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Have We Entered The Fourth Turning?
Raiders News Network ^ | December 10, 2008 | Sue Bradley

Posted on 12/21/2008 1:52:46 PM PST by skooldayz


The “audacity of hope” seemed to rear in a cruel twist last week in India: a father and a daughter, caught in the clatter of chaos, on a pilgrimage for peaceful balance cut short by the complexity of events which challenge even the most stoic of philosophers. A paradox called synchronicity: the underlying organization of a collective existence and probabilities, better explained by the Jungian and Gaussian theorists, but experienced by all.

As life on twenty-first century Earth is assaulted from every angle, most of western thought continues the lineal path annoyed by inconvenience but thankful that horror, war, poverty and disease can be compartmentalized via remote control. The holidays of 2008 will be followed by the rise of 2009 with change in the air: the dawning of a sophisticated society, congratulating itself for recognition of technical and social progress, pregnant with expectations of dramatic and needed change.

This change, while perceptibly anticipated, will be much more dramatic than the most imaginative of imaginings. In GENERATIONS, authors and historians William Strauss and Neil Howe, describe a generation as being:

“composed of people whose common location in history lends them a collective persona. The span of one generation is roughly the length of a phase of life. Generations come in four archetypes, always in the same order, whose phase-of-life positions comprise a constellation.”

Characterizing “generational constellations,” as periods of reciprocal influence distinguished both as a result of and as a contribution to historical events or social climate, they are thus a conglomerate reflection of prevailing culture. Each cycle of generations loosely approximates twenty to thirty year cycles with characteristic archetypes and correspond to contemporary US history as:

Artists, who begin their lives during times of political, moral and spiritual upheaval, become sensitive to society and contribute most via methodical and specialized processes. The Artists are the “Silent Generation,” born in the early years of the Depression, approximately 1925-1942.

Prophets, marked by vision, values and religion, who are “principled moralists, summoners of human sacrifice, and wagers of righteous wars,” having been “nurtured with increasing indulgence by optimistic adults in a secure environment.” Mssrs. Strauss and Howe assign this archetype to the Baby Boomers, the post WWII generation of 1943-1960.

The Nomads follow, familiar to most as the Generation X’ers of 1961-1981, entering adulthood with hands-on pragmatism, zest, independence and a preference of simplicity over the consumptive dispositions of their predecessors.

Heroes succeed the Nomads as they are “nurtured by increasingly pessimistic adults in an insecure environment.” As society unravels and institutions decay, the strengthening of collective social environments is undertaken. In Western culture, this Hero generation is familiar as the Millennial Generation, continuing from the early 1980’s until present day.

These generational constellations then overlap to fractally constitute and define the characteristics and ‘personalities’ of the whole which progress through four predictive societal patterns of ostensible improvement:


Described by William Strauss and Neil Howe, authors of THE FOURTH TURNING, a Turning is

“…an era with a characteristic social mood, a new twist on how people feel about themselves and their nation. It results from the aging of the generational constellation.”

“A society enters a turning once every twenty years or so, when all living generations begin to enter their next phases of life.”

Published in 1997, THE FOURTH TURNING describes itself as “a book that turns history into prophecy,” explaining cycles of life and generational archetypes through the examination of the Western historical paradigms over the past five centuries. The living generations, “saeculae,” comprise four seasonal cyclical “Turnings” spanning eighty to one hundred year courses. These Turnings are characterized as:

The First Turning, the High, an era of enthusiastic collective strengthening and civic development, having burned the brush and swept the ashes of preceding structure.

The Second Turning, the Awakening, is built on the energies and accomplishments of the High but finds increasing yearning for introspection with a high tolerance for spiritual expression outside the parameters of predetermined standards.

The Third Turning, the Unraveling, begins as the “society-wide embrace of the liberating cultural forces” loosed by the Awakening shows signs of civic disorder and decay, a heightened sense of self-reliance and an increasing withdrawal of public trust. This builds to a near crisis of downcast pessimism and a palpable pall that can only be remedied by yielding to the next.

The Fourth Turning, Crisis, is by far, the most perilous as societes pass through the greatest and most dangerous gates of history. As desperate solutions are sought for “sudden threats” on multiple cultural fronts, confrontation is passionate and decisions are often reactive, aggressive. “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... 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.”

Through the examination of an enormous amount of political and cultural history, authors Strauss and Howe process over five hundred years of Anglo-American cultural nuance into remarkable, well organized and predictable cycles and it is from this reservoir they stake an uncanny claim: “What the cycles of history tell us about America’s next rendezvous with destiny.” They then enter a disturbing prophecy:

“Just after the millennium, America will enter a new era that will culminate with a crisis comparable to the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Great Depression, and World War II. The survival of the nation will almost certainly be at stake.” 4th T Authors Strauss and Howe set the United States of 1997 in the Third Turning, “midway through an Unraveling, “roughly a decade away from the next Crisis” or Fourth Turning:

“America feels like its unraveling. Although we live in an era of relative peace and comfort, we have settled into a mood of pessimism about the long-term future, fearful that our superpower nation is somehow rotting from within.” 4th T

By surveying the past and identifying contemporary markers, an astoundingly prescient forecast can be determined, and while specific events are clearly foreseen and heralded by a few well beforehand, the breadth and depth of their impact is always unpredictable.

Though careful to note that the scenarios are unlikely, the specificity of the insights from eleven years earlier reveals a raw and chillingly familiar roster of crises:

Economic distress with a government beset by fiscal crisis, the state laying claim to federal tax monies, federal marshals enforcing orders, tax rebellions, special forces and an ensuing constitutional crisis.

The second is a terrorist attack, involving an airliner, portable nuclear devices, a military response, authorization for house to house searches and false flag accusations against the administration;

A third scenario is an economic disaster involving Wall Street and a federal budget impasse which results in a stalemate;

Eco/environmental malaise with the Centers for Disease Control announcing the spread of a new communicable virus with quarantines and relocations

The fifth projection is geopolitical in nature with growing anarchy throughout the former Soviet republics prompting Russia to conduct training exercises around its borders, a Russian alliance with Iran, soaring gold and silver prices and global military responses.

What Strauss and Howe feel is likely is that a catalyst will unfold as a result of a specific dynamic and, "An initial spark will trigger a chain reaction of unyielding responses and further emergencies."


"The next Fourth Turning is due to begin shortly after the new millennium. Around the year 2005, a sudden spark will catalyze a Crisis mood. Remnants of the old social order will disintegrate. Political and economic trust will implode. Real hardship will beset the land, with severe distress that could involve questions of class, race, nation, and empire. Yet this time of trouble will bring seeds of social rebirth. Americans will share a regret about recent mistakes -- and a resolute new consensus about what to do. The very survival of the nation will feel at stake. Sometime before the year 2025, America will pass through a great gate in history, commensurate with the American Revolution, Civil War, and twin emergencies of the Great Depression and World War II.

“The risk of catastrophe will be very high. The nation could erupt into insurrection or civil violence, crack up geographically, or succumb to authoritarian rule. If there is a war, it is likely to be one of maximum risk and efforts -- in other words, a total war.” 4th T

The striking details contained within The Fourth Turning illustrate the precision that can be distilled with a close examination of historical patterns and contemporary application. Although the authors note that the events described are not absolute, they also insist that the cycles, these Turnings, cannot be interrupted. As summer follows spring, an Awakening follows a High, and so must winter follow autumn, a Crisis must follow an Unraveling, although the gravity of a Crisis can, theoretically, be lessened:

“It will require us to lend a new seasonal interpretation to our revered American Dream. And it will require us to admit that our faith in linear progress has often amounted to a Faustian bargain with our children. Faust always ups the ante, and every bet is double-or-nothing. Through much of the Third Turning, we have managed to postpone the reckoning. But history warns that we can’t defer it beyond the next bend in time.” 4th T

A “Faustian bargain” sounds ominous, and there is little evidence that the Anglo-American “Dream” has undergone the introspection and discipline necessary to buffer the arrogant recklessness which has taken place. The generations of the United States have also spoken: America wants change, and if the Strauss and Howe models hold, the Boomer Generation, the Prophets, will yield to the Gen X’ers, the Nomads just as the Unraveling, yields to the Crisis.

The history of the United States has spoken as well: change, a Turning, will come and in a very dramatic manner. NBC’s Chuck Todd noted on the evening of November 4, 2008 that Barack Obama was a changing of the guard in the United States from the Baby Boomer presidencies of William Clinton and George W. Bush. The Toronto Globe and Mail referred to President-elect Obama as being a member of Generation X, being born in 1961. Strauss and Howe number the generations of the US as those having been born knowing the flag of the United States and assign Generation X the status of the Thirteenth Generation.

Included in The Fourth Turning is an incident described by Nathaniel Hawthorne in his Twice-Told Tales of a “Gray Champion,” a “priest-warrior” who would appear “whenever the descendants of the Puritans are to show the spirit of their sires.” Facing the armies of King James II in Boston in 1689, the colonists faced almost certain defeat:

“Just at that moment, seemingly from nowhere, there appeared on the streets “the figure of an ancient man” with “the eye, the face, the attitude of command.” His manner “combining the leader and the saint,” the old man planted himself directly in the path of the approaching British soldiers and demanded that they stop. “The solemn, yet warlike peal of that voice, fit either to rule a host in the battlefield or be raised to God in prayer, were irresistible.

At the old man’s word and outstretched arm, the roll of the drum was hushed at once, and the advancing line stood still.” Inspired by this single act of defiance, the people of Boston roused their courage and acted. Within the day, --- the liberty of Boston [was] saved, and the corner turned on the colonial Glorious Revolution.” 4th T

“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” Barack H. Obama,

The early months of the election campaign brought messages of the choice for change: “The One,” “That One,” “The Chosen.” Subsequently, cabinet choices were labeled, “The Chosen Ones.” The chosen choices for change. But as ambiguities of eligibility and controversial relationships continue, they are eclipsed by broader events and there exists an ambiance of pervasive unease.

In GENERATIONS and THE FOURTH TURNING, William Strauss and Neil Howe have provided a compelling presentation of the importance and regard for the details of history. Their descriptions and fascinating insights support the apparently lineal nature of human existence, its predictability and, we would believe, its reliability.


“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” 2 Pet 3:4, 5

Pop culture and media have seemingly prepared Western society for every possible experience. Data files are well equipped with stat information: biographies, histories, geopolitics, scientific, religious – many are exploring the possibilities of ‘sci-fi’ scenarios with ‘experts’ available and summoned for any ‘eventuality.’ But are they really prepared? Can anyone be truly ready?

"Thus might the next Fourth Turning end in apocalypse -- or glory. The nation could be ruined, its democracy destroyed, and millions of people scattered or killed. Or America could enter a new golden age, triumphantly applying shared values to improve the human condition. The rhythms of history do not reveal the outcome of the coming Crisis; all they suggest is the timing and dimension." 4th T


The scenarios envisioned by William Strauss and Neil Howe may well prove to be accurate and specific. Greatly overlooked in most commentaries on human history is the very intrinsic and very real aspect of an unseen, spiritual element embedded within, and by so doing show a willingness to disregard the preeminent determinant of all.

“Timing and dimension” are interesting choices to be used for the description of intensity of the coming winter of crisis. Dimensional veils are thinning. The Prophet generation of spiritual seekers, savvy and sophisticated, had indeed postponed the “day of reckoning” for a time. The sins of unrepentant and spiritually reckless fathers now visit an unraveled world in an emaciated economy, a hostile political climate, and a decaying planet.

There is little question that science has rapidly outdistanced morality and the apocalyptic descriptions for the ‘last generations’ recorded in Scripture have begun to assume a reality once only imaginable if taken allegorically. The dry bones of Ezekiel now have the very real ability to assume their sinew as do other genetic ‘compositions,’ ones far more terrifying than the worst of Michael Crichton’s imaginings.

The Scriptural record written by earlier generations chronicles historical nonlinearities so unimaginable, so inconceivable, that many choose to accept them only within a metaphorical context, insisting that all things do continue as they were. Will they be able to continue? What generation before, in classically recorded history, has had the unique ability to destroy itself while engineering its replacement?

Change is just ahead on the horizon, but will the anticipated change come at the behest of a “Gray Champion,” an “ancient man,” a “priest-warrior” or a “Priest-King?” Will “The One” chosen to lead the US at this time, a Fourth Turning of such acute instability on all fronts be capable of such a charge? Could anyone? And dare anyone challenge the collective choice as the voice of ‘providence’ which has put such a “one” among us for this time?

Perhaps this ‘providence’ has also provided a warning in the Secret Service designation given President-elect Obama: Renegade. Interestingly, the defines “renegade” as, “One who rejects a religion, cause, allegiance, or group for another; a deserter; an outlaw; a rebel.” Should that sound an alarm?


Therein lies the most bizarre synchronicity of all, betraying and exquisitely punctuating the lineal concepts of Generations and The Fourth Turning: Generation X, followed by the Millennial Generation, Y, which is followed by … perhaps the Ultimate Nonlineality: OMEGA. How many of “these generations” know Him?


“We cannot avoid the Fourth Turning, nor its ekpyrosis. Whether we welcome him or not, the Gray Champion will command our duty and sacrifice at a moment of Crisis.

Whether we prepare wisely or not, we will complete the Millennial Saeculum. The epoch that began with V.J.-Day will reach a natural climax—and come to an end.” “As Arthur Wing Pinero has written, “The future is only the past again, entered through another gate.” Increasingly, Americans are sensing that the next great gate in history is approaching. It’s time to trust our instincts, think seasonally, and prepare. Forewarned is forearmed.” 4th T

How then, does one prepare? Can one prepare? Mssrs. Strausse and Howe offered very specific insights about this Fourth Turning in 1997. Scripture speaks specifically to a time such as this and includes remedy for both physical and spiritual distress. Will these generations prepare?

As an earlier student of historical cycles, Alexander Tyler noted that history’s greatest civilizations experienced a general life-cycle of two-hundred years. Tyler’s cycle followed a similar sequence:

* From bondage to spiritual faith; * From spiritual faith to great courage; * From courage to liberty; * From liberty to abundance; * From abundance to complacency; * From complacency to apathy; * From apathy to dependence; * From dependence back into bondage.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Philosophy; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: genx; turnings
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Sounds like we are in for some hard times.
1 posted on 12/21/2008 1:52:47 PM PST by skooldayz
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To: skooldayz
Where did you find such concentrated nonsense?

I don't know anything about Sue Bradley. She may be as sober as a judge.

But this kind of “fractal” ranting is usually the product of intensive long term drug use.

2 posted on 12/21/2008 1:58:34 PM PST by BenLurkin
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To: skooldayz

All foretold. However, I even see people here on FR spouting the 2 Pet. 3 sentiment all the time. Everyone sleeps, acting as though we’ve been this way before...and we’ll simply recover from what they think is just a bad societal headcold.

3 posted on 12/21/2008 2:01:37 PM PST by anniegetyourgun
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To: skooldayz
Sounds like we are in for some hard times.

Better that than reading more of this stuff.

4 posted on 12/21/2008 2:02:27 PM PST by Tijeras_Slim
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To: skooldayz


5 posted on 12/21/2008 2:03:15 PM PST by Ann Archy (Abortion.....The Human Sacrifice to the god of Convenience)
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To: BenLurkin
GENERATIONS, by William Strauss and Neil Howe is an interesting book.

It may be not true, but it is interesting. The authors expected a major turning at around 2000. When 9/11 hit, I expected the US to move dramatically away from the Clinton-era of permissiveness, to buckle down and push for freedom. I thought we'd see a new greatest generation and enter the 21st century with our flag flying high.

I'd say my expectation was wrong. I think we see a new turning now. And it's not good. Not good at all. The path of the US for the next generation is pretty much set, I'd say, and I wish my children faced a better world.

6 posted on 12/21/2008 2:03:35 PM PST by ClearCase_guy
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To: skooldayz
We cannot avoid the Fourth Turning, nor its ekpyrosis

I had a third turning once in puerto rice.....turned out to be bad beans

I stopped playing with my ekpyrosis when I turned 18

7 posted on 12/21/2008 2:05:54 PM PST by PfluegerFishin
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To: skooldayz

Good article considering it is bull.

8 posted on 12/21/2008 2:06:09 PM PST by RightWhale (We were so young two years ago and the DJIA was 12,000)
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To: skooldayz

9 posted on 12/21/2008 2:06:18 PM PST by stormer
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To: ClearCase_guy
Don't get me wrong. Darkness has indeed come. Darkness has indeed fallen.

We may be the first people since the days of Julius Caesar to witness first hand the death of a once great republic.

10 posted on 12/21/2008 2:09:09 PM PST by BenLurkin
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To: skooldayz
Well, in the 60's we had "The Greening of America." In the 70's we had "The Aquarian Conspiracy." Various other such New-Agey prophetics, as many as the paperback market would tolerate, scattered over the last fifty years.

Now this. How original.

11 posted on 12/21/2008 2:13:17 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: skooldayz

12 posted on 12/21/2008 2:14:49 PM PST by dangus
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To: skooldayz
Thanks for posting this. I read the Fourth Turning Years ago and found it interesting. I thought 9/11 was the fourth turning but the attitude of the country didn't really change. Maybe the trigger will something Obama does or the danger Biden predicted for February or whatever Colin Powell said would happen in January.

Anyway thanks for posting.

13 posted on 12/21/2008 2:24:22 PM PST by Betty Jane
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To: Tijeras_Slim
You have a bad altitude. We need a serious and sober discussion of the ideas and the hyppopothisusus the author presents herewith.

It's bullshit.

14 posted on 12/21/2008 2:35:54 PM PST by MARTIAL MONK
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To: RightWhale

How so? Have you read the book? The map of history is pretty strong, and these turnings are based on the waxing and waning of society, with a proportional relationship to the length of a human life. It is only typical that the way each generation raises its children would be cyclical. What generally happens is as one generation raises a new generation more permissively than the last, the society becomes increasingly introspective, and increasingly vulerable to outside peril as a result. That leads to crisis. The choice then becomes for the generation to follow is whether or not to fight for its survival, and a more hardy, more self-sacrificing generation typically arises to defend society.

It is a cycle, and is pretty predicable.

Given the election of Obama, I’d think the pinnacle of our society’s introspection has arrived. Woe be unto us caught in the mess.

15 posted on 12/21/2008 2:44:46 PM PST by Frank_Discussion (May the wings of Liberty never lose a feather!)
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To: Frank_Discussion
How so? Have you read the book?

I heard the author holding forth a while back. This is what we do: create patterns. There are no patterns but in our minds. If our patterns were any good we could predict the stock market, right? It's all bull, that is, history, and predicts nothing.

16 posted on 12/21/2008 2:53:02 PM PST by RightWhale (We were so young two years ago and the DJIA was 12,000)
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To: Betty Jane; skooldayz
Thanks for posting this. I read the Fourth Turning Years ago and found it interesting. I thought 9/11 was the fourth turning but the attitude of the country didn't really change. Maybe the trigger will something Obama does or the danger Biden predicted for February or whatever Colin Powell said would happen in January.

I still have a copy, and found it very interesting- and like others here, thought 9-11 would be the catalyst... but we seem to be going the wrong way.

17 posted on 12/21/2008 3:08:20 PM PST by backhoe (All across America, the Lights are going out...)
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To: qam1; ItsOurTimeNow; PresbyRev; Fraulein; StoneColdGOP; Clemenza; m18436572; InShanghai; xrp; ...

Xer Ping

Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social (and sometimes nostalgic) aspects that directly effects Generation Reagan / Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1981) including all the spending previous generations are doing that Gen-X and Y will end up paying for.

Freep mail me to be added or dropped. See my home page for details and previous articles.  

18 posted on 12/21/2008 3:34:46 PM PST by qam1 (There's been a huge party. All plates and the bottles are empty, all that's left is the bill to pay)
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To: RightWhale

I guess my view on the matter is that the ‘pattern’ is apparent in the historical record of Western Civilization? Is it a clockwork? No. But there are variations in the time between turnings, but turning there are.

The peril always is: will the fourth turning occur within the variable period before we have a truly leveled civilization.

For those who dismiss this as a new-age thing, the concept is really a scholarly effort combining history and some statistics to show the cycle. NOT a new-age approach, more of a mechanism of applied history.

19 posted on 12/21/2008 3:57:21 PM PST by Frank_Discussion (May the wings of Liberty never lose a feather!)
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To: skooldayz

Because brevity is the soul of wit, I will direct you to my tagline.

20 posted on 12/21/2008 4:01:21 PM PST by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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