thinking, and the Nordics had gone from being among the poorest countries in Europe to being among the richest. This development and the bildung that carried it also meant that the Nordics made the transition from agricultural feudal societies to modern, democratic, industrialized nation-states peacefully.
As we are facing new challenges from digitization, globalization, a pandemic and environmental changes we need bildung for the 21st century and the book concludes by exploring what that might look like.
Paperback: 171 pages
Publisher: 9788793791084 (22 Jun. 2020)
Metamodernity: Meaning and Hope in a Complex World
Technological development, climate change and globalization are challenging the national institutions and modes of governance we created during the industrial era. Our old knowledge and general understanding of the world do not provide sufficient answers anymore. In order to maintain meaningful lives, social calm and liberal democracy, we need to upgrade our meaning making to match the complexity of the world we are creating.Metamodernity is an alternative to both modernity and postmodernism, a cultural code that presents itself as an opportunity if we work deliberately towards it.
Metamodernity provides us with a framework for understanding ourselves and our societies in a much more complex way. It contains both indigenous, premodern, modern, and postmodern cultural elements and thus provides social norms and a moral fabric for intimacy, spirituality, religion, science, and self-exploration, all at the same time. It is a way of strengthening local, national, continental, and global cultural heritage among all and thus has the potential to dismantle the fear of losing one’s culture as the economy as well as the internet and exponential technologies are disrupting our current modes of societal organization and governance.
Metamodernity will thus allow us to be meaning making at a deeper emotional level and a higher intellectual level compared to today; it will allow us more complex understanding, which may match the complexity of the problems we need to solve. Appropriate meaning making is the best prevention against the frustrations that generally lead to authoritarian ideologies and societal instability.Using metamodernity as the filter through which we see the world and as a template, we can create, among other things, new and appropriate education, politics and institutions for our societies of the 21st century. A vision such as this may even give hope.
Paperback: 138 pages
Publisher: Nordic Bildung (20 Jun. 2019)
A Metamodern Manifesto by Lene Rachel Andersen
The Trump presidency is the symptom of something much bigger and it is not the first time it has happened.
Our meaning-making has not been able to keep up with technology and globalization. We navigate an increasingly complex world using models that were developed for industrialization—at a time when traditional industry is disappearing.
This kind of mismatch between our real world and our understanding of it has happened before. The Reformation, the French Revolution and World War II were all results of old epistemologies reaching their limit and new ones not being able to emerge without a bloodbath.
Given that we have the knowledge we have, can we avoid the bloodbath and go straight to the peace negotiations? Can we develop the culture, education, aesthetics, and institutions that we need in order to handle the complexities of the 21st century?
Based on recurring historical patterns, moral and developmental psychology and complex-systems theory, Lene Rachel Andersen analyzes the current state of Western politics and makes a strong case for hope and a better future.
List of content and links to sources
Instead of providing sources in the book, you can find links to my sources by clicking on the respective chapters below.
Foreword - full text
Seven perspectives and short analyses
- Complex-systems theory
- Moral meaning making
- Developmental psychology
- Moral psychology
- Moral complexity
- Development of modernity
What can we do short-term?
Lene Rachel Andersen
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Photographer: Jakob Boserup
Lene Rachel Andersen is a Danish futurist and award-winning author with a background in economics and theology. She received the Ebbe Kløvedal-Reich Democracy Prize in 2007 and the Danish librarians’ democracy prize, Døssingprisen, in 2012.