A Metamodern Solarpunk Manifesto
AKA The Neotribal Grimoire Of Metamodern Solarpunk
This manifesto is a mashup of ideas from the work of Hanzi Frienacht, Seth Abramson, The Solar Punk Manifesto and Andrew Dana Hudson. With a few of our own original thoughts sprinkled in for good measure. Collated by Joe Lightfoot in collaboration with Samantha Ruane & Dr. Jason Fox. Original artwork by Arrow Bow.
We are Metamodern Solarpunks!
Or at least we're doing our best to compassionately support ourselves and each other towards moving in this general direction!
The True - Our Philosophy & Politics
We Are Metamodern. Because the only other options for us are condemnation & discord. (2)
Wherever possible we:
Oscillate between sincerity and irony.
Seek to become aware of and integrate our allergies. (3)
Adopt Both/And thinking. (4)
Recognise the limits, dangers and sublime usefulness of developmental stage models. (5)
Try to collect, appreciate and integrate as many perspectives as possible.
Aim to combine the Modern faith in progress with the Postmodern critique. (6)
Attempt to understand and work with, rather than deny the existence of hierarchies. We lovingly aikido throw dominator hierarchies into growth hierarchies at every opportunity.
Assume a playful stance towards life and existence, a playfulness that demands of us the gravest seriousness, given the ever-present potentials for unimaginable suffering and bliss. (7)
Are both pragmatically Machiavellian whilst remaining infatuated by our Eutopian ideals.
Cultivate a religious, glittering, gleaming faith and iron resolve in the face of utter meaninglessness. (8)
Recognise there is development in the world, and that we can serve that development: humanity can progress to more complex stages, whilst also remembering our particular vision of development is destined to be disproven and mistaken. (9)
See ourselves and our species as being on a long developmental journey towards greater complexity and existential depth. (10)
Remain firmly in touch with reality whilst adopting a ‘romantic response to crisis’, in that we’re aware of the many looming threats to our survival as a species but choose to remain as upbeat as possible in the face of such stark realities. We keep proactively engaging with our communities even in moments when we believe the cause may be lost.
The Beautiful - Our Aesthetics & Élan Vital (11)
We Are Solarpunk. Because the only other options for us are denial or despair. (12)
Wherever possible we:
Choose to radically change our ways and halt the destruction of our biosphere.
Galvanise our intent with personal narrative employed as political strategy.
Embrace playful, humble, futuristic aesthetics to catalyse a movement. Imagine highly ornamental nature motifs overlaid with Arts & Craft, Jugaad, Miyazaki, Wakanda, Art Nouveau and Retro-Galactic sensibilities all rolled into one widely interpreted visual mélange. (See our Metamodern Solarpunk Image Board here)
Move quietly and plant things. (13)
Seek to create a world more curious and kind. (14)
Value design that speaks of a gentleness, and a recognition that colour and beauty can bring joy and give life meaning in even the most painful of circumstances. (15)
Choose to play the Infinite Game. In the words of James P. Carse 'there are at least two kinds of games: finite and infinite. A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play.'
Make the case that small is beautiful and that more is not always better.
Value ingenuity, generativity, interdependence and community.
Emphasize environmental sustainability, subsidiarity and social justice.
Find ways to make life more wonderful for us right now, and also for the generations that follow us. (16)
Value youth maker culture, biomimicry, local solutions, local energy grids and ways of creating autonomous functioning systems. (17)
Consider and attempt to include all cultures, religions, ages, income brackets, abilities, sexes, genders and sexual identities. (18)
Learn to use science wisely, for the betterment of all life on our planet.
Attempt to foster a socio-cultural environment which emphasises individual autonomy, consent, unity-in-diversity, with the free egalitarian distribution of power. (19)
Remember we're no longer overlords. We’re caretakers, gardeners and custodians that aim to reduce suffering for all sentient beings. (20) (21)
Value the utmost levels of diversity in our systems.
See that spirituality and science coexist and are mutually generative.
Remember that what we build never goes away; often it must be lived in. The wreckage of the unsustainable is our frontier. And we seek to remake our cities greener and better. (22)
Recognise we only have 10 years to save the world, but it’s going to take us 100 years to do it. (23)
The Good - Our Sense Of The Sacred & The Communal
We are Neotribal. Because the only other options for us are hyper-individuality & alienation. (24)
Wherever possible we:
Realise how much we need each other. And that in fact we are so transpersonally and sociologically entwined, that in many ways, we are each other.
Recognise that our psycho-biological systems evolved in tribal contexts, thus we have a sneaking suspicion that we may never achieve genuine contentment until some semblance of such a lifestyle has been re-imagined in our modern culture.
Respect and honour the subtle complexity and time tested wisdom of Indigenous thinking and actively seek out these perspectives in order to make better sense of our looming existential threats. (25)
Continually cultivate self awareness as a means to improve the quality of our relationships. As we believe healthy relationships are the basis for a healthy culture and society.
Appreciate and respect the wisdom, insight and potential for deeper psychological integration provided to us by the carefully considered use of entheogens.
Seek to learn all we can from the egalitarian practices of immediate return hunter gatherer tribes such as The Penan and the !Kung. Their highly nuanced reverse dominance hierarchies are just one example of this. (26) (27)
Wish to undergo the journey from being Social Animals towards becoming Community Creatures. (28)
Acknowledge that Modern society is the often brilliant, highly neurotic, deeply traumatised, hulking younger brother of Organic Society (29). And that it is in dire need of some wise counsel from its more balanced and integrated older sister.
See ourselves and each other as ‘Communities Of One’, a complex collection of different psychological parts and archetypes each with their own individual preferences and agendas. (30)
Attempt to recognise, sit with and integrate our personal and collective trauma.
Recognise that the Enneagram can be a powerful lens for understanding ourselves and each other. (31)
Believe that the right human containers, constellations and social structures are paramount to our wellbeing. And so seek to constantly evolve and innovate upon our communities of practice and care.
Recognise the importance of reclaiming ritual and rhythm in order to cultivate regenerative communal cultures. (32)
Gently yet courageously look beyond the nuclear family, the traditional romantic partnership and the classical friendship group as the primary containers for our human experience.
Recognise the wisdom of Murray Bookchin’s socio-political vision of Communalism. (33)
Move towards the vision of A Collective Blooming, where a planet wide network of peaceful, decentralised, ecologically sustainable and socially just communities all begin to flower at once.
What's Next & Thank You
If this manifesto lights you up then you can stay in the loop by signing up to the
The Lightfoot Letter. Our deepest thanks to the writers whose words inspired this Manifesto and to the kind and insightful friends who offered feedback during its development. Our intention is for it to be a living and evolving manifesto that continues to develop in response to the many minds and hearts that may interact with it. Extra special thanks to Arrow Bow for providing the artwork and to Samantha Ruane and Dr. Jason Fox whose beautiful minds and generous kinship was the spark that brought this manifesto into being. And as Dr. Fox is fond of saying, 'onwards now, towards a world more curious and kind.'
Source Material & Notes
(1) Greenies - As in Ecologically Conscious 'Greenies', the kind of people that compost religiously, ride their bikes everywhere, only eat organic foods and sew all of their own clothes with plant fibres grown in their own gardens. Not Spiral Dynamics 'Greenies'.
(2) Discord - As in disagreement, not the App which is actually pretty handy for cultivating community online.
(3) Allergies - An allergy is an uncontrolled negative emotional response towards a particular idea or person. Hanzi Frienacht, 5 Things That Make You Metamodern
(4) Hanzi Frienacht, 5 Things That Make You Metamodern
(5) Development Models - We recognise they can be a form of intellectual crack and manage our addictions with as much grace as we can muster.
(6) Hanzi Frienacht, 5 Things That Make You Metamodern
(7) Hanzi Frienacht, Metamodernism - The Conquest Of A Term
(8) Hanzi Frienacht, Metamodernism - The Conquest Of A Term
(9) Hanzi Frienacht, Metamodernism - The Conquest Of A Term
(10) Seth Abramson - Ten Basic Principles Of Metamodernism
(11) By Élan Vital we mean the creative vital impetus that stirs us into action.
(12) Adam Flynn, Solarpunk Notes Towards A Manifesto
(13) Andrew Dana Hudson, On The Political Dimensions Of Solarpunk
(14) Dr. Jason Fox, Move Quietly & Plant Things
(15) Andrew Dana Hudson, On The Political Dimensions Of Solarpunk
(16) Re-des.org, A Solarpunk Manifesto
(17) Re-des.org, A Solarpunk Manifesto
(18) Re-des.org, A Solarpunk Manifesto
(19) Jay Springett, SOLARPUNK - Life in the Future Beyond Rusted Chrome of Yestermorrow
(20) Re-des.org, A Solarpunk Manifesto
(21) Tyson Yunkaporta, Sandtalk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save The World, 2019, Text Publishing
(22) Andrew Dana Hudson, On The Political Dimensions Of Solarpunk
(23) Jay Springett, SOLARPUNK - Life in the Future Beyond Rusted Chrome of Yestermorrow
(24) Neotribal - While we're sensitive to the fact that the word tribe has been applied in some very dubious ways over the years, and that more recently the term tribalisation has come to represent extreme political divisions. We're using the word Neotribe with a deep reverence, as a means of pointing to the only truly sustainable societal model that humans have ever created, a way of being that has made up more than 95% of our history as a species.
(25) Indigenous Wisdom - Indigenous societies have proven themselves to be sustainable and holistic in a way that Modern society hasn’t.
(26) Immediate Return Hunter Gatherer Cultures - P2P Foundation Wiki Entry
(27) Reverse Dominance Hierarchy - P2P Foundation Wiki Entry
(28) M.Scott Peck, The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace, 1987, Touchstone
(29) Organic Society refers to Egalitarian Hunter Gatherer Cultures.
(30) We Are Communities Of One (Parts) - See the work of Richard C. Schwartz and his Internal Family Systems therapy for one example of such a perspective on the human psyche. (31) The Enneagram - Yes, yes, we know some of you still think this is all New Age Fooey, and we agree that it may seem a little strange to name just one tool when there are so many other powerful tools out there as well, but we've found the Enneagram to be such a profoundly useful tool for increasing self awareness and communal cohesion that it simply needed to get a mention. When approaching the Enneagram it's always good to be aware of the Barnum Effect and to note that the Big 5 personality traits are currently the gold standard in terms of empirical data and research. At this point the Enneagram is not backed up with enough meaningful research to validate it in the eyes of mainstream psychology. (32) Rhythm In Community - The rhythmic sequence of spending time in solitude, meeting in person, online, in groups and one to one throughout the weekly, monthly and yearly cycles. (33) Communalism - Here is the jist of it, in pamphlet form!
Joe Lightfoot is a writer, podcaster and apprentice community weaver. He is the author of A Collective Blooming: The Rise Of The Mutual Aid Community and the host of The Lightfoot Podcast. You can sign up to his newsletter The Lightfoot Letter, follow him on Facebook or Twitter.