• Hanzi Freinacht: Misleading Humanity?!

    Bullying of Consciousness and the Pre-Traditionalism of Hanzi`s Meta-Modernism

I have written this without looking at typo, grammar, wording. To the best of my abilities I have assessed each piece of textuality with my method that is transparent within other Blog Posts here, but hopefully comprehensible only in reading this. Too, though I work thoroughly, I sometimes make mistakes, so please take care what you do with my developmental judgments. I hope you can follow the rational but anyways: you can have a different take on development and see other criteria than hierarchical complexity and integration as used here for measurement.


Introduction: Veridiction. 1

Assessing Freinacht 2

Method. 2

Hanzi Freinacht Assessed. 2

Parenthesis on Foucault`s Positive Accomplishment 4

Continuing with Freinacht 4

Comparison with Foucault 5

Comparison with Descartes 6

Comparison with Christianity. 7

Comparison with Plato. 7

Conclusion. 7


Introduction: Veridiction & Therapeutic Discourse

As part of discourse – and discourse ethics as depicted by Habermas – it is of importance to look at the objectivity of certain utterances namely, is there or is there no correlation with sensory experiences. Of course, objectivity is not that simple but otherwise we can state with Foucault that each text is a form of veridiction, which means that we generate truth, we construct reality, and when these reality constructions are in recurse to certain concepts of knowledge and truth we can test them for their validity. Simplistically said, we can look if someone is a liar or tells the truth. In Foucault`s later work the concept of Parrhesia plays a special role, which means that we must engage in discourse and speak our truth in order to support our veridiction, the forms of governmentality we prioritize, and the practices of self we should collectively apply. I could say more about my motives but basically, I sense that we have a bully running around in the integral scene – a bully just like me, when we speak of shadow boxing, but a bully of a different degree I would respond. It is a little brother of Wilber`s bullying against Postmodernity but in our case, it seems to be the worst kind of bully; the one who maybe out of resentment or blindness and whatever reasons else, bullies the likely intellectual superior and defenseless (in this case the defenseless and dead Foucault) and wants to flush their head down the toilette?!

We speak of the self-announced Metamodernist Hanzi Freinacht. But what is actually true about his claims to have gone beyond Michel Foucault and Postmodernity. The following table shows the final assessment of Freinacht in the Order of Things, which you might comprehend at the end of the article.

I see this here, thus as a valuable contribution to a Therapeutical Discourse that is necessary within the Integral Scene.

Assessing Freinacht

According to Hanzi Freinacht there are three meanings of the term Metamodernism: a cultural phase, a developmental stage, a philosophical paradigm. The only meaning we are interested here is the second one. Is metamodernism as depicted by the Freinachts really at a later stage than Foucault and thus postmodernism – which is what they claim in their book The Listening Society?


On my blog you find instructions how to reconstruct my assessment procedure. But, simplistically you can assume there are layers of stages and each stage within a layer adds another series of complexity of a given layer. In our case: the stages we are dealing with are those of “Thirdness”; which means that a sentence at the 1st Stage of Thirdness includes one sentence made up of three parts: one of firstness, one of secondness, and one of thirdness. The 2nd Stage of Thirdness then is made up of sentences combining two sentences, each made up of three parts, whereas the 3rd Stage of Thirdness combines three sentences, each made up of three parts. The 4th Stage of Thirdness then is made up of three more or less independently meaningful clauses and one dependent clause – which is a fourth sentence that can only be in completion when one is within “Fourthness”.

However, what is a sentence? A sentence normally is subject, predicate, object, then it is a simple clause. When it combines more then one predicate with subject and object one speaks of a complex clause. To be within Thirdness you ideally have three subjects, three predicates, and three objects – thus the sentence is made up of three parts.

Hanzi Freinacht Assessed

We simply dissect the chapter Symbol Stage G: Metamodernism from Listening Society and only look at sentences which are really made up of three parts to keep it simple. If sentences include only two parts, i.e., only a predicative judgment, or two subjects with two up to four predicates we simply call them Secondness, which means they are at a stage earlier than Loevinger`s and Cook-Greuter`s Achiever and thus part of Wilber`s Red to Amber stages. This does not necessarily mean that there is no sentence with higher hierarchical complexity within the book but predicts with some likelihood – and most simply stated – the stage of the Freinachts. Since Freinacht writes “of course, symbol-stage G Metamodern is what this whole book is about”, that he really assumes to be at a later stage than Foucault whom he puts at Symbol Stage F and Systematic Cognition – and to model Metamodernity one needs Metasystematic Cognition so the Authors.

secondness [Of course, symbol-stage G Metamodern is] [what this whole book is about (as well as the other Hanzi books).]

secondness [You also get most of it in the appendix—[the ideas about reality, society, self and humanity that constitute this symbol-stage]—in a very condensed form.]

But still, let’s take a look.

1st Stage of Thirdness Wait a minute—says the metamodernist—[1st Part if all perspectives are to be included for us] [2nd Part “Us” to be able to strive towards universal values,] [3rd Part how come that the only perspective you pomos (postmodernists) seem to value is your own?]

1st Stage of Thirdness [1st Part Doesn’t the inclusion of all perspectives require] [2nd Part the successful accommodation of those perspectives, including the modernism] [3rd Part that you so vehemently oppose?]

1st Stage of Thirdness [1st Part You aren’t really taking the other perspectives seriously,] [2nd Part if you don’t evaluate, compare and connect them] [3rd Part —and give each perspective its due credit.

Secondness [You say that you go beyond modern society by means of critical thinking,] [but what do you really offer us?]

1st Stage of Thirdness [1st Part You are against all grand narratives,] [2nd Part all stories about how the world at large is evolving,] [3rd Part because you find them monolithic and oppressive.]

Secondness [1st Part You are against all overarching maps of society and reality,] [2nd Part because you think they reduce the richness of life and existence too much.]

Secondness [And you always strive to be on the critical side of things,] [always against stuff.]

Secondness [And you say you don’t really believe in progress and development,] [2nd Part you only believe in changes of cultures, interpretations and power structures.]

Secondness [When you vote] [you often go with the Left or the Greens—and in some cases with intellectual forms of libertarianism.]

Secondness [But whenever any of these powers come close to government,] [the same modern, bureaucratic structures reemerge.]

1st Stage of Thirdness [1st Part While you criticize the often exaggerated “objectivity” of modern science,] [2nd Part and you have produced some interesting research programs in social science and humanities (such as ethnomethodology, interactionism, discourse analysis, cultural studies, postcolonialism, eco-feminism, queer theory, etc.),] [3rd Part you have not really produced a new science equaling the 17th century Scientific Revolution.]

Secondness [And what about the Enlightenment—] [its ideas inform the constitutions of most countries in the world.]

1st Stage of Thirdness [1st Part You had the 1968 student revolution in France and the counterculture in the US and other countries,] [2nd Part authors like Herbert Marcuse and Aldous Huxley leading the fray;] [3rd Part but where is your new society?]

1st Stage of Thirdness [1st Part [Increasingly, you have got crammed up at university departments] [2nd Part where you write critiques of everything from IMF (International Monetary Fund) reports to pop songs and music videos] [3rd Part —but where is the alternative you offer?]

Secondness [For a while it was “democratic socialism”,] [but after 1989 we haven’t really seen any credible claims for it.]

Secondness [Then it was “deep ecology”,] [but the world is industrializing and consuming and modernizing faster than ever.]

1st Stage of Thirdness [1st Part Then you came up with queer feminism and updated versions of radical feminism,] [2nd Part which is nice, but nowhere is there any evidence] [3rd Part that “breaking the hetero norm” and “crushing patriarchy” bring forth any true revolution or lead to an otherwise fair society.]

Secondness [Frankly, women have been more liberated by the pill and other advances of medicine,] [than by postmodern theory.]

1st Stage of Thirdness [1st Part And then you have been going on about neoliberalism,] [2nd Partwhich you take to be an evil spirit that has possessed the world,] [3rd Part but you have yet to produce any alternative beyond bureaucratic control.]

Secondness [Occupy Wall Street didn’t offer more than a buzz.]

Secondness [All of your projects have fallen to the ground,] [without any of them deeply changing society.]

1st Stage of Thirdness [1st Part There have been some shifts, yes,] [2nd Part but we still live in what must be seen as a modern society:] [3rd Part still it is capitalist, alienating, unequal and ecologically disastrous.]

Secondness [Let’s look at your pomo heroes.]

Thirdness [Foucault was good at criticizing modern society,] [I’ll give you that.]

Secondness [But what did he believe in?]

Secondness [He wanted to make it legal for adults to have sex with kids (no age limit)] [and was deeply enthused by the Iranian revolution.]

Secondness [He never came up with one useful solution.]


1st Stage of Thirdness [1st Part The problem you have, dear pomo, is that] [2nd Part you fail to construct or suggest anything useful or durable,] [3rd Part because you are only truly interested in being an anti-thesis to the existing society.]

Parenthesis on Foucault`s Positive Accomplishment

One could analyze this text in many ways. E.g., a large part of the sentences does not move beyond the Impulsive to Rule-Oriented stages or resides within simple Formal-Operations at the Diplomat to Expert stages where abstract content like Foucault could not possibly be comprehended, wherefore we deal with cliché not with mental thought and meaning making in my opinion – one of the scoring categories Loevinger had for these early stages when they expressed later stage content.

As a good example can serve denigrating Foucault for his attitude towards children instead of analyzing and discussing an actual part of his writing – the normal technique of populism and a radical ideologist approach show up here rather than a dialectical approach as it is practice in Philosophy.

Let us before assessing Foucault look at the following passage from the Courage of Truth:

“With the notion of parrhesia, originally rooted in political practice and the problematization of democracy, then later diverging towards the sphere of personal ethics and the formation of the moral subject, with this notion with political roots and its divergence into morality, we have, to put things very schematically—and this is what interested me, why I stopped to look at this and am still focusing on it—the possibility of posing the question of the subject and truth from the point of view of the practice of what could be called the government of oneself and others. And thus, we come back to the theme of government which I studied some years ago.24 It seems to me that by examining the notion of parrhesia we can see how the analysis of modes of veridiction, the study of techniques of governmentality, and the identification of forms of practice of self interweave. Connecting together modes of veridiction, techniques of governmentality, and practices of the self is basically what I have always been trying to do.”

What Foucault actually puts forth are three layers of discourse that a hold together by the means of Parrhesia. Foucault himself, who in his earlier book The Government of the Self and the Other refers to Kant`s three famous questions “What can I know?”, “What ought I to do?”, “What can I hope?”, in my opinion is an important part of the project started by the modernists adding an important part towards the outer being of reality as an inside view on discourse that parallels the one developed by Habermas.

Immanuel Kant

(Angerer Stage: 3.4 – Integral: Upper Left Outside View)

Jürgen Habermas

(Angerer Stage: 3.4 – Integral: Lower Left Outside View)

Michel Foucault

(Angerer Stage: 3.4 – Integral: Lower Left Inside View)

Pure Reason Communicative Action Parrhesia
“What can I hope?” Therapeutic Discourse Practices of Self
“What shall I do?” Normative Discourse Forms of Governmentality
“What can I know?” Practical Discourse Forms of Veridiction

It is factually not true that Foucault does not add anything but only criticizes; just this little example proofs, from my point of view, Freinacht wrong.

Continuing with Freinacht

Let`s hop to the final passages of the chapter on metamodernism`s symbolical stage where metamodernism is described a bit.

1st Stage of Thirdness [1st Part If you want to include all perspectives] [2nd part and treat them fairly,] [3rd Part with Enumeration you have to be able to compare them to one another and see how they are each an important part of reality, and how they fit together.]

Otherwise, you are being condescending and monolithic yourself.

Secondness [If you want to transcend and leave behind the obsession with hierarchies,] [you must be able to dispassionately describe hierarchies and relate to them productively.]

1st Stage of Thirdness [If you resent hierarchies and deny them,] [you are still in their grip,] [still obsessed with them.]

Secondness [Precisely by demystifying hierarchy] [we can free ourselves from this obsession.]

1st Stage of Thirdness [If you want to be humble and self-critical,] [isn’t it humbler to assume that there are hierarchical stages beyond your own,] [that there are people with worldviews that would trump your own on its own premises, even people you may know?]

Secondness [As indicated earlier in this book,] [stage theories make for greater epistemological humility.]

1st Stage of Thirdness [If you want to be progressive,] [you have to admit that progress is at least provisionally possible] [—which then necessitates that you define, at least for the time being, in what direction such progress can and should unfold.]

1st Stage of Thirdness [If you see that social reality is constructed,] [that it is a form of patterned “meta-narrative”, and that there are serious gaps and limitations in that narrative] [—aren’t you obliged to try to reconstruct it?] To create a new story about humanity, society, reality and progress? To suggest a proto-synthesis?

1st Stage of Thirdness [And if you want to include the excluded voices,] [don’t you need to show at least some solidarity with all perspectives,] [even the ones you don’t like or that you feel superior to?]

Secondness [I, the metamodern mind, can no longer believe in the postmodern critique of modern society.]

Secondness [I see it as lacking in crucial aspects.]

Secondness [We must move on.]

Secondness [By virtue of its own dialectical logic, by the structure of its symbols and their interrelations and by its inherent self-contradictions,] [postmodernism is the midwife of metamodernism.]

Secondness [Now let’s get out there] [and kick some pomo ass.]

The final conclusion is: Hanzi Freinacht writes from the 1st Stage of Thirdness, the so called 3.1 Conscientious-Individualistic Stage that roughly correlates with Cook-Greuter`s Pluralist to Autonomous person.

This stage correlates with St. Paul`s Epistle to the Corinthians:

[1st Part If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels,] [2nd Part but do not have love,] [3rd Part I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.]

[1st Part And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge,] [2nd Part and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love,] [3rd Part I am nothing.]

Comparison with Foucault

I just opened Foucault’s 1st book Madness, the Invention of an Idea and took the 1st passage I saw which is a 1st Quarter of the 2nd Stage of Thirdness, the 3.2 Autonomous Stage – the connections between two clauses therefore are still somewhat imperfect but Foucault already there is seemingly later than Hanzi Freinacht:

1st Stage of Thirdness [1st Part When the 18th century, with Rousseau and Pestalozzi, tried to build a world according to the child’s measure,] [2nd Part through pedagogical rules adapted to his development,] [3rd Part it allowed an unreal, abstract, archaic milieu to be built around the children, without any relation to the world of the adults.]

2nd Stage of Thirdness (we don`t dissect since we would have to argue for the lack of predicates in this special case) [[The whole development of contemporary pedagogy,] [with the irreproachable aim of protecting the child] [from the conflicts of adults,]] [[only makes the gap] [between his life as a child and his life as a finished human being] [all the more pronounced in the adult.]]

1st Stage of Thirdness [1st Part That is, in order to spare him conflicts,] [2nd Part they expose the child to a particularly serious conflict,] [3rd Part namely the contradiction between his childhood and his real life.]

2nd Stage of Thirdness [1st Part [1st of 1st If we add that a culture does not project its reality with its conflicts and contradictions directly into its pedagogical institutions,] [2nd of 1st but reflects them only indirectly] [3rd of 1stthrough myths that excuse them, that justify and idealize them in a chimerical coherence;] [2nd Part [1st of 2nd if we add that a society dreams its golden age in its pedagogy,] [2nd of 2nd we understand that these pathological fixations and regressions] [3rd of 2nd are only possible in a certain culture.]

Here you see a passage from Foucault`s last lectures on The Courage to Truth, where you can find three independent clauses in one sentence and a relative clause that can be looked at as the fourth part necessary for the 4th Stage of Thirdness, i.e., a 3.4 Discourse-Aware clause (I just took it from the blogpost on The Spectrum of Consciousness and therefore the signification is somewhat different – but the complexity immediately visible):

For if [First Theme [First Rheme: “The Parrhesiast” the parrhesiast is someone who, by telling the truth, the whole truth, regardless of any other consideration, risks bringing his relationship to the other into question, and even risks his life,]] on the other hand, [Second Theme [Second Rheme: “The Person” the person to whom this truth is told—whether this is the assembled people deliberating on the best decisions to take, or the Prince, the tyrant or king to whom advice must be given, or the friend one is guiding—this person (people, king, friend), [Third – degenerate – Rheme: relative clause with subject “He” if he wants to play the role proposed to him by the parrhesiast in telling him the truth,] must accept the truth,]] however much [Fourth Theme [Fourth Rheme: “It” it may hurt generally accepted opinion in the Assembly, the Prince’s passions or interests, or the individual’s ignorance or blindness.]

The people, the prince, and the individual must accept the game of parrhesia; they must play it themselves and recognize that they have to listen to the person who takes the risk of telling them the truth.

Thus, [First Theme [First Rheme: “The True Game” the true game of parrhesia will be established on the basis of this kind of pact] which means that if [Second Theme [Second Rheme: “The Parrhesiast” the parrhesiast demonstrates his courage by telling the truth despite and regardless of everything,]] [Third Theme [Third Rheme: “The Person” the person to whom this parrhesia is addressed will have to demonstrate his greatness of soul by accepting being told the truth.]]

Thus, Foucault is approximately three Stages later than Hanzi Freinacht.

Comparison with Descartes

Descartes in the Meditations on the First Philosophy uses three complete sentences within thirdness and one dependent clause, which makes him write from the 3.4 Discourse-Aware Stage:

And as regards the soul, although many have considered that it is not easy to know its nature, and some have even dared to say that human reasons have convinced us that it would perish with the body, and that faith alone could believe the contrary, nevertheless, inasmuch as the Lateran Council held under Leo X (in the eighth session) condemns these tenets, and as Leo expressly ordains Christian philosophers to refute their arguments and to employ all their powers in making known the truth, I have ventured in this treatise to undertake the same task.

2nd Stage of Thirdness More than that, [1st Part [1st of 1st I am aware that the principal reason which causes many impious persons] [2nd of 1st not to desire to believe that there is a God,] [3rd of 1st and that the human soul is distinct from the body, is]] [2nd Part [1st of 2nd that they declare] [2nd of 2nd that hitherto no one has been able] [3rd of 2nd to demonstrate these two facts;]]

4th Stage of Thirdness [1st Part [1st of 1st and although I am not of their opinion but, on the contrary, hold] [2nd of 1st that the greater part of the reasons] [ 3rd Part of 1st which have been brought forward concerning these two questions by so many great men]] [2nd – dependent – Part [1st of 2nd/Predicate are, [2nd of 2nd when they are rightly understood,] [1st of 2nd/Object equal to so many demonstrations,] [3rd of 2nd and that it is almost impossible to invent new ones,]] [3rd Part [1st of 3rd it is yet in my opinion the case] [2nd of 3rd that nothing more useful can be accomplished in philosophy] [3rd of 3rd than once for all to seek with care for the best of these reasons,]] [4th Part [1st of 4th and to set them forth in so clear and exact a manner,] [2nd of 4th that it will henceforth be evident to everybody] [3rd of 4th that they are veritable demonstrations.]]

Descartes here is approximately three stages later than Hanzi Freinacht. Hanzi Freinacht therefore is Pre-Modern.

Comparison with Christianity

First passage from St. Augustine’s De Trinitate that showed up is already 3.2 Autonomous. Therefore, Hanzi Freinacht is Pre-Traditional:

2nd Stage of Thirdness [1st Part [1st of 1st If there only the Son sees, both for himself and for the Father as well as for the Holy Spirit,] [2nd of 1st then this again comes to the nonsense] [3rd of 1st that the Father is not wise from himself, but from the Son,]] [2nd Part [1st of 2nd and that not wisdom begets wisdom,] [2nd of 2nd but the Father is called wise by that wisdom,] [3rd of 2nd which he begets.]] For where there is no insight, there can be no wisdom.

Comparison with Plato

This is from Plato`s very early work Alcibiades – a 3.1 Conscientious-Individualistic Clause:

1st Stage of Thirdness [1st Rheme: Subject “This” [1st Theme And this was it, what we said shortly before,] [2nd Theme that Socrates uses the language talking with Alcibiades, not addressing his speeches to your face as it seems,] [3rd Theme but to Alcibiades who is the soul.]]

This is from Plato`s Kritias (of course, here are some problems with translation but I compared three different translations to find a passage that had three times three parts in all) – therefore, Hanzi Freinacht is Pre-Platonist:

For many generations, as long as the divine nature lasted in them, they were obedient to the laws, and well-affectioned towards the god, whose seed they were; for they possessed true and in every way great spirits, uniting gentleness with wisdom in the various chances of life, and in their intercourse with one another.

They despised everything but virtue, caring little for their present state of life, and thinking lightly of the possession of gold and other property, which seemed only a burden to them; neither were they intoxicated by luxury; nor did wealth deprive them of their self-control; but they were sober, and saw clearly that all these goods are increased by virtue and friendship with one another, whereas by too great regard and respect for them, they are lost and friendship with them. By such reflections and by the continuance in them of a divine nature, the qualities which we have described grew and increased among them.

3rd Stage of Thirdness [1st Part [1st of 1st But when the divine portion began to fade away,] [2nd of 1st and became diluted too often and too much with the mortal admixture,] [3rd of 1st and the human nature got the upper hand,]] [2nd Part [1st of 2nd they then, being unable to bear their fortune, behaved unseemly,] [2nd of 2nd and to him who had an eye to see grew visibly debased,] [3rd of 2nd for they were losing the fairest of their precious gifts;] [3rd part [1st of 3rd but to those who had no eye to see the true happiness,] [2nd of 3rd they appeared glorious and blessed at the very time] [3rd of 3rd when they were full of avarice and unrighteous power.]]


Hanzi Freinacht is not only Pre-Postmodern, but Pre-Modern, Pre-Traditional, and Pre-Platonic – it is difficult to imagine that the aspects of the Zeitgeist he carries will serve the human developmental trajectory, though his symbolic-syntactic field might carry aspects to which Plato might have been blind to.

But obviously he is bullying thinkers which according to the truth of developmental theory and increase in hierarchical complexity and integration he can not possibly comprehend and therefore his veridiction is of no value whatsoever but simply a blind bullying of the intellectual superior as bullies do so in each American teen movie – I am bullying back?!