Like nature, history is full of processes that cannot happen in reverse. Just as the laws of entropy do not allow a bird to fly backward, or droplets to regroup at the top of a waterfall, history has no rewind button. Like the seasons of nature, it moves only forward.
Straus and Howe: “The Fourth Turning”, FIRST EDITION, page 255
Contemplating the concept of time can be quite confounding, to say the least. In the extreme, considering the paradoxical nature of time’s passage will stretch the mind causing thoughts to invert like taffy in a rolling machine or light yielding to the gravity of an Event Horizon before the edge of a Black Hole in deep space.
Knowing Einstein was right means time stops at the speed of light. Surely then, waves of thought must generate their own specific gravity to capture both light and sound, together. Our eyes and ears record each moment and translate events into high definition digital memories which we can recall upon demand and view as celluloid film stock in a dark room.
However, in this dimension, there is another aspect at play that comes attached to time. Space: The final frontier. These conflagrate together and then separate at any given moment never to coalesce again in quite the same way. Time can be recalled like a ghost, or a spectral hologram, on the mind’s screen, but the space will have changed and dissipated entropically like dust digested in the amorphous bellies of Stephen King’s Langoliers.
To put it another way, time changes everything.
This week one of my offspring had a milestone birthday so we went to a morning movie matinee followed by an expensive late lunch at a fine dining venue. It was there where I chewed my food and contemplated the confounding conceptual continuations of space and time.
The movie was the new Star Wars flick, Rogue One and the state-of-the-art theater featured stadium seating and a massive UltraScreen Deluxe® with Dolby® Atmospheric Surround-sound which, according to the advertisements, offered the “ultimate moviegoing experience”.
As I watched the story unfold in REAL D 3D® with my 3D glasses in place while eating my popcorn and nestled comfortably in the red leather DreamLounger recliner, I thought to myself how I really am in the future. In the lobby after the movie, I checked Drudge on my smartphone and learned Carrie Fisher had just died in Los Angeles.
This made me remember way back to my past when I was a preteen and first saw the original Star Wars. I watched it with several friends in an ornately vintage, and solitary, theater in my small town. Through the patina of time and the opaque looking glass of my mind’s eye, I remember hoping no one would tell my parents, or my orthodontist, that I was eating popcorn and lemon drops with new braces on my teeth. Although I was an avid reader back then with a keen appreciation for science fiction, I had not seen a film before that captivated me like the first Star Wars. The excellent storyline, superior special effects, and the characters in the film really made an impression on me.
If my current self could go back to that day, I would meet the geeky, metal-mouthed kid after the movie and tell him some things. I would also mention how, in 39 years, he will celebrate his progeny’s birthday who, at that time, will be several years older than he is now and how he will be seeing another Star Wars movie on the very same day that Princess Leia dies in real life.
The ironic confluence of time and space, indeed.
I am sure the mini-me at that time would have pegged me as a brain-damaged old fool and, in turn, would have attempted to persuade me into buying him and his friends a six-pack of beer, a fifth of peppermint Schnapps, a Playboy and a can of chew.
After all, according to The Fourth Turning, by Strauss and Howe, the year 1977 was two and a half “Turnings” ago. Back then, the future wasn’t set. Or was it?
We perceive our civic challenge as some vast, insoluble Rubik’s Cube. Behind each problem lies another problem that must be solved first, and behind that lies yet another, and another, ad infinitum. To fix crime we have to fix the family, but before we do that we have to fix welfare, and that means fixing our budget, and that means fixing our civic spirit, but we can’t do that without fixing moral standards, and that means fixing schools and churches, and that means fixing the inner cities, and that’s impossible unless we fix crime. There’s no fulcrum on which to rest a policy lever. People of all ages sense that something huge will have to sweep across America before the gloom can be lifted – but that’s an awareness we suppress. As a nation, we’re in deep denial.
Straus and Howe: “The Fourth Turning”, FIRST EDITION, page 2
Written by the historians William Strauss and Neil Howe, The Fourth Turning was published in 1997 and was, at that time, boldly proclaimed by the authors to be an “American Prophecy”. The book is fascinating in that it very thoroughly documents recorded cycles of history across multiple cultures and eras in order to predict the timing of “America’s next rendezvous with destiny”.
Processing almost like a Cliff’s Notes summary, the book identifies the timelines of historical events and matches them to specific life cycles of people in the form of generational archetypes. What is also interesting is how Strauss and Howe quantify and compare the recordings of history of multiple authors throughout the millennia to find uncanny comparisons in both historical and generational cycles. Ironically, the comparisons stand up not only to the test of time regarding recorded events in history, but the generational turnings and archetypes also translate to ancient literature and other writings as well, ranging from Homer’s Iliad to the Holy Bible.
The concept of time is discussed in the context of both circular and linear perspectives as Strauss and Howe describe what is called the “saeculum”. The saeculum represents a “long human life”, or approximately 80 to 90 years comprising of four turnings each lasting about 20 to 22 years.
Just as there are four seasons consisting of spring, summer, fall and winter, there are also four phases of a human life represented in childhood, young adulthood, middle age and old age, or elderhood. As each phase of human life represents approximately 20 years, so is each generational archetype identified within historical cycles, or turnings, as follows.
The generational archetypes experience the historical turnings according their life stage, or age. Amazingly, history shows a consistent pattern in how the generations both cause and affect historical events. The patterns develop based upon how each generation interacts with the other and this also has documented consistencies that are delineated by the authors.
At any given “turning” during the saeculum, the set order of the generations on the age ladder is called a “constellation”.
For example, during the Fourth Turning Crisis of 1929 through 1945, America experienced a financial crash, a great depression and a world war. During this period, the Prophet generation was entering Elderhood, the Nomad generation were middle-aged and the Hero generation fought WW II as young adults while the Artist generation were children during that time.
When the Crisis (Winter) era of financial hardship and war was over, the Spring of another First Turning began as the Hero generation led America into a season of unparalleled prosperity from 1946 through President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963. It was then the baby boomer, Prophet, generation began. As young adults, the boomers began to rock the nation with new age flower-power, feminism, guitars and free love. Thus began the Awakening that lasted through Ronald Reagan’s first term that ended in 1984. It was then the Third Turning of the Unraveling began.
In 1997, when the Fourth Turning was published, Strauss and Howe used their generational model to predict with remarkable accuracy, the start of the next Crisis in 2005:
By the middle Oh-Ohs, institutions will reach a point of maximum weakness, individualism of maximum strength, and even the simplest public task will feel beyond the ability of government. As niche walls rise ever higher, people will complain endlessly how bad all of the niches are. Wide chasms will separate rich from poor, whites from blacks, immigrants from native borns, seculars from born agains, technophiles from technophobes. America will feel more tribal. Indeed, many will be asking whether fifty states and so many dozens of ethic cultures make sense any more as a nation – and, if they do, whether that nation has a future.
Straus and Howe: “The Fourth Turning”, FIRST EDITION, page 252
In 1997 there was no way to foresee the sequencing of 911, the Patriot Act, Edward Snowden, government incompetence after Hurricane Katrina, the financial crisis of 2007 – 2008, the subsequent TARP bailouts or the election of a mysterious, biracial pied piper to the presidency of the United States.
There is no way anyone could have predicted the ensuing eight years of Obama, the nationalization of healthcare, the orgy of greed hosted by Wall Street at the expense of Main Street, endless wars, unchecked immigration, the TSA, NSA, Homeland Security, the CIA versus the FBI, smart phones, drones, religious discriminations, Occupy Wall Street, the Tea Party, the Alt-right, Black Lives Matter and fake news.
Given the accuracy and timing of Strauss and Howe’s predictions, perhaps there is real validity behind their generational theory after all. And, given this, then we are now within the Winter of a Fourth Turning Crisis.
Can you feel it in the air?
High powers in dark places are gathering and sides are being chosen as potential treachery and intrigue lurk around every corner. A global empire stands prepared to battle with populist movements and sovereign nations across the globe while rumors of a neo American civil war abound here at home.
Captured corporate media propaganda outlets and deep state government agencies relentlessly shill for a global empire and stoke the fires of war against a free alternative media while simultaneously provoking a nuclear armed Russia.
Half of the nation’s electorate, on the brink of a financial abyss, would rather kneel before an evil empire than to support the outcome of a free election. It matters not that the new President Elect happens to be the most successful guy in the world with a great family; or the fact he self-funded his campaign and overcame great odds against a blatantly biased media and corrupt-to-the-core establishment fighting him and his millions of deplorable supporters at every turn.
Of course, there is no unity in America today. Those days are long gone.
People young and old will puzzle over what it felt like for their parents and grandparents, in a distantly remembered era, to have lived in a society that felt like one national community. They will yearn to recreate this, to put America back together again. But no one will know how.
Straus and Howe: “The Fourth Turning”, FIRST EDITION, page 252
Winter is here. War is coming. Battles will be waged and conflicts will rage. There will be no escape for what is coming and no guarantee as to any outcome, save one: After this Fourth Turning, there will remain only liberty or tyranny. One, but not the other. For this will be a fight unto the death.
Even so, do many Nomads now entering middle-age, and their Hero generation progeniture, actually understand what is about to befall them? Do they even care? And, for those who do understand and do care; do they know how to fight?
Truly, there are many variables to this historical cycle that were absent in the all of the previous Fourth Turnings throughout history. A few examples would include pervasive and devastating technology with the capabilities of either enslaving, or killing, entire generations of people; a global corporatocracy in control of government agencies, mass flows of information, food and resources; entirely misinformed and apathetic populations with no moral bearing, belief system, or willingness to accept truth in order to stand strong against the dark powers now encroaching; and, finally, there are so many who have been trained to embrace the utopian lie of one world under tyranny. Sadly, many of these may be the new Stormtroopers in waiting.
In the end, we must choose. And not choosing, by default, is a choice. Can a rag tag federation of freedom fighters with truth, liberty and history on their side under a flag of 13 stripes and 50 stars, with idea-fueled keyboards, a compromised internet, and semi-automatic weapons prevail against a galactic empire in control of a technocracy more powerful than any fictional Death Star?
We’re about to find out.
In 1977, Carrie Fisher’s star was born in the form of Princess Leia. Today, her light has faded; imploded like a supernova in the vacuum of space and time. Yet, even now, we see through the lens of Hollywood’s telescope a reflective luminance shining from a fictional galaxy, far, far away.
The year 2017 has arrived. Cheers to the New Year. Everything that has ever happened before has delivered us to where we are now. Hold on to that. Even more importantly, don’t forget to fasten your seatbelts and place your trays in the upright and locked position. The warp drive is about to be engaged. A new journey has begun.