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Thread: The Strauss–Howe generational theory (Fourth Turning)

  1. #1

    Default The Strauss–Howe generational theory (Fourth Turning)

    Summary of The Fourth Turning theory

    The Fourth Turning (TFT) theory is based on work that William Strauss and Neil Howe began in the 1980s. In doing some marketing consulting in the 1980s, they noticed that people differed dramatically based on what generation they were in. They found that people who fought in World War II were quite different from people who were raised during World War II, and that those were quite different those who grew up after World War II.

    They found that the similarities among people in the same generation outweighed the individual differences, and the differences between people in different generations were usually enormous compared to differences between individuals in the same generation.

    They were not the first to notice that one generation differs from another, of course. The popular press regularly labels generations with such names a "Generation X," "Generation Y," "Baby Boomers," and so forth, and many articles are published discussing the characteristics of one generation versus another.

    For example, the babies born in the 1930s and 1940s were originally called "depression babies," but in the 1950s, Time Magazine gave them a new name: the Silent Generation, because they valued conformity and loyalty above all else, and didn't complain about much.

    The members of the Silent Generation were too young to fight in World War II, so they lived in the shadow of the G.I. Generation, their older brothers and sisters who became heroes who actually fought in the war, and are now called by Tom Brokaw and others "the greatest generation of the 20th century."

    Meanwhile, the Silents had to deal with a new generation, the Baby Boomers who were born after the war. The Boomers were very sure of themselves, and led the antiwar riots and demonstrations during the 1960s and 1970s, rebelling against their parents in the G.I. Generation. The Silents were sandwiched between these two warring generations, and served as mediators and compromisers.

    Identifying generations and archetypes
    Strauss and Howe embarked on a project to read biographies, histories and diaries written throughout American history, passing through colonial times, going back to the original English settlers.

    Reading these histories and diaries, they came to a startling conclusion: That generations following historical "fourth turnings" or "crisis wars" follow the same pattern as generations following World War II, and that the sequence of these generations leads to the next crisis war.

    The TFT authors identified four distinct generational types that are repeated over and over, and are similar to the generations they had studied.

    The four generations are as follows:

    The Hero Generation. Like America's G.I. generation, these are the young men and women that fight in a crisis period. After the crisis ends, they become society's powerful civic leaders who build new institutions that promote social order and productive activity. They become hubristic, and in their elder years, they're attacked politically by their children in the Prophet generation.

    The Artist Generation. Like America's Silent generation, they grow up as children during the crisis period, come of age as sensitive young adults, and grow old becoming indecisive but empathetic leaders.

    The Prophet Generation. Like America's Baby Boomers, they're born after the crisis period, and grow up in the glow of success. In the case of the Boomers, they grew up at a time when America had beaten the Nazis and had beaten the Depression. The Prophets grow up into narcissistic adults who challenge the authority of their parents, the Heroes. In midlife they become moralistic, and end up as the wise elders leading the society into a new crisis period.

    The Nomad Generation. These people grow up in the shadow the Prophets, and don't get along with them very well. They become alienated young adults, with a high incidence of crime and drug abuse, but mellow into pragmatic midlife leaders during a crisis period.

    These generational archetypes were found by the authors when they read several centuries of histories and diaries. They were surprised to find that these types cycled.

    Generational eras - the four Turnings
    Corresponding to the four generational archetypes are four eras or "turnings" through which a society cycles. These are as follows:

    The First Turning is a High, an upbeat era of strengthening institutions and weakening individualism, when a new civic order implants and the old values regime decays. This is the era just after a crisis period, when the society if rebuilding, recovering and strengthening itself after the devastation of the crisis. National goals and unity have a higher priority than individual values.

    The Second Turning is an Awakening, a passionate era of spiritual upheaval, when the civic order comes under attack from a new values regime. During this period, the hubristic leaders, from the Hero generation that fought (and hopefully won) the last crisis war, are challenged by the spirituality and values of their children, from the Prophet generation.
    The authors describe this period as follows: "An Awakening is an era of cultural upheaval and spiritual renewal. It begins when the waxing social discipline of the High suddenly seems tiresome, unfulfilling, illegitimate, and unjust -- and when people begin to defy it in the name of spiritual authenticity. By now, memories of the last Crisis are buffered by the High's calm and comfort, and the core High virtues are regarded as outmoded, even unnecessary. The Awakening climaxes just after civilized progress reaches a saecular high tide -- and just before that progress is overwhelmed by the liberating passions of reform and protest. The Awakening ends when the new consciousness converts its enemies and the new values regime overwhelms its oppressors."

    The Third Turning is an Unraveling, a downcast era of strengthening individualism and weakening institutions, when the old civic order decays and the new values regime implants. During this period, individual rights become so important that the society or nation has no common purpose or direction. Individual values have a higher priority than national goals and unity.

    The Fourth Turning is a Crisis, a decisive era of secular upheaval, when the values regime propels the replacement of the old civic order with a new one. The authors describe how the Crisis era ends: "The Crisis climax is human history's equivalent to nature's raging typhoon, the kind that sucks all surrounding matter into a single swirl of ferocious energy. Anything not lashed down goes flying; anything standing in the way gets flattened. Normally occurring late in the Fourth Turning, the climax gathers energy from an accumulation of unmet needs, unpaid bills, and unresolved problems. It then spends that energy on an upheaval whose direction and dimension were beyond comprehension during the prior Unraveling era. The climax shakes a society to its roots, transforms its institutions, redirects its purposes, and marks its people (and its generations) for life. The climax can end in triumph, or tragedy, or some combination of both. Whatever the event and whater the outcome, a society passes through a great gate of history, fundamentally altering the course of civilization."
    The authors describe the relationships of these eras as follows: "Like the four seasons of nature, the four turnings of history are equally necessary and important. Awakenings and Crises are the saecular solstices, summer and winter, each a solution to a challenge posed by the other. Highs and Unravelings are the saecular equinoxes, spring and autumn, each coursing a path directionally opposed to the other. When a society moves into an Awakening or Crisis, the new mood announces itself as a sudden turn in social direction. An Awakening begins when events trigger a revolution in the culture, a Crisis when events trigger an upheaval in public life. A High or Unraveling announces itself as a sudden consolidation of the new direction. A High begins when society perceives that the basic issues of the prior Crisis have been resolved, leaving a new civic regime firmly in place. An Unraveling begins with the perception that the Awakening has been resolved, leaving a new cultural mindset in place."
    Last edited by bg; 04-15-2008 at 10:55 PM.

  2. #2


    TFT's Diagonal Diagram: How one generation flows to next
    The Fourth Turning (TFT) defines four generation archetypes and four eras or "turnings." The personality of a person in each generation is determined by the era in which that person is born. (Actually, children born two to five years before the start of an era are considered part of that era.)

    Thus, the generations determine the eras, and the eras determine the generations.

    The relationships between the generational archetypes and the turnings is summarized by the following diagram:

    This diagram summarizes the TFT generational model: History proceeds in a continuing flow of generational changes, cycling back to the beginning with a cycle length of 70-90 years, the approximate maximum length of a human lifespan.

    Limitations and restrictions in the TFT model
    The TFT model is powerful and fascinating as far as it goes, because it provides insight not only into the history of our country, but also into our own personalities, as it helps us understand how generations affect us all.

    However, the TFT model has substantial restrictions. It applies only to the six Anglo-American cycles previously listed. The authors did not believe that the model would work for most societies, although they suggest that other modern societies should be tested by reading histories, biographies and diaries written by people in those nations.

    According to the authors, the TFT generational paradigm is restricted to modern societies where, "as in America, generations are left free to develop and express their own personalities." We'll discuss this more below.

    Another problem with the TFT model is that it's very hard to verify. The authors identified generations by reading histories, diaries and biographies, and looked for certain traits of the people in each generation. However, this process inherently has ambiguities and uncertainties. For example, how do we evaluate whether a particular generation is "Civic" or "Idealist"? The ambiguity arises from the fact that some people in any generation will be "civic," and some will be "idealist." The uncertainties arise because there's no way to determine any information of this sort for many periods in history, because of the lack of written records. There's no way to be certain that someone else reading the same written records would arrive at the same conclusions.
    Last edited by bg; 04-15-2008 at 10:54 PM.

  3. #3



    Generations and Archetypes

    A generation is 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.

    The Prophet archetype is born in a High, enters young adulthood in an Awakening, midlife in an Unraveling, and elderhood in a Crisis.

    The Nomad archetype is born in an Awakening, enters young adulthood in an Unraveling, midlife in a Crisis, and elderhood in a High.

    The Hero archetype is born in an Unraveling, enters young adulthood in a Crisis, midlife in a High, and elderhood in an Awakening.

    The Artist archetype is born in a Crisis, enters young adulthood in a High, midlife in an Awakening, and elderhood in an Unraveling.
    During a Fourth Turning, the constellation contains all four archetypes born in the current saeculum. During the first three turnings, the constellation includes one or more archetypes born in the prior saeculum.

    From the Arthurian Generation through today’s Millennial Generation children, there have been 24 generations in the Anglo-American lineage. The first six were purely English. The next four were colonial, yet still heavily influenced by English society and politics. The eleventh (Awakeners, born 1701-1723) became the first distinctively American generation—the first whose name, birthyears, and persona diverge significantly from peers in the United Kingdom. The Awakeners were also the first generation to be comprised mostly of native-born Americans and—late in life—the first to know the U.S. nation and flag. So although today’s Millennial children are the 24th in our full lineage of post-medieval generations, they are 14th in the American line.

    Lifecycle of the PROPHET Archetype

    We remember Prophets best for their coming-of-age passion (the excited pitch of Jonathan Edwards, William Lloyd Garrison, William Jennings Bryan) and for their principled elder stewardship (the sober pitch of Samuel Langdon at Bunker Hill, President Lincoln at Gettysburg, or FDR with his “fireside chats”). Increasingly indulged as children, they become increasingly protective as parents. Their principal endowments are in the domain of vision, values, and religion. Their best-known leaders include: John Winthrop and William Berkeley; Samuel Adams and Benjamin Franklin; James Polk and Abraham Lincoln; and Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt. These have been principled moralists, summoners of human sacrifice, wagers of righteous wars. Early in life, none saw combat in uniform; late in life, most came to be revered more for their inspiring words than for their grand deeds.

    A lifecycle outline:

    As PROPHETS replace Artists in childhood during a High, they are nurtured with increasing indulgence by optimistic adults in a secure environment.

    As self-absorbed PROPHETS replace Artists in young adulthood during an Awakening, they challenge the moral failure of elder-built institutions, sparking a society-wide spiritual awakening.

    As judgmental PROPHETS replace Artists in midlife during an Unraveling, they preach a downbeat, values-fixated ethic of moral conviction.

    As visionary PROPHETS replace Artists in elderhood during a Crisis, they push to resolve ever-deepening moral choices, setting the stage for the secular goals of the young.

    The Lifecycle of the NOMAD Archetype

    We remember Nomads best for their rising-adult years of hell-raising (Paxton Boys, Missouri Raiders, rumrunners) and for their midlife years of hands-on, get-it-done leadership (Francis Marion, Stonewall Jackson, George Patton). Underprotected as children, they become overprotective parents. Their principal endowments are in the domain of liberty, survival, and honor. Their best-known leaders include: Nathaniel Bacon and William Stoughton; George Washington and John Adams; Ulysses Grant and Grover Cleveland; Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower. These have been cunning, hard-to-fool realists—taciturn warriors who prefer to meet problems and adversaries one-on-one. They include the only two Presidents who had earlier hanged a man (Washington and Cleveland), one governor who hanged witches (Stoughton), and several leaders who had earlier led troops into battle (Bacon, Washington, Grant, Truman, and Eisenhower).

    A lifecycle outline:

    As NOMADS replace Prophets in childhood during an Awakening, they are left underprotected at a time of social convulsion and adult self-discovery.

    As alienated NOMADS replace Prophets in young adulthood during an Unraveling, they become brazen free agents, lending their pragmatism and independence to an era of growing social turmoil.

    As pragmatic NOMADS replace Prophets in midlife during a Crisis, they apply toughness and resolution to defend society while safeguarding the interests of the young.

    As exhausted NOMADS replace Prophets in elderhood during a High, they slow the pace of social change, shunning the old crusades in favor of simplicity and survivalism.

    The Lifecycle of the HERO Archetype

    We remember Heroes best for their collective coming-of-age triumphs (Glorious Revolution, Yorktown, D-Day) and for their hubristic elder achievements (the Peace of Utrecht and slave codes, the Louisiana Purchase and steamboats, the Apollo moon launches and interstate highways). Increasingly protected as children, they become increasingly indulgent as parents. Their principal endowment activities are in the domain of community, affluence, and technology. Their best-known leaders include: Gurdon Saltonstall and “King” Carter; Thomas Jefferson and James Madison; John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. They have been vigorous and rational institution builders. All have been aggressive advocates of economic prosperity and public optimism in midlife; and all have maintained a reputation for civic energy and competence even deep into old age.

    A lifecycle outline:

    As HEROES replace Nomads in childhood during an Unraveling, they are nurtured with increasing protection by pessimistic adults in an insecure environment.

    As teamworking HEROES replace Nomads in young adulthood during a Crisis, they challenge the political failure of elder-led crusades, fueling a society-wide secular crisis.

    As powerful HEROES replace Nomads in midlife during a High, they establish an upbeat, constructive ethic of social discipline.

    As expansive HEROES replace Nomads in elderhood during an Awakening, they orchestrate ever-grander secular constructions, setting the stage for the spiritual goals of the young.

    The Lifecycle of the ARTIST Archetype

    We remember Artists best for their quiet years of rising adulthood (the log-cabin settlers of 1800, the plains farmers of 1880, the new suburbanites of 1960) and during their midlife years of flexible, consensus-building leadership (the “Compromises” of the Whig era, the “good government” reforms of the Progressive era, the budget and peace processes of the current era). Overprotected as children, they become underprotective parents. Their principal endowment activities are in the domain of pluralism, expertise, and due process. Their best-known leaders include: William Shirley and Cadwallader Colden; John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson; Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson; Walter Mondale, and Colin Powell. These have been sensitive and complex social technicians, advocates of fair play and the politics of inclusion. With the single exception of Andrew Jackson, they rank as the most expert and credentialed of American political leaders.

    A lifecycle outline:

    As ARTISTS replace Heroes in childhood during a Crisis, they are overprotected at a time of political convulsion and adult self-sacrifice.

    As conformist ARTISTS replace Heroes in young adulthood during a High, they become sensitive helpmates, lending their expertise and cooperation to an era of growing social calm.

    As indecisive ARTISTS replace Heroes in midlife during an Awakening, they apply expertise and process to improve society while calming the passions of the young.

    As empathic ARTISTS replace Heroes in elderhood during an Unraveling, they quicken the pace of social change, shunning the old order in favor of complexity and sensitivity.

  4. #4


    History and Turnings

    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. Like archetypes and constellations, turnings come four to a saeculum, and always in the same order:

    The First Turning is a High —an upbeat era of strengthening institutions and weakening individualism, when a new civic order implants and the old values regime decays. Old Prophets disappear, Nomads enter elderhood, Heroes enter midlife, Artists enter young adulthood—and a new generation of Prophets is born.

    The Second Turning is an Awakening —a passionate era of spiritual upheaval, when the civic order comes under attack from a new values regime. Old Nomads disappear, Heroes enter elderhood, Artists enter midlife, Prophets enter young adulthood—and a new generation of child Nomads is born.

    The Third Turning is an Unraveling —a downcast era of strengthening individualism and weakening institutions, when the old civic order decays and the new values regime implants. Old Heroes disappear, Artists enter elderhood, Prophets enter midlife, Nomads enter young adulthood—and a new generation of child Heroes is born.

    The Fourth Turning is a Crisis —a decisive era of secular upheaval, when the values regime propels the replacement of the old civic order with a new one. Old Artists disappear, Prophets enter elderhood, Nomads enter midlife, Heroes enter young adulthood—and a new generation of child Artists is born.
    Like the four seasons of nature, the four turnings of history are equally necessary and important. Awakenings and Crises are the saecular solstices, summer and winter, each a solution to a challenge posed by the other. Highs and Unravelings are the saecular equinoxes, spring and autumn, each coursing a path directionally opposed to the other. When a society moves into an Awakening or Crisis, the new mood announces itself as a sudden turn in social direction. An Awakening begins when events trigger a revolution in the culture, a Crisis when events trigger an upheaval in public life. A High or Unraveling announces itself as a sudden consolidation of the new direction. A High begins when society perceives that the basic issues of the prior Crisis have been resolved, leaving a new civic regime firmly in place. An Unraveling begins with the perception that the Awakening has been resolved, leaving a new cultural mindset in place.

    The gateway to a new turning can be obvious and dramatic (like the 1929 Stock Crash) or subtle and gradual (like 1984’s Morning in America). It usually occurs two to five years after a new generation of children starts being born. The tight link between turning gateways and generational boundaries enables each archetype to fill an entire phase-of-life just as the mood of an old turning grows stale and feels ripe for replacement with something new.

    The four turnings comprise a quaternal social cycle of growth, maturation, entropy, and death (and rebirth). In a springlike High, a society fortifies and builds and converges in an era of promise. In a summerlike Awakening, it dreams and plays and exults in an era of euphoria. In an autumnal Unraveling, it harvests and consumes and diverges in an era of anxiety. In a hibernal Crisis, it focuses and struggles and sacrifices in an era of survival. When the saeculum is in motion, therefore, no long human lifetime can go by without a society confronting its deepest spiritual and worldly needs.

    Modernity has thus far produced six repetitions of each turning, each repetition lasting roughly the duration of a phase of life and corresponding to an identical constellation of generational archetypes. Each sequential set of four turnings constitutes a saeculum.

    The Anglo-American saeculum dates back to the waning of the Middle Ages in the middle of the fifteenth century. In this lineage, there have been seven saecula:

    Late Medieval (1435-1487)
    Reformation (1487-1594)
    New World (1594-1704)
    Revolutionary (1704-1794)
    Civil War (1794-1865)
    Great Power (1866-1946)
    Millennial (1946-2026?)
    America is presently in the Third Turning of the Millennial Saeculum and giving birth to the 24th generation of the post-medieval era.

  5. #5


    First Turning - High

    A HIGH brings a renaissance to community life. With the new civic order in place, people want to put the Crisis behind them and feel content about what they have collectively achieved. Any social issues left unresolved by the Crisis must now remain so.

    The need for dutiful sacrifice has ebbed, yet the society continues to demand order and consensus. The recent fear for group survival transmutes into a desire for investment, growth, and strength--which in turn produces an era of commercial prosperity, institutional solidarity, and political stability. The big public arguments are over means, not ends. Security is a paramount need. Obliging individuals serve a purposeful society—though a few loners voice disquiet over the spiritual void. Life tends toward the friendly and homogeneous, but attitudes toward personal risk-taking begin to loosen. The sense of shame (which rewards duty and conformity) reaches its zenith. Gender distinctions attain their widest point, and child-rearing becomes more indulgent. Wars are unlikely, except as unwanted echoes of the recent Crisis.

    Eventually, civic life seems fully under control but distressingly spirit-dead. People worry that, as a society, they can do everything but no longer feel anything.

    The post-World War II American High may rank as the all-time apogee of the national mood. The Gilded Age surge into the industrial age was supported by a rate of capital formation unmatched in U.S. history, symbolized by the massive turbines in the Centennial Exposition’s Hall of Machines. In the early 19th century, the geometric grids of the District of Columbia and Northwest Territory townships projected a mood of ordered community that culminated in the Era of Good Feelings, the only time a U.S. President was re-elected by acclamation. In the upbeat 1710s, poetic odes to flax and shipping conjured up a society preoccupied (in Cotton Mather’s words) with “usefulness” and “good works.”

    Recall America’s circa-1963 conception of the future: We brimmed over with optimism about Camelot, a bustling future with smart people in which big projects and “impossible dreams” were freshly achievable. The moon could be reached, and poverty eradicated, both within a decade. Tomorrowland was a friendly future with moving skywalks, pastel geometric shapes, futuristic Muzak, and well-tended families. In the Carousel of Progress, the progress remained fixed while the “carousel” (what moved) was the audience. The future had specificity and certainty but lacked urgency and moral direction.

    Second Turning - Awakening

    An AWAKENING arrives with a dramatic challenge against the High’s assumptions about benevolent reason and congenial institutions. The outer world now feels trivial compared to the inner world.

    New spiritual agendas and social ideals burst forth, along with utopian experiments seeking to reconcile total fellowship with total autonomy. The prosperity and security of a High are overtly disdained though covertly taken for granted. A society searches for soul over science, meanings over things. Youth-fired attacks break out against the established institutional order. As these attacks take their toll, society has difficulty coalescing around common goals. People stop believing that social progress requires social discipline. Any public effort that requires collective discipline encounters withering controversy. Wars are awkwardly fought and badly remembered afterward. A euphoric enthusiasm over spiritual needs eclipses concern over secular problems, contributing to a high tolerance for risk-prone lifestyles. People begin feeling guilt about what they earlier did to avoid shame. Public order deteriorates, and crime and substance abuse rise. Gender distinctions narrow, and child-rearing reaches the point of minimum protection and structure.

    Eventually, the enthusiasm cools—having left the old cultural regime fully discredited, internal enemies identified, comity shattered, and institutions delegitimized.

    Many Americans recall this mood on the campuses and urban streets of the Consciousness Revolution. Earlier generations knew a similar mood in Greenwich Village around 1900, in utopian communes around 1840, in the Connecticut Valley nearly a century earlier, and in the Puritans’ New Jerusalems in the post-Mayflower decades.

    Recall America’s circa-1984 conception of the future: Tomorrowland had evolved through Space Odyssey to Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, a spiritual future in which human consciousness triumphs over machines. The visions alternated between perfection and disaster—between utopias celebrating “love” and dystopias annihilating everything. We believed that self-expression took precedence over self-control—even if we still assumed that big institutions would continue to cohere and function without much difficulty.

    Third Turning - Unraveling

    An UNRAVELING begins as a society-wide embrace of the liberating cultural forces set loose by the Awakening. People have had their fill of spiritual rebirth, moral protest, and lifestyle experimentation. Content with what they have become individually, they vigorously assert an ethos of pragmatism, self-reliance, laissez faire, and national (or sectional or ethnic) chauvinism.

    While personal satisfaction is high, public trust ebbs amid a fragmenting culture, harsh debates over values, and weakening civic habits. The sense of guilt (which rewards principle and individuality) reaches its zenith. As moral debates brew, the big public arguments are over ends, not means. Decisive public action becomes very difficult, as community problems are deferred. Wars are fought with moral fervor but without consensus or follow-through.

    Eventually, cynical alienation hardens into a brooding pessimism. During a High, obliging individuals serve a purposeful society, and even bad people get harnessed to socially constructive tasks; during an Unraveling, an obliging society serves purposeful individuals, and even good people find it hard to connect with their community. The approaching specter of public disaster ultimately elicits a mix of paralysis and apathy that would have been unthinkable half a saeculum earlier. People can now feel, but collectively can no longer do.

    The mood of the current Culture Wars era seems new to nearly every living American but is not new to history. Around World War I, America steeped in reform and fundamentalism amidst a floodtide of crime, alcohol, immigration, political corruption, and circus trials. The 1850s likewise simmered with moral righteousness, shortening tempers, and multiplying “mavericks.” It was a decade, says historian David Donald, in which “the authority of all government in America was at a low point.” Entering the 1760s, the colonies felt rejuvenated in spirit but reeled from violence, mobs, insurrections, and paranoia over the corruption of official authority.

    Look at how Americans today conceive the future: Think-tank luminaries exult over the history-bending changes of the Information Age, while the public glazes at expertise, cynically disregards the good news, and dwells on the negative. The pop culture rakes with futuristic images of Total Recall dysfunction, Robocop crimes, Terminator punishments, and Independence Day deliverance.

    Fourth Turning - Crisis

    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 the Great 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.

  6. #6
    machintruc's Avatar
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    This pretty much reminds me Spiral Dynamics

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