Man is ready for the “virtual age” that art has always offered him.

“One can see in this decadence of narratives an effect of the rise of techniques and technologies since the Second World War, which has put the accent on the means of action rather than on its ends.”

The Postmodern Condition, Jean-François Lyotard


In the metamodern society, man feels less certain than ever. Uncertainty overwhelms him.

The search for knowledge, in the traditional sense, has nothing left to offer him. Methodical doubt is no longer the mentor of those who investigate the silence that surrounds them.

The metamodern man is beyond the time of ideological ups and downs. Not only does he know that he does not know, but he resents it, and has normalized it with resignation. Before the impenetrable wall in front of him, the metamodern man needs to find a crack, he lives in an informed prison and needs a new beginning. More than a captain, he is an explorer. He moves forward without a map or an answer sheet. He listens to all hunches without being able to validate any of them. After all, to obtain certainties would be the old-fashioned way of obtaining comforting truths. That is why the man of our days does not dare to doubt systematically, because it would mean going back to methods that have already been overcome. He is no longer the judge who gives his name to each stage of history. More alone than ever, he has been forced to consider all philosophies, ideologies and convictions, though always with reservations. He is skeptical, and afraid to acknowledge that not to believe is to believe in something else. He has therefore learned to tolerate confusion, inside and outside himself. For him, uncertainty is natural. He does not discriminate information, he embraces ideological alternatives and tries to tolerate them, even if he does not consider them his own. With no other option, he is driven by preferences and conditioning factors. It carries the light weight of spontaneity. Under the precept of survival, metamodern man adapts to change with greater flexibility than ever before.

Zygmunt Bauman had suggested that modernity has a liquid consistency. Metamodernity is rather evanescent. Its dynamics are reminiscent of the emanation of vapor in a gaseous state. Its trace escapes us and is invisible.

Dr. Tedros Adharnom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, recently declared that the end of the pandemic is in sight. For almost three years we deprived ourselves of the “face-to-face”, and through technology gave space to what we could call “semi-face-to-face”, which we discovered as the new canon: “not being”, with the feeling of “being”.

Be that as it may, the pandemic made us feel that it would start a new era. In the midst of this climate, technological giants took the biggest steps to their advantage. On October 21, 2021, Facebook Inc. changed its business name to “Meta.” Was it the right time to announce the undelayable? In this case, the Greek prefix “meta” denotes something different. It does not appeal to the “beyond” in time, but to the “beyond” in the material world as we know it. It refers to the non-tangible, “virtual”, “augmented” reality. The “metaverse” that Zuckenberg proposes as an inevitable presage is a project under construction, and will be more than an interface. It is one of the technological scenarios that will contribute to convince human beings that they inhabit another era, one where the material and the immaterial coexist, and where the intangible ceases to have a ghostly character and becomes part of the ordinary world.

It is worth mentioning that the “meta society” already existed. It was only in recent years that we spoke of metamemory, metacognition, metaemotion, metaprogramming and metalanguage. It is in this new sense that the metamodern society will be consolidated as the starting point towards something we do not yet know.

A new label will be needed for the era to come. The terms “ultramodernity” by the Argentine poet Leopoldo Marechal (1900-1970), “postmodernity” by Jean-François Lyotard (1979), and “hypermodernity” by Gilles Lypovetzki (2004), have given their all. After four centuries, Cartesian modernity is in its twilight and will not survive much longer.