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October 30, 2023

The Fourth Turning: Understanding the Cycles of History and Our Place in It


History isn't just a linear progression of events; it moves in cycles. The Strauss-Howe generational theory provides a framework for understanding these cycles, suggesting that every 80 to 90 years, we undergo a full cycle or "saeculum." Within this timeframe, there are four distinct phases or "turnings," each lasting about 20 years. History is not merely a chronicle of events; it ebbs and flows in patterns. Coined by William Strauss and Neil Howe, the generational theory illuminates these patterns, suggesting that roughly every 80 to 90 years, society undergoes a complete "saeculum" cycle. Within this cycle, four distinct "turnings" emerge, each spanning about two decades.

1. The First Turning - The High: This is a post-crisis era where society is optimistic, and institutions are strong. It's a period of collective unity and societal rebuilding. For instance, the post-World War II era, where America witnessed an even distribution of wealth, and one could...

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