Friday, October 03, 2008

Prophecy and Serendipity

Over fourteen years ago, I posted this article on how generations in America tend to cycle through four types with common characteristics (posted on my old vanity site which I keep up because the Christianity FAQ that I wrote with my late great Pastor's help still tops the Google result list).

Through completely separate, unrelated, and kinda spooky circumstances, I ended up picking this book up at the library because the title intrigued me: The Fourth Turning by Str William, Neil Howe. It's a later book by the same guys who are the subject of that article I link to above.

In The Fourth Turning they expand their theory and show how it actually stands up going back as far as the fourteen-hundreds, and then they predict the future using the same theory.

Here's the table that divides generations into their "Saeculums" and where they fit into the cycles of generations types (which make a little more sense if you read that article above, first).

It amazes me how well this theory holds together and throughout the ages.

But what blew my socks and part of my boxers off was the predictions of how we will be ushered into what they call the Fourth Turning, or the coming "crisis," saeculum. Keep in mind this was published in 1997:

Can I get an "Amen"?! Can I get a "Holy Shit"!?!?!

Three of those have come to pass (more or less), and M. Blowhard has been tracking rumblings about State secession. Toss in one pandemic and they've got full house.

Anyway, the future is not as dire as the label "crisis saeculum" might sound. It's just a convenient way to quantify and contrast it against the others.

The book actually has a lot of great advice on how to weather said "crisis saeculum" and what the benefits and outcomes are likely to be. There is hope.

If you're interested, but don't want to read the whole thing (it is long), particularly if you don't need to be convinced the theory of the book is correct, you can just read the intro stuff until you get the basic gist (section 1, "Winter Comes Again" at least), skip to section 4, "Cycles of History", and then read sections 10 and 11, "A Forth Turning Prophecy" and "Preparing for the Fourth Turning" respectively.

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