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  • Robison Wells

Are Millennials The Heroes?


I've been reading a book called "The Fourth Turning" which is full of lots of problems (esp with regards to cherry-picking data) but is compelling nonetheless.

The book, which is kind of philosophical history, says that history is broken down into 80 year cycles, and each cycle is split into four twenty year chunks called "turnings". The turnings are: the High, the Awakening, the Unraveling, and the Crisis.

So, from a cycle perspective (in America), the Crises go from Revolutionary war--jump 80 years--then Civil War--jump 80 years--then World War II--jump 80 years--then now.

From a Turning point of view, the High started at the end of WWII and everything was prosperous and good (*unless you were a minority--as I said, it cherry picks). The Awakening starts with the assassination of JFK, and then we have twenty years of cultural revolution. Then, it puts the Unravelling starting at 1984 as the global balance seems to fall apart (the unravelling isn't all bad--end of the USSR, for example--it's just chaotic). Then the Crisis starts in 2008, with the Great Recession (and the political divide and COVID).

The super interesting thing about this book is that it was written in 1997, during the Unravelling, and it predicted the Crisis happening now. It predicts the Crisis will end in 2028 and we'll have our next High.

But the thing that I found most interesting is what it says about Generations. It gives each generation an archetype: people born during the High are the Prophets (think Bill Gates and Steve Jobs). People born during Awakening are the Nomads. People born during the Unravelling are the Heroes, and people born during the Crisis will be the Artists. I love this because it is essentially making the argument that Millennials--the people born during the unravelling--are the Heroes, or the equivalent of The Greatest Generation. They're the ones who are going to lead us out of this mess.

Anyway, it's a philosophical theory and as such it's going to be full of holes and exceptions. But it's certainly given me a lot to think about. And I love the idea that Millennials will save the day (they already are) and that the people who are born during The Crisis are going to be the Artists--the next Bob Dylans and Beatles.

Anyway, neat stuff. You should check it out.

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