Sunday, November 7, 2010

Waiting in the start of the Fourth Turning

the waitingImage by gato-gato-gato via FlickrWaiting in the start of the Fourth Turning:
 The consensus is clear.  In 2008,  we entered the fourth turning.  What is unclear is the details of what will unfold in the coming years. (see discussions at fourth turning forums).
  From Neil Howe's website:
"A CRISIS arises in response to sudden threats that previously would have been ignored or deferred, but which are now perceived as dire.  Great worldly perils boil off the clutter and complexity of life, leaving behind one simple imperative: The society must prevail.  This requires a solid public consensus, aggressive institutions, and personal sacrifice.
People support new efforts to wield public authority, whose perceived successes soon justify more of the same.  Government governs, community obstacles are removed, and laws and customs that resisted change for decades are swiftly shunted aside.  A grim preoccupation with civic peril causes spiritual curiosity to decline.  A sense of public urgency contributes to a clampdown on “bad” conduct or “anti-social” lifestyles.  People begin feeling shameful about what they earlier did to absolve guilt.  Public order tightens, private risk-taking abates, and crime and substance abuse decline.  Families strengthen, gender distinctions widen, and child-rearing reaches a smothering degree of protection and structure.  The young focus their energy on worldly achievements, leaving values in the hands of the old.  Wars are fought with fury and for maximum result.
Eventually, the mood transforms into one of exhaustion, relief, and optimism.  Buoyed by a new-born faith in the group and in authority, leaders plan, people hope, and a society yearns for good and simple things.
Today’s older Americans recognize this as the mood of theGreat Depression and World War II, but a similar mood has been present in all the other great gates of our history, from the Civil War and Revolution back into colonial and English history.
Recall America’s conception of the future during the darkest years of its last Crisis: From “Somewhere over the Rainbow” to the glimmering Futurama at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, people felt hope, determination, and a solid consensus about where society should go: toward spiritual simplicity (home and apple pie) and material abundance (bigger, better, and more homes and pies).  All this seemed within reach, conditioned on a triumph that demanded unity from all, sacrifices from many."
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