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21st CENTURY BREAKDOWN

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Wherever we're headed, America is evolving in ways most of us don't like or understand. Individually focused yet collectively adrift, we wonder if we're heading toward a waterfall. Are we?"

Strauss & Howe The Fourth Turning

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Political leaders and the mainstream media have been blindsided by the sudden mood shift of the country in the last few years. The reason they have been blindsided is they believe world history is linear. Liberals have now begun referring to themselves as progressives. These people think the world only progresses. The facts indicate otherwise. History is cyclical. History is replete with grand empires like Rome, Spain and Britain. It is also replete with Dark Ages, depressions and wars. Strauss & Howe have established that history can be broken down into 80 to 100 year Saeculums that consist of four turnings: The High, The Awakening, The Unraveling, and the Crisis.

  • 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.
  • The Second Turning is an Awakening, a passionate era of spiritual upheaval, when the civic order comes under attack from a new values regime.
  • 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.
  • 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.

This isn't some variety of mystical Nostradamus conjecture trying to foretell the future. Strauss & Howe have been able to link the human life span to generational shifts in mood. This makes logical sense. As generations progress through the four stages of life their attitudes and views change. When you are born within the four cycles will greatly sway the course of your life. History forms individuals and generations as individuals and generations shape history. In this age of individualism, Americans are highly insulted by being lumped into a generational category. The fact is that a generation is composed of individuals who share common experiences, music, literature, and economic circumstances. This shared time frame leads to recurring attitudes and reactions to events. Generations come in four archetypes, always in the same order, whose phase-of-life positions comprise a constellation. They are:

  • 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.We are now in the midst of the fourth Crisis period in U.S. history. The previous Fourth Turnings The American Revolution, Civil War and Great Depression/World War II all required immense sacrifice and entailed great danger. There are only a few Americans alive who experienced and recall our last Fourth Turning. This is one of the foremost reasons the country seems surprised when the next Turning arrives. Just think about the response of politicians, mainstream media pundits, supposedly brilliant economists, and the elite thought leaders during the last five years. They have been blindsided by the housing collapse, worldwide financial crisis, election of Barack Obama, and furious rage of the Tea Party movement. This is because they prescribe to the belief the world only moves forward, never backward. They failed to identify the signs of Crisis. Threats that have been ignored and/or deferred for decades are now coalescing into a once in a lifetime emergency that will require public consensus, aggressive action, and personal sacrifice. Leaders who think the old way of governing will continue to work are learning a difficult lesson. This is why so many old time politicians like Chris Dodd are fleeing Washington DC. A maelstrom of government debt, unfunded liabilities, looming energy catastrophe, and consumer collapse is about to hit the United States. There is no politician in Washington DC willing to stand up in front of the American people and tell them the truth about the storms on our horizon.

The Turnings in American History

First
(High)

Second
(Awakening)

Third
(Unraveling)

Fourth
(Crisis)

Saeculum:

Revolutionary

Augustan Age of Empire
(17041727)

Great Awakening
(17271746)

French & Indian Wars
(17461773)

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www.TheBurningPlatform.com

James Quinn is a senior director of strategic planning for a major university. James has held financial positions with a retailer, homebuilder and university in his 22-year career. Those positions included treasurer, controller, and head of (more...)
 

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