Updated: Aug 31
When you follow conversation about generational theory for awhile, one of the things you notice is that it tends not to change very much.
Truth be told, The Fourth Turning (the unofficial Bible of generational theory, for those who may not already know) lends itself to being condensed in familiar CliffsNotes. The book's guiding premise is based on a fairly simple idea - that history is seasonal and cyclical generational change has a great deal to do with it - but it's just complicated enough that it requires genuine effort to summarize in a way that deviates from the usual script.
It's been nearly two weeks since the release of Neil Howe's long-awaited sequel, The Fourth Turning is Here (which I have read), and from the news articles and the podcast thus far I've seen thus far, very little has changed on this front. My question is:
If the same old talking points keep getting recited exactly as they have for 26 years, how will these ideas help anyone learn anything new?
If you're interested in a review of the new book, I just yesterday (July 30th) released the first episode in what I plan will be a series that runs through the rest of the summer. There's certainly lots to discuss.
Paul Zimmy Finn
Is History Really a Complex System? Aug 31st
The Fourth Turning is Here spends a good deal of one of its early chapters discussing history as a "complex system." This is a very significant change from its 1997 predecessor, in which history is implicitly framed as a process, and one marked by generational change. The decision to rationally articulate the cycle of history, in my opinion, is a mistake on Neil Howe's part, because it leads to him inserting rational logic throughout the book to project the cycle of history at the expense of that process.