Noema #4

Noēma is published by The Berggruen Institute 'established in 2010 to develop foundational ideas about how to reshape political and social institutions in the face of these great transformations.'

Issue #4 - 'Passage'

What follows after rupture is the passage to something new. The forces that have been gestating in response to breakdown emerge to forge fresh ways of thinking. Practices grounded in newfound purpose are then imbricated in society through institutional innovations that affirm the path ahead.

In his “A Study of History,” Arnold Toynbee identified this movement of “challenge and response” as the driving dynamic in the rise and fall of civilizations. Those who meet the challenge flourish. Those who fail are marginalized in the unrelenting march of transformation.

It goes without saying that the lessons of history offer little prospect of a linear leap from yesterday to tomorrow. The past rarely recedes willingly and, indeed, more often than not reappears to deflect or derail the most hopeful intentions.

In this issue, Noema seeks to trace the contours of the present historical passage and their interrelated implications.