Once upon a time in the future: The Dumbledore of Metamodernity

Once upon a time in the future: The Dumbledore of Metamodernity

Artist in Residence, Metamodern Fairytale #230318 by Héde van Dekker

Keywords: complexity, estuarine, Existentiality of Love, meta-muggleism, metamodernism, metamodernity, real magic


Lets travel to the Hogwarts of Metamodernity. – A place full of wonders and magic. Meta-Mugglers don’t dare to dream of it. Today, my fellow traveller we will meet the wise old man I wish would facilitate this place: the Dumbledore of Metamodernity.

You find him at Caernarfon Castle, that is situated close to the sea, four towers hosting the four magic schools: Hufflepuff for the more simple minded helping out wherever they can, the witty experts from Ravenclaw, diving deep into topics nobody else understands. The brave Gryffindor, journeying the unknown when needed and called upon, and the cunning Slytherin with a love for uncontrollable chaos aiming to profit from it but being often consumed by it. In the middle of the castle a tall tower, with a library, all kinds of secret elixirs (some say they taste like gin) and books on biology, philosophy, ethnography and complexity. High up in a room with a great view we find him situated between the four schools, in the tower of multiple belongings…

the Dumbledore of Metamodernity.


He travels a lot to share his wisdom on the subtle complexities of metamodernity and holds dear a humble, yet stubborn view on reality. He looks out for the hidden Gorillas, that usually not even Doctors of witchcraft can see. And then asks with ironic sincerity: „How is it, that you can not see the gorilla, even if you look straight at it?“ His heart I imagine has grown through the challenges of all kinds of fantastic struggles (sometimes with teal dragons and meta-muggles). Over the course of time his righteousness prevailed, not for its own sake but to keep those subtle complexities alive in the magic of metamodernity. Every morning he looks in the glass ball in front of him, to read about the wizards news, picking fights and arguing for the true course, to stir the ship away from simplistic coaching tools or dangerous developmental model thought.

During a day of leisure he loves silent and long walks in nature, preferably the mountains of Wales, not the alp mountains that Freinacht prefers or the Black Forest that is my favourite place. Deep in the night he is still awake working to guard the power of meaning in ordinary magical spells and to stand up when meta-muggles sell snake oil for gold. He proudly has written and run the „magical compendium for difficult times“ for the European Muggle Union. Watch out for the Hexi witchcraft that comes with it. Other wizards play with spirals and quadratic forms. They fall in love with lines, stages and states. They hope that a circle shaped diagram or an iceberg model spell will take away the monsters and demons of the messiness of this world. Yet, he patiently stays with complexity and asks the question of how to make sense of it.

Often you see him running around, conducting multiple fail safe experiments to see what wants to grow next. Sometimes he urges you to slow down, not to judge the book by its cover but to widen your gaze into it. He knows that words hold great magic in the most ordinary thoughts. Therefore, he gathers them through asking the right questions that allow the power of spells to flow into small stories of thought. He harnesses them in triangles of complexity. Always looking at the big picture, allowing the magic of evolutionary potential to be unleashed in the present moment. His service is well in demand by powerful houses all over the world.  Yet, his true passion is passing on the knowledge and wisdom gained through the struggles with having to deal with all sorts of muggleism be it meta or not. That’s why he is no ordinary, but the Dumbledore of Metamodernity.

He has a soft spot for Buffy who studied in Hogwarts a while ago – slaying musical demons is a fun sport they both enjoy quite a bit. At night he listens to Wagner, Götterdämmerung, not because he is in favour of a Gesamtkunstwerk but he certainly enjoys the sheer rapture that comes with the sound of it. His walls are covered with paintings from the Renaissance – sceptical of enlightened wizards he argues for the collective spirit of a time where city states and diverse knowledge facilitated prosperity in the western world. He knows what it means to be thrown into nothingness and to realise the grip of language over man, a shared experience that we both seem to value a lot.

Lately you can see him out there in the field close to the Caernarfon shore mapping the edges of the estuarine. Whistling the melody of the song Unknown by Anna from Frozen II: “Take a step, step again, it is all that I can to do the next right thing“. And then, quietly, dreaming the question of the Metamodern turn that lives deeply buried, hidden yet very alive in his big old heart: How can we realise the existentiality of love?


Héde van Dekker, 18.03.23

Photo: DALL-E – OpenAI