Strauss & Howe were economists and historians who attempted to make some sense out of the seemingly convoluted twists of history. They deciphered a pattern which could be traced back for centuries based upon the age and alignment of generations throughout history. They never attempted to capitalize on their work by selling newsletters or peddling their predictions about the future. When they published their work in 1997 they couldn’t predict the exact events which would drive the next Fourth Turning, but they could estimate the general timing and the core elements which would drive the crisis: debt, civic decay, and global disorder. These areas were neglected, denied, and unaddressed during the Unraveling period from 1984 through 2008. To read their words now, eighteen years after they were written and eleven years before this Fourth Turning struck, is haunting, as they describe precisely where we stand today:
“As the Crisis catalyzes, these fears will rush to the surface, jagged and exposed. Distrustful of some things, individuals will feel that their survival requires them to distrust more things. This behavior could cascade into a sudden downward spiral, an implosion of societal trust.”
“But as the Crisis mood congeals, people will come to the jarring realization that they have grown helplessly dependent on a teetering edifice of anonymous transactions and paper guarantees. Many Americans won’t know where their savings are, who their employer is, what their pension is, or how their government works. The era will have left the financial world arbitraged and tentacled: Debtors won’t know who holds their notes, homeowners who owns their mortgages, and shareholders who runs their equities – and vice versa.”
Mankind and civilization do
not advance in a straight line. Progression and regression alternate in a
cyclical fashion. As generations die out, memories of the previous cycle are
forgotten, and the mistakes are repeated again. Human nature does not
change. Good, evil, greed, fear, bravery, honesty, arrogance, sacrifice, and
truth intermingle to drive humans through the cycles of history………….
……….. Regeneracy – Where Art Thou?
The regeneracy during a Fourth Turning is when a sense
of urgency about institutional dysfunction and civic vulnerabilities coalesce
the nation or large blocs of the homeland behind a strong leader to tear down
the existing social, economic and cultural order and replace it with something
different can be better or far worse. The Declaration of Independence, First
Battle of Bull Run, and election of FDR marked the regeneracy in prior American
Fourth Turnings. They all occurred within four years of the initial catalyst.
is now seven years into this Fourth Turning and a clear regeneracy event has
not materialized. This has been a frustrating development for those who are
impatient to get this Fourth Turning moving at a quicker pace. But, each Fourth
Turning will proceed at its own pace dependent upon events, the country’s
reaction to those events, and the leaders we choose during the Crisis.
In Part 2 of this article I
will ponder possible Grey Champion, prophet generation leaders who could arise
during the regeneracy, try to assess which channels of distress are likely to
burst forth with the molten ingredients of this Fourth Turning, and lastly make
some guesses about potential climaxes.