A Third Look at that Fourth Turn

By -

That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past. – Ecclesiastes 3:15

I was mulling over for something to write about, and my eyes landed on the spine of the book The Fourth Turning, which is included in Slope’s Recommended Reading list. As I started thumbing through the book (already copiously highlighted by me), I wondered if I had already written on Slope about it. It turns out, yep, I did so twice – – first in August 2012, and second a couple of years after that. Hey, with over 20,000 posts on Slope, I’m entitled to forget.

If you’re interested in the book, I’d suggest checking out those two prior posts, but I’ll just say in brief that the book (written in 1997) contends that a “millennial crisis” will start in 2005, plus or minus a few years, and will last about twenty-five years from then. I daresay the authors would now agree that the 9/11 attacks constitute the “event” kicking off this fourth wave. As I’ve mentioned, the moment I saw the second plane hit, the first words out of my mouth to my wife were, “This changes everything.” Now, sixteen years later, I’d say that was true.

Of course, if the fourth turning is supposed to represent crisis and nasty stuff, it sure doesn’t feel like it now, at least in terms of the (perpetually-record-high) stock market. With nearly a decade left of this “turning”, however, I’m willing to be patient that we have not witnessed the end of history. One curious little tidbit they mention on page 111 is this:

“During an Unraveling, the gap between acceptable gender roles shrinks to its narrowest point. The efficacy of masculine power (and feminine morality) is re-idealized during a Crisis.”

Besides the fact that the nation (California in particular) has gone completely nuts about gender identity (for the record, my pronouns are he, his, and him) I offer this as Exhibit A:

This quote also grabbed me as germane, assuming that, one great and glorious day, the financial world begins to unravel and keeps unraveling………..

“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.” (p. 274)

A big focus of the book, naturally, is on different generations and how they interact with one another. I’m in the “13er” generation, and apparently saving the world is up to us folks:

“Middled-aged 13ers will be the only ones capable of deflecting the more dangerous Boomer tendencies. The Boomers won’t check themselves, nor will Millennials, so the task will fall to 13ers to force the Boomer priest-warriors to give it a rest when the fervor gets too deep, to get real when the sacrifices outweigh the future reward. A 13er may indeed be the intrepid statements, general, or presidential adviser who prevents some righteous old Aquarian from loosing the fateful lightning and turning the world’s lights out.” (p. 292)

Errr…………Trump and North Korea, anybody?

Anyway, hopefully I’ll remember from now on that, yes, I’ve written about this book before; if some of its Nostradamus-like prophecies materialize, I’m sure I’ll revisit it, appropriately enough, for a fourth turn.