Fourth Turning Consequences



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Generational Perspective

Understanding How Our Societal Cohorts Act and Interact


Generation …noun
The entire body of individuals born and living at about the same time: the postwar generation.
he average span of years between the birth of parents and the birth of their offspring, reckoned in accordance with various disciplines, as in human population studies, which typically cite a generational range as 20–35 years, and in the classification of Generations X, Y, and Z, which loosely frame periods of 15–20 years.
Vicennial… adjective
Occurring every 20 years.
Relating to or lasting for a period of 20 years.
Entropy …noun
A measure of the disorder or randomness in a closed system.
A measure of the loss of information in a transmitted message.

A Comprehensivist View

Generations are THE measure of human experience on earth.  Generations are vicennial… occurring over a predictable period of time, yet representing a single, specific entity.

Generational patterns are similar to rings in a tree.  They distinguish identifiable periods of Earth’s human progression.  Each represents individual and collective group progression… they chronicle the history of humans’ achievements and the impact of each group… on our earth’s environment and resources.

Another way to think of human generations is as steps… each generation adds one more step to the cultural and experiential history of our world… or spaceship Earth… as Buckminster Fuller called our planet.

Although the estimates of generational life here on earth vary widely… think somewhere between 5,000 and 15,000 steps along our evolutionary path.  To grasp and understand the impact, quantity, and quality of these many past generations, human minds typically consolidate such vast amounts of information into identifiable concepts.  I hope to do the same… although my focus is on the generations that occupied/occupy the mid-north American continent.


Generations, The Book

Since generations are sequential and interconnected… there are interesting and (IMHO) essential facts that can be gleaned from this natural, human experiential pattern.  A recent series of books focused on generational interactions demonstrates this concept in stunning detail.

Generational theorists Neil Howe and William Strauss published their first book Generations: The History of America’s Future, in 1991.  This seminal text offers a breakdown of generational cohorts within the United States from 1584 to 2069. They identified 24 vicennial groups in America’s lineage… 6 pure English, 4 Colonists, and 14  American.  Of primary importance is the author’s identification of various patterns both between and within these sequential generations.  Their primary distinctions are centered on the concept of Turnings… which identifies 4 generation groups —namely HIGH, AWAKENING, UNRAVELING, and CRISIS— acting in a predictable, repeating pattern.

They published another book entitled The Fourth Turning (1997) which focused on the Fourth Turning of “CRISIS” and how past and current generations’ patterns compare… and how our current generations would act, sharing more interactive details.  They highlight the repetitive events that coincide with the 3 prior CRISIS periods… starting with the Revolutionary War, then the Civil War, and then the Depression/World War II events.

Additionally, Neil Howe recently published (2023) a timely and focused book entitled The Fourth Turning Is Here, in which he draws from the last 25 years of societal events to focus his past observations even more.  He recaps the unique and critical aspects of our 4 current cohorts, focusing on the current CRISIS generational period, and highlights the predominant past themes of war, civil unrest, and cultural shifts… and highlights how this period produces “make or break” situations and events that become the foundation for the next Turning… HIGH.

His research and writings are clear, concise, shocking, and revelatory… and point to similar conclusions that I share, and have believed for decades, namely…

  • That our country —and the world— are at a critical place in human history…
  • That our 6 current generations are the players in this real-life drama…
  • That they will either rise to the occasion, work together, and solve our current challenges…
  • Or remain disconnected, distracted, and apathetic…
  • And succumb to the fear and chaos that threatens to engulf the entire world.

So, let me introduce you to your fellow American generations… all those who are along for the ride with you… each group uniquely identified by their experiential “place” on the path.  Here is a breakdown showing Generational Name,  Age Range, Populations, and Type,  (as of 2022):


Gen. Name                                  Age Range                    Population                      Type                                

  • Greatest Gen                      (1901-1924)                        1.75M                      Hero  —  UNRAVELLING
  • Silent Gen                           (1925-1942)                      23.63M                     Artist  —  CRISIS
  • Baby Boomers                    (1943-1960)                     68.70M                     Prophet  —  HIGH
  • Gen-X                                   (1961-1981)                     65.13M                     Nomad  —  AWAKENING
  • Millennials                          (1982-1999)                     82.22M                    Hero  —  UNRAVELLING
  • Gen-Z                                   (2000-2018)                    13.60M                    Artist  —  CRISIS


Next, let’s look at other essential aspects of our generational co-existence… how our current generations interact, relate, and age together… or don’t.

See “Comprehensivists’ View of Generations” Postcard — Postcard — Generations

Generational Patterns

Howe and Strauss identified several remarkable patterns… namely, that over the past 5 to 6 centuries, Anglo-American society demonstrated similar, repetitive characteristics.  At their most basic level, generations are vicennial cohorts, which the authors identify as Turnings.

These inter-generational birth cycles —when grouped in cycles of 4— span the length of a long human life, roughly 80 to 100 years.  The authors identified this unit of time as a saeculum… an ancient Roman term.

They take their identities from ancient philosophies… depicting seasonal and cultural attributes… as outlined here.

  • 1st)  — HIGH (Prophet-Spring) —an inner-driven, moralistic generation— reflects a period of confident expansion,
  • 2nd) — AWAKENING (Nomad-Summer) —a cynical generation— a time of spiritual expansion and rebellion,
  • 3rd) — UNRAVELLING (Hero-Fall) —an outer-driven, morally complacent generation— where individualism triumphs over crumbling institutions,
  • 4th) — CRISIS (Artist-Winter) —a hypocritical generation— when everything falls apart, preparing the way for spring.

Over the past 500 years, these inter-generational patterns have —remarkably— repeated themselves as faithfully as the seasons repeat themselves.  These cycles represent distinct intellectual energies that mirror a basic earthly pattern… our Seasons.  Below are other descriptions they use to identify the different groups;

  • Spring as Rebirth…
  • Summer as Growth…
  • Fall as Entropy… and
  • Winter as creative destruction.


Turnings’ Patterns Described

I will quote directly from their work, as their explanation is most effective.

“The 4  Turnings describe the inter-generational, linear pattern they identify as a saeculum.

  • ‘The First Turning is a High… an upbeat era of strengthening institutions and weakening individualism… when a new civic implants and an 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 Four 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’.”

These are significant because each generation is born into a specific Turning identity… BUT will energetically experience the other three as they age, since the whole of society moves forward as a collective mass.


Inter & Intra Generational Cycles

Another key pattern is intra-generational aging… this is the aging progression within each generation.   The authors identify 4 stages… Youth (0-21), Rising (22-43), Mid-life (44-65), and Elder (66-87).  This identifies our linear, experiential life span.  Every generational cohort experiences this linear life pattern… what becomes interesting is how these various cohorts interact with different generational Turnings.  When looked at through this filter, we see that the totality of our experiential life is a combination of both patterns.

To combine these overlapping patterns… picture your generation starting from birth and aging through elder-hood (intra-generational aging)… all within the larger framework of your familial patterning… i.e. of grandparents, parents, you, your children, and grandchildren (inter-generational aging)

Both of these patterns happen simultaneously, and mark our societal life experiences, which affect both groups simultaneously and differently… in other words… inter-generationally the same, and intra-generationally different.

Using the recent COVID crisis as an example… it touched all current generations simultaneously… BUT because each generation was at a different age point, they each had different experiential views and impacts.


Inter-generational Cycles

For decades, I’ve likened the progression of humanity to a relay race… with the baton being passed from one generation to another.  After some reflection, and exposure to this well-researched information… my perspective has matured.

Unlike the simplicity of a baton pass… which either happens or not… there are several other factors involved that make understanding this right-of-passage a bit more complex.

First —and most obviously— several generations are interacting simultaneously… all having intra-generational and inter-generational experiences.  The actual “baton pass” only happens from the oldest to the youngest generation.

To illustrate, using the list above… there are 4 generations in active participation… with a 1st and 6th generation in transition… so currently, the 1st is rapidly transitioning off the planet, and the 6th is rapidly incarnating onto the planet… while the middle 4 generations bear the brunt of the collective responsibility of managing and advancing our intellectual and social awareness, and spiritual growth… or not… which seems to be the path that we are currently on.  Current generations are completely distracted.  They are not energetically balanced…  they lack spiritual balance.


Spiritual Imprint

Much like the tides… inter-generational cycles reflect a rhythmic and predictable pattern… only my version includes the additional layer of spiritual/energetic involvement.  This additional energy layer is the missing ingredient necessary to create overall energetic balance.  (See Faith or Fear article.)  The degree to which this infinite energy source is incorporated demonstrably impacts and affects the familial, social, and cultural aspects of all 6 generations.

Our country’s earlier generations (1800-1960) were subjected to relatively similar inter and intra-generational and spiritual dynamics… but that changed with the Babyboomers.

Because of exponential population growth and technological advances, a dramatic energetic shift occurred during the Babyboomers “Rising” period, which altered the experiential patterning of their and subsequent generations.  Exponential world changes coupled with other generations’ choices created consequential behavior changes and altered Babyboomers views and actions in their Rising and Mid-Life stages.  (See Presidents Day 2024)


A Dramatic Societal/Energetic Shift

Predominately, the Babyboomers created an abrupt shift away from generations’ old traditions and patterning, specifically regarding the critical role and importance of the Family unit.  For millennia, the basic and enduring core of human society was the family unit… historically identified as father, mother, and children.  Most family units were multi-generational… with several generations living under the same roof or, in close proximity.

A comprehensivist view of this lifestyle reveals several advantages… all flowing from this multi-generational aspect.  It offered security, broader viewpoints, shared input, and a hierarchy to create context.  When a child matured out of such an environment, they had grounded wisdom, identity, purpose, values, and a good start toward adulthood… at the very least, a practical understanding of what the different stages of life could look like.  All that changed —dramatically— with the Babyboomer generation entering their Rising period.

The irresistible and overwhelming pull toward the technological/electronic age essentially distracted them… and subsequent generations… with the net result being a decided shift in inter-generational structure and values.  Simply put… the generations-old pattern of America being a collection of families focusing on familial and social values morphed into America becoming a collection of individuals focusing on money and business values.

The focus shifted away from the family unit —consisting of a balance of intellectual and spiritual energies— to predominately one that championed the individual with a tunneled intellectual viewpoint.  The energetic focus shifted dramatically to one of business, profit, material accumulation, wealth, power, and control, with these new intellectual goals being paramount over familial and spiritual values.  The net result of this marked societal and energetic shift is a dramatically different focus… one of short-term, intellectual achievements instead of the previous and more balanced intellectual/spiritual path.


Behavioral Defects

Challenging times hopefully create Givers & Receivers,
Givers & Receivers hopefully create prosperity,
Prosperity invariably creates Takers,
Takers always create challenging times.

Consequently, 3 generations later, what America lacks –more than anything else– is internally generated spiritual patterning… which creates external moral perspectives… that translate into faith-based generational actions. Essentially, we stopped being a society of morally guided people… and evolved into a more intellectually driven, cynical group who would rather complain than find solutions.  Sadly, we currently resemble renters and squatters more than owners.

In our current age of myopic, intellectual, instant everything… looking back even a few years doesn’t seem relative, let alone important… but it is… after all, how can we gain —or have— any kind of perspective without a balanced, stable reference?  In our headlong rush for material success, we’ve lost sight of —and abandoned— the ONLY thing that will create the balance necessary to have a complete and fulfilling life… daily spiritual input.


Evolutionary Forces

Over the same period, humanity has exponentially advanced in intellectual prowess.  My observations lead me to conclude that our lack of balance is because of our NOT choosing internal spiritual access… which leads to an external, visible void of morality, and moral leadership.  Because of this lack of spiritual input… many of our societal advancements are creating negative outcomes.  This truly highlights that fear-based decision-making is detrimental, and creates a poor foundation to build on.

How does that saying go… “The faster I go, the behinder I get”. 
Seems to aptly describe our current efforts and progress.


A Spiritual Energetic Force

As a fast-paced, multi-generational society, we have collectively developed comprehensive, intellectual, and investigative skills.  We now need to pause and reflect… to recognize that all of these intellectual skills have no immediate or long-term purpose or value if they are not tempered or balanced by our collective, internal spiritual guidance and wisdom.  Sadly, we need to relearn how to constructively —through faith-driven awareness— work together to understand and advance our collective whole-being energetic needs and desires… those based on morally grounded goals.

We MUST recognize —and openly choose— to collectively seek sustainable paths that support, nurture, and grow our morally based, Constitutionally grounded American Republic.  This can ONLY be done by a morally driven consensus… distilling down our mutual desires and needs into something workable for all people… similar to the intent and structure of our Founding Documents.

And regarding our Founding Documents… they were/are a timeless spiritually-inspired gift… provided to those generations, to help them resolve their accumulated, generational issues —which sadly— they could not… leaving several critical issues unresolved… essentially “kicking the can” down the road for future generations to deal with… which sadly STILL has not happened.

Regardless, they became a blueprint for future generations to use.  Sadly, several of our past generations also could not manifest the spiritual/emotional means to deal with these still important and still unresolved societal/moral issues.  Or, were they not emotionally/spiritually equipped or prepared for this critical task?

Hindsight affords us a clear lens to see that the predominate human issues of their day were identified, yet were not completely addressed or resolved.  Many of those same issues remain unresolved today.  Perhaps… with our generationally accumulated knowledge… coupled with a refocus of our energy — along with an awareness of our collective spiritual wisdom… our current generations can finally deal with these foundational issues?


Humanity’s Slippery Slope

After spending decades observing and interacting with the current generations, and distilling down these experiences, what comes to the forefront is not a list of intellectual traits, but rather a group of emotions… loosely grouped under Faith or Fear.

Sadly, what I see manifesting is an abundance of Fear.  Fear demonstrating itself as anger, resentment, greed, and a host of other negative emotions… all pointing to a desperate lack of spiritually imbued balance.  We need to actively seek balance, in the form of experiential LOVE.  We need to demonstrate FAITH, HOPE, AND TRUST… which ultimately all distills down to LOVE.

Except, these days, the fear-based noise level is so high, we cannot hear our “still small voice”, which is the gateway access to the infinite God energy available to help us balance out life’s uncertainties.  IF, we take a chance, and TRUST and partake in that infinite energy, we find a welcomed relief… a familiar and comfortable sense of being present… and the feeling of LOVING GRATITUDE.

LOVE is the quintessential, energetic expression of a cascade of energetic and
physiological markers that define our perceptions and health.

This awareness is interesting because it becomes evident that our energetic “nudge” is coming from our spiritual-energetic self… that “higher self” part of us.  Thankfully, we are ALWAYS receiving that spiritual energy… all we have to do is choose to incorporate it… if we seek balance within our Present or NOW state.


Impact of NOW

Truly being present, is a state of whole-energy awareness.  Remember,  NOW is the only time in our individual life that we can choose and affect change.  When watching the generational interaction and dysfunction… it becomes apparent to me that there are several critical factors needed for this to have a positive outcome.

The only way I can come to an understanding of this interactive result is by thinking of one-to-one interactions… how our individual and cumulative experiential actions impact each one of us… and all of us… because that is the crux of human energy progression.

Our whole-energy self is necessary for positive outcomes… and we create this energetic presence by melding both our intellectual and spiritual experiential energies.  This all happens through the implementation of our unique gifts, skills, and talents… through the use of our own personal “tool bag”.


Our Generational Tool Bag

Think of our collection of gifts­, talents, skills, attributes, and experiences as a unique collection of tools in our personal tool bag.  Some are unique to us… while some are passed down… and some are collected through various experiences.  The net result is that we have these tools to go through life with… and the best thing is that if —along the way— we develop an awareness that we need another tool, we are free to add it to our collection… and that’s where it can get tricky.   Not that we can do that relatively simple thing… but that we actually come to a clear understanding of its need… and our need for it.

Awareness requires presence… presence requires energetic balance… energetic balance requires awareness of Source… and hopefully, awareness of Source creates a sense of humility and stewardship… an appreciation for the gift of life itself.


Generational Link of Humanity

While individual human life is fleeting, human energy is not.  The “breathe of life” is a miraculous example and representation of human energy… something we STILL don’t fully comprehend… something we should treat with awe and respect.

Think twice about destroying something you can remake…
Think long and hard about destroying something you cannot even comprehend…
Act cautiously because your choices have permanent, generational impact…
Deeply consider the consequences on our dynamically balanced existence.

Humanity is the energetic expression of mankind’s intergenerational experience… and is demonstrated as the byproduct of lives lived.  Humanity is similar to a forest.  Individual trees come and go… yet the forest remains.  The obvious byproduct of the individual trees are the fallen leaves and broken branches… which indirectly become the soil… upon which the new trees find life… if the soil has maintained sustainable, nutritional qualities.

Similarly, the byproduct of humanity is the societies and institutions we leave behind.  The quality of those is based on the faith or fear oriented choices that predominate each generation’s life experience… and consequently, the legacy and institutions they leave behind.  Are they fertile to advance those generations or are they toxic to regress and even destroy them?

As the Generations authors point out, we are over halfway through our current CRISIS period, which historically produced overt periods of conflict… but does it have to be that way?  Absolutely not!!  We humans are an adaptable species, capable of consciously recognizing and choosing a path that creates positive, sustainable advancement.

IF we can —intergenerationally— summon a vibrant, guiding, spiritually-oriented, whole-being energy… we can redirect the current fear-dominated intellectual energy that pervades our country today.  This redirection not only avoids conflict… but it can deal with the underlying causes created by the accumulation of several generations-old CRISIS events of unresolved issues.

I truly believe that America’s time has come… to —for the first time in its young history… aspire to wholely mirror and implement ALL of the delineated freedoms and values described in The Declaration of Independence and Constitution.  I also believe that the current generations are here of purpose… to accomplish this noble task.

We’ve inherited a precious gift… are we valuing and improving it… or trashing it?
It’s a pretty obvious answer from that simple perspective.


All we have to do is wake up from our intellectually ingrained, distraction-induced trance…
summon and collectively focus our whole-being energies…
and DO IT!!

I encourage you to REFOCUS and REBALANCE
your core ENERGIES through the use of these simple filters…

      • To change how you view and engage the world and your life  (Faith/Fear filter),
      • To truly own your unique place in our unique society (Leader/Follower filter),
      • To actively participate inter & intra generationally…

To collectively become the Generations that resurrect our ailing Constitutional Republic.


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