The Fourth Turning. (History Really Does Repeat Itself)

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posted on Nov, 11 2012 @ 07:22 AM
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1776 - American Revolution
1861 - American Civil War
1941 - America Enters World War II

What do these three dates have in common? Well first off, they are the three major periods of upheaval in our country's history. Difficult times in history, but necessary times...times that have made our country and our people what we are. Without the terrible trauma of the American Revolution, the American Civil War, and World War II, the United States of America would not be the country it is today.

What else do these moments in time have in common? Look at the start dates of these periods of national trauma: Strangely, they all occur in approximately 80 year intervals. Which also happens to be the length of the average human life. Think that's a coincidence? Well think again my friends...this is no coincidence, it is science, and it is fact. Every human generation experiences a time of trauma at some point in their lives, and guess what? We're about due...80 years from the last major upheaval is...

2020.

Years ago, I was driving home late one night listening to Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell, and Art was interviewing a fellow by the name of William Strauss. Mr. Strauss and his co-writer, Neil Howe, had (at that time) recently written a book called 'The Fourth Turning', and in that book they laid out their case that generations, and generational change leads to a repeated cycle of history, and if we simply look at that cyclical generational history, we can essentially predict the future.

I was totally and completely sold.

It made perfect sense to me! I have always been a huge Issac Asimov fan, and as one who has read the entire 'Foundation' series twice through, The Fourth Turning sounded, to me, like nothing short of Hari Seldon's invention of 'Psychohistory'. I decided that night that I HAD to get this book.

I don't intend to regurgitate the entire synopsis of the book here, you can read the book yourself and I highly recommend you do so, (or at least read the Wikipedia entry) but here is, in an extremely brief summary, what the basis of this theory is:

There are four types of generations in each cycle, and every cycle lasts about 80 years, the length of one average human life. In our current world, the generational identity looks like this:

Greatest Generation: 1901 - 1924
Silent Generation: 1925-1944
Baby Boomers: 1945 - 1960
Generation X: 1961 - 1981
Millennials: 1982 - 2004
Homeland Generation: 2005 - ?

So the Greatest Generation is pretty much dying off at this point, these are the WWII veterans, and the new 'Homeland' generation is just starting to be born. So essentially, we have my parents, the Silent Generation (the only American generation to never have a president from their generation), The aging Boomers, The Gen Xers like myself who are poised to be the ones in charge of the world in the coming years, and the young hipsters, the Millennials.

In the theory laid out in The Fourth Turning, each generation has an identity, and a purpose. For obvious reasons, I'm mostly interested in my own generation's purpose, and as everyone knows, Gen X'ers are a cynical, squirrelly bunch. We were the latchkey kids, the punk rockers, the headbangers and the grunge generation in our teen years, the ones who would forever never amount to anything. But our generational cynicism and restlessness will prove to be our strongest traits in the coming years as we take the reigns of our world, and navigate through the next crisis.

It is not my generation's destiny to be the heros that the Greatest generation was, nor the idealists that the boomers were, but rather to be the generational nomads that grew up in a period of social unraveling, and matured into adults during a time of crisis, destined to have the unpleasant task of seeing our country through the next major upheaval, which I have no doubt is only a few short years away.

Godspeed to all my fellow Gen X'ers, you're going to need it.

In fact, I have no doubt that we have already started the current crisis period. In this theory, each period lasts approximately 20 years, and we are definitely in the early stages of our new crisis period. The only question is when it began, and there are two clear dates that we can work with, and only history will tell us when the true start of our next period of national trauma began. 9/11/2001 is a pretty obvious start point, but this date is a bit early in the cycle, and may prove to be more of a foreshadowing of the coming crisis. The second date would be September 2008, the start of our current economic crisis. Although I truly hope that the fourth turning began on 9/11/2001, as that would mean it's already half over, my gut tells me that it really started in Sept. 2008, and we have a good 15 years before we see the light of prosperity and peace again.

It's going to be a long, strange trip my friends, buckle up, and be prepared...




posted on Nov, 11 2012 @ 07:36 AM
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I noticed a similar cycle when I thought about why things are the way they are myself.

It occurred to me that major wars,and other things people should should know better than doing,occur about every two or three generations

The amount of time it takes for those who went through the catastrophic time to die,their progeny to die,and their grandchildren to die.

History repeats itself,not always exactly,but similar events occur when there are no longer relatives alive who can pass along a credible story of the event to discourage the latest generation from doing similar stupid things.

Does that make sense?.
edit on 11-11-2012 by MyHappyDogShiner because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 11 2012 @ 07:58 AM
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Here we are again, back to the last of the Gilded Age. Needing to re-inact Glass-Steagall.
Going through the beginnings of the Second Great Depression.

Gas rationing in some states. Wal-Mart employees getting together for a nationwide Black Friday strike.
I would imagine this would have had a greater impact before the placement of self-checkouts and the readiness
of customers to become unpaid Wal-Mart empoyees, but who knows?

The point is that history does follow patterns that seem very much to do with generational amnesia.
Yet, also points out that nothing ever really changes either.



posted on Nov, 11 2012 @ 08:08 AM
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Agreed. And this all has to do with the recent election...in my view, there is no Republican or Democrat that has the balls to do what is needed to avoid the next crisis, if there is even anything they can do. It's why I didn't get too caught up in who won, as it doesn't matter - this country will not move forward until we go through our next realignment in the form of a major crisis.

It's not something to fear though...it's an opportunity. I'm close to 40, so I'll be in my prime earning and influence years during the next crisis, and I'm looking forward to being able to have a hand in reshaping this country. I'm confident that moderation, pragmatism, and common sense will prevail over the hyper-partisanship and extremism we see now. It will be a very difficult time, but great rewards will follow...


Originally posted by PaperbackWriter
Here we are again, back to the last of the Gilded Age. Needing to re-inact Glass-Steagall.
Going through the beginnings of the Second Great Depression.

Gas rationing in some states. Wal-Mart employees getting together for a nationwide Black Friday strike.
I would imagine this would have had a greater impact before the placement of self-checkouts and the readiness
of customers to become unpaid Wal-Mart empoyees, but who knows?

The point is that history does follow patterns that seem very much to do with generational amnesia.
Yet, also points out that nothing ever really changes either.



posted on Nov, 11 2012 @ 08:14 AM
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I loved that book... though it seems to me you got some of it wrong, but maybe the authors have changed some of their terms or views since it was written? The Greatest generation was not the terminology used, nor was the "Homeland" one.. and I think they predicted an earlier time window for the third big event in the turning than 2020.

But whatever, their hypothesis is awesome, and so far has turned out to be very accurate. I've been watching and comparing for years.

They pretty much started the now-popular referal to generational characteristics with these terms too.

Star and flag



posted on Nov, 11 2012 @ 08:22 AM
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Originally posted by Bluesma
I loved that book... though it seems to me you got some of it wrong, but maybe the authors have changed some of their terms or views since it was written? The Greatest generation was not the terminology used, nor was the "Homeland" one.. and I think they predicted an earlier time window for the third big event in the turning than 2020.

But whatever, their hypothesis is awesome, and so far has turned out to be very accurate. I've been watching and comparing for years.

They pretty much started the now-popular referal to generational characteristics with these terms too.

Star and flag


The generation names they use are sometimes slightly different than what is common usage, like they don't refer to Generation X, but rather the 13th Generation...that's really just a matter of semantics though. The underlying concept is the same though.

I always rather liked the term 'Generation X', it's like a superhero name! Way better than 'baby boomer'!



posted on Nov, 11 2012 @ 08:26 AM
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Wait a minute... i was half way through reading your post OP, and realised something while counting the generations within the cycle between 1941 and now...

"america enters world war 2"

Then i noticed "american revolutionary war" and "american civil war".

I don't know how this went unnoticed. How can one use american events to say "history repeats itself".

It sort of makes me start to think americans think history revolves around themselves...

Unless you're suggesting that this "fourth turning" only applies to the american people - but then again, wouldn't this apply to the rest of the world? I'm a millenial, although from a different country. Surely i would share some qualities with americans of the same generation.

Logically, this doesn't really add up. Perhaps, like "paperbackwriter" says below this comment... we should look at the bigger events
edit on 11-11-2012 by xxdaniel21 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 11 2012 @ 08:27 AM
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reply to post by Subsonic
 


It could be a smoothe as you say.
But, we could be talking even larger cycles.
Like the end of the Roman Empire and ushering in the Dark Ages.
There comes a point of progress where there is a stark transition back to the old drawing board.
The end of the Egyptian, the Mayan, the Incan Empires also.
Where people go back to a simpler time as though all the previous marvels of education and industry never
existed.

As if at some generational turning point it starts moving in fast reverse in a perverse unwinding.



posted on Nov, 11 2012 @ 08:31 AM
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The generational cutoff dates are definitely malleable right? Because I was born in 84 and my wife in 87. I'm 100% gen-x and she is about 75% gen-x and 25%...[sorry I can't say a good label for these new kids]. So Yea, they are malleable.

I fully believe in this theory too, but I wonder why it is called the 4th Turning? Is that because they suspect something NEW? If you go by Rev, Civil War, World War, then we are on the cusp of another Rev, which seems very plausible to me. I honestly can't see Gen-X engaging in a World War.... and I can really see the next generation having a Civil War (they are selfish narcissists).

Gen-Xrs would be the ones to have a revolution... I predict it would be like an "Occupy Wallstreet" on steroids. We're good at being stubborn, living in discomfort, and fighting the system just because.



posted on Nov, 11 2012 @ 08:36 AM
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reply to post by xxdaniel21
 


The authors research was limited to american history. Though they think the principles underlying their theory are applicable to all history everywhere, they have not "mapped out" the histories of other countries in depth as they have for the US.

At the time they writign the book, they were continuing research back into europe's history, to see if the patterns and cycles they found were continuuing back from the source societies. But they were running into trouble simply because of the limited historical records.



posted on Nov, 11 2012 @ 08:41 AM
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reply to post by Socrato
 


I agree with your assessment of the Gen-X to Hipster/Millenials mindset.
I think these with their Green Living and bicycles and eco consciousness have much more in common with an agrarian lifestyle than taking us to the space age/Jetson future touted to the previous generation's school children via Weekly Readers.



posted on Nov, 11 2012 @ 08:43 AM
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reply to post by Socrato
 


THey said it is kind of for each person to look at the generational "personality" and define for themselves where they feel they they are.

I relate heavily to the X or 13th generation- this was why I loved the book when I read it- it was the first time that I felt anyone had any understanding of what my childhood experience was!

But keep in mind that the Turning (which is an event that happens every four hundred years or so, if I am remembering correctly) has three main shaking up events, and they are not necessarily war! The first two were not war (911 and the financial crash).

It could also be a huge global economic crash, it could be a major catastrophy that is of man made, or natural, cause. Whatever it shall be, it shall be unexpected and shake us to our foundations.

edit on 11-11-2012 by Bluesma because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 11 2012 @ 08:45 AM
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reply to post by Bluesma
 


Oh right, i see, so there is no general consensus at this stage that another event within the next 10 -15 years is imminent... as there is still further research to be carried out.



posted on Nov, 11 2012 @ 08:46 AM
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reply to post by Bluesma
 


I need to read this book.



posted on Nov, 11 2012 @ 08:48 AM
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reply to post by xxdaniel21
 


I don't think there is any general consensus on any of it- it is a hypothesis, in a soft science, so........but their hypothesis does show an important event within the next few years, if the patterns they point out continue to be reliable.

But there is no proof, no. It's like most soft science (psychology, sociology, anthroplogy.....).



posted on Nov, 11 2012 @ 08:54 AM
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Originally posted by xxdaniel21
Wait a minute... i was half way through reading your post OP, and realised something while counting the generations within the cycle between 1941 and now...

"america enters world war 2"

Then i noticed "american revolutionary war" and "american civil war".

I don't know how this went unnoticed. How can one use american events to say "history repeats itself".

It sort of makes me start to think americans think history revolves around themselves...

Unless you're suggesting that this "fourth turning" only applies to the american people - but then again, wouldn't this apply to the rest of the world? I'm a millenial, although from a different country. Surely i would share some qualities with americans of the same generation.

Logically, this doesn't really add up. Perhaps, like "paperbackwriter" says below this comment... we should look at the bigger events
edit on 11-11-2012 by xxdaniel21 because: (no reason given)


Great question, and certainly history does NOT revolve around America!

My understanding is that each culture/country/area of the world has it's own generational cycles that may or may not line up with the American generational cycles. In fact in the book, they clearly point out that they are analyzing the cycles of the Anglo-Saxon generational history, and they start back in Late Medieval England, not the American Revolution - I just pointed out the 3 most recent crisis periods, but there have been many others reaching back in American/British history including the War of the Roses, the Armada Crisis and the Glorious Revolution.

If you're from another part of the world, it would be a very interesting exercise to try and identify your particular culture's crisis eras and cycles...



posted on Nov, 11 2012 @ 08:56 AM
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Here is a recap from Wiki of each "Turning" and what it represents.

en.wikipedia.org...

While writing Generations, Strauss and Howe discovered a pattern in the historical generations they examined which revolved around generational events which they call turnings. In Generations, and in greater detail in The Fourth Turning, they identify the four-stage cycle of social or mood eras (i.e. turnings).

[edit] HighThe First Turning is a High. This is a post-Crisis era when institutions are strong and individualism is weak. Society is confident about where it wants to go collectively, though those outside the majoritarian center often feel stifled by the conformity.[22]

America’s most recent First Turning was the post-World War II American High, beginning in 1946 and ending with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. The Silent Generation (Artist archetype, born 1925 to 1942) came of age during this era. Known for their caution, conformity, and institutional trust, Silent young adults epitomized the mood of the High. Most married early, sought stable corporate jobs, and moved into new suburbs.[23]

edit on Sun Nov 11 2012 by DontTreadOnMe because: IMPORTANT: Using Content From Other Websites on ATS



posted on Nov, 11 2012 @ 08:57 AM
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Originally posted by PaperbackWriter
reply to post by Subsonic
 


It could be a smoothe as you say.
But, we could be talking even larger cycles.
Like the end of the Roman Empire and ushering in the Dark Ages.
There comes a point of progress where there is a stark transition back to the old drawing board.
The end of the Egyptian, the Mayan, the Incan Empires also.
Where people go back to a simpler time as though all the previous marvels of education and industry never
existed.

As if at some generational turning point it starts moving in fast reverse in a perverse unwinding.


Perhaps there are indeed larger cycles, but I think the focus of this particular theory was how generational cycles, which by requirement are the length of an average human life, correspond to historical events. It would be interesting though to extrapolate out to larger periods of time with the same backup and academic rigor that the authors of this book used...probably more challenging though.



posted on Nov, 11 2012 @ 09:02 AM
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Seems to be they only hand pick certain events in history that involved America some way or another to fit there theory.

Seems to be more prophesising than anything else.



posted on Nov, 11 2012 @ 09:03 AM
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Originally posted by Socrato
The generational cutoff dates are definitely malleable right? Because I was born in 84 and my wife in 87. I'm 100% gen-x and she is about 75% gen-x and 25%...[sorry I can't say a good label for these new kids]. So Yea, they are malleable.

I fully believe in this theory too, but I wonder why it is called the 4th Turning? Is that because they suspect something NEW? If you go by Rev, Civil War, World War, then we are on the cusp of another Rev, which seems very plausible to me. I honestly can't see Gen-X engaging in a World War.... and I can really see the next generation having a Civil War (they are selfish narcissists).

Gen-Xrs would be the ones to have a revolution... I predict it would be like an "Occupy Wallstreet" on steroids. We're good at being stubborn, living in discomfort, and fighting the system just because.


Yes, generational periods are indeed malleable. It's not like the first baby born on Jan. 1 of a new generational cycle suddenly has a new world view...they are gradual changes in attitude between age groups.

It's called the 4th turning because they refer to each period of cyclical history as a 'turning'. There are four turnings in each period, our current ones are as follows:

1929-1946, Fourth Turning, Crisis period (Great Depression & WWII)
1946-1964, First Turning, High period (American High)
1964-1984, Second Turning, Awakening period (Consciousness Revolution)
1984-2001 or 2008?, Third Turning, Unraveling (Culture Wars)
2008?-2028?, Fourth Turning...





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