According to a book called Generations, by Howe and Strauss in 1991, US history is divided into 80 year blocks called seculars, those blocks are divided roughly into 20 year seasons or blocks called turnings. These 80ish year blocks have been remarkably similar to each other and we’re in one now.
The first turning of the cycle is a high, an upbeat era, the second turning is an Awakening, the passion era, the third turning is an unraveling, the downcast era, and the fourth turning, well I’m sorry, the fourth turnings suck, the fourth turning is crisis, an era of upheaval, as you all can guess...we’re in a fourth turning right now.
So let’s take a look at our secular, our history block, and follow it to the history block that were in, the crisis of right now. These are America’s history blocks, Our high began after World War II victory. (1945) during a high the getting is good. We had the most even distribution of wealth in this country during this era, a gas station attendant could afford to buy a house. This high is the period that the MAGA movement has referred to, we got Hank Williams and Elvis and Little Richard and the launch of Rock n Roll. In this era we launched monkeys and men into space, this is when the Mustangs and Corvettes first came out.
Our high ended with the assassination of John F Kennedy on November 22nd 1963. The high is not a high for everyone of course. America still had a segregated south, homosexuality was illegal and considered a mental disorder. The high is a period of conformity. The age of nonconformity and of social justice begins during the awakening. Our passionate era.
During the awakening, (1964) we had Martin Luther King in the civil rights movement, Acid, Vietnam protests and Vietnam itself, the women’s liberation, Stonewall and the gay Rights Movement, great movies great music; this is when the first Macintosh computer came out; the awakening is a time of increasing individualism. This second turning, this Awakening ended with the re-election of Ronald Reagan in 1984.
Things get messy during the third turning, during the unraveling, we got the fall of Soviet com-munism and the beginning of the Russian gangster state. The greatest musicians of the time sang about violence and decay and their deteriorating cities, the LA riots, OJ, the bombing of Bosnia and the Columbine High school shootings on the same day, September 11th, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, this era’s unraveling ended with the financial crisis of 2008.
What’s happening now is the fourth turning. And what’s happening now is right on schedule, 80 years ago in the end of the last fourth turning America had a great depression then World War II. 80 years before, the Civil War, 80 years before that, the Revolutionary War.
Now it’s our turn to save the country…….. so where do you fit into it all, what’s your role? It depends, when you were born, each generation, each cohort, tends to embody a specific archetype, an archetype that will move the society towards the next high, each generation’s archetype, is the characteristic that will define the generation, in its prime, in midlife.
The boomer archetype is the prophet, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are boomers and profits, both predicted that one day everyone, not just big corporations and governments would own a computer. Gen x, is the nomad generation, the quintessential genex-or Elon Musk builds things that move us from one place to another, Rockets, electric cars, hyperloops, nomadic devices.
Millennials raised during the unraveling will emerge as the hero generation during this crisis. These are the Parkland high students, the Frontline hospital workers in Milan; the book says millennials will be the world war two heroes of our history block.
We don’t know what genZ will do but they will be an artist generation, from them will emerge the next Bill Withers, John Morrison, Bob Dylan… all born during the last crisis ….. all from the artist generation.
The history block before ours, ended with World War II and began with the Civil War. 80 years prior the history blocked before that ended with the civil war and began with the end of the Revolutionary War, 80 years prior, every 80 years or so something big comes along and changes everything and now we’re at the end of our history block, of our crisis, we are in the process of changing our world again. Unfortunately the word ‘war’ is at the end of every prior cycle. These authors tell us that these crises are like forest fires unpleasant but necessary; they clear the Woods for new growth as we work towards our next “high”.