The path of metamodern man is narrow, hence his anguish.


Barely more than three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, we observe that history, far from having come to an end, continues with vitality. There are ideological factors, such as the extreme forms of Islamism, whose apogee has again become visible in recent decades, and the birth and spread of various nationalisms, shadows of German romanticism, all of which make us think that history, far from being over, presents unforeseen scenarios. Then there are the autocratic states and their overwhelming economic influence, as in the case of China, the only Asian country invulnerable to the tentacles of Western democracy. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shows us, in the words of Mauricio Meschoulam (2022), that “war between states is indeed possible, even though conditions in the 21st century seemed to limit the chances of its occurrence.” All this suggests that the historical process is far from being closed, as Francis Fukuyama suggested in his famous 1989 article “The End of History?”. I believe that the romantic strain of the text contributed to its popularity, since talking about the end of history has in itself as much of a literary character as talking about history without end.


Time and again, metamodern man has been surprised, no matter how many times he has evicted history, God, and man himself. His projections, even in the field of science, to which he had held on since Copernicus, are challenged. Before the latent disappointment, he has taken refuge in the condition of his inner state. It lacks models of inspiration, virtuous examples, something that was especially necessary during this pandemic. 

Historically, various confinements led great human spirits to produce some of the greatest contributions our species has ever known: visual, literary and musical works, scientific discoveries and acute theoretical reflections. All were the product of effort made during borderline and extremely limiting situations, such as plagues, famines, wars and captivities, which drove exceptional characters to cope with confinement with astonishing results. As I wrote at the end of the first year of confinement, “Disclosure of virtuous examples was lacking in 2020, but also in 2019 and in previous years. Especially now, which was most favorable, they were also not talked about, with valuable exceptions. I am talking about publicizing facts that show us more inspiring and therefore efficient ways.”


The metamodern man lives in the midst of rumor, noise, lack of confidence in his own thoughts and the almost blind delivery of “accredited” opinions. As long as he continues his existence among the bustle and accumulation of contradictory messages, it will be difficult for him to form himself and grow up to the demands of the times. Paradoxically, he has few options. Today his path is narrow, a word from which the term “anguish” is born. His path is narrow and his difficulty in listening is great. Nothing prevents us from thinking of him as a burdened man who, although he searches with urgency, does not have much hope.