The Fourth Great Turning and a new geopolitical era is here. It's small comfort as we watch Ukrainians slaughtered live on television, but history tells us these turning points are real...
I finished reading The Dawn of Everything last weekend and you're right, although none were recognized by European nations or the rest of the world at the time.
Thom, I have been grateful for those Fourth Turning episodes of your TV show back in the days of RT and still refer to the book awaiting the Grey Champion. Democracy in Chains was a root look at our oligarchy, Kurt Anderson's Fantasyland and Evil Genius have defined and revealed the weaknesses in our culture. Though On Tyranny is the handbook for our present era, Timothy Snyder's deeper dive into Putin's genesis and fantasies of the Motherland is "The Road to Unfreedom, Russia - Europe - America" really lays out the present. The only reference I have heard to it was an interview with Lawrence O'Donnell last week, though Snyder has been all over MSNBC. His voice, your voice, Thom, and all those turning point books and many more, give me hope and the ability to vision a democracy that lives in our hearts and adapts to the times.
Another superb "Report," Thom ! And thanks again for recommending Strauss & Howe's "4th Turning" book several years ago. I very much appreciate your optimism when saying "...they (4th Turnings) always leave enlightenment and true change in their wake," but want to point out that Strauss & Howe didn't characterize the outcomes of 4th Turnings quite that way. Yes, all 6 of the 4th Turning Crises (going back to the War of the Roses in England 1455-1485) that the authors documented did turn out in favor of the more "democratic" or egalitarian side....with the monarchs, dictators, etc. losing...but they pointed out that there is no guarantee. In fact, in 1997 they presented 4 possible outcomes for our next / current 4th Turning--and the first three are rather chilling: 1) the end of man, 2) the end of modernity, and 3) the end of our nation. Only their 4th alternative said that "Mankind, modernity, & America would persevere" with " a new mood, a new High, and a new saeculum...(all) reborn, but it would not be the same." (Pp. 330-331) So far, the democracy at risk--and under siege--is Ukraine...and not the USA. I have to wonder how far this comparison to the USA before entering WWII will go. We said we didn't want to enter WWII at all...until we were attacked at Pearl Harbor. When President Biden last night said we would respond with our full strength if "one inch of NATO" is attacked--which I support wholeheartedly--then WWIII becomes totally dependent on one isolated, cold-blooded authoritarian in Moscow with his "nuclear option." Your recounting, Thom, of the German youth who handed Hilter the-war-is-lost message and days later Hitler committed suicide...serves as a warning of the possible outcome this time...with the caveat that Hitler didn't have nukes to take the whole world with him into the Great Beyond....but Putin does....eh? As Strauss & Howe reminded us: "The seasons of time offer no guarantees. The Fourth Turning will try our souls--and the...saeculum does not reveal whether the story will have a happy ending..." (p. 332) Yes, we are on the brink...NOW ! Will Ukraine survive? Will the world survive ?
So much for Putin being a 'genius' - just another sociopathic, narcissistic, fascist tyrant. Hopefully he is on his way out with this horrid invasion!
With respect to your paragraph: "At the time there were no functional democracies in the world and hadn’t been for almost three thousand years; within two decades the French had executed their king and democratic movements were well established across Europe." you might find interesting the recent "Dawn of Everything" by David Graeber and David Wengrow, which argues not only that much of North and South America was governed by democracies at the time of the French and Indian Wars and earlier but also that the founders got some of their basic ideas of how to run a democracy from skilled Indian politicians some of whom even visited Europe at the time.
I read The Fourth Turning at the time it was published. Every so often the bell of truth rings just so and it read to that frequency. It's been helpful as a guide in providing the general shape of things to come. It was essentially a well researched and educated speculation at the time, but as Thom noted it has been uncannily accurate.
I don't know where this present slaughter of the soul will lead us. Reaching bottom can be the beginning of change. I am hopeful that the live streaming of authoritarianism-caught-naked will shock our cultural heart back into a sustainable rhythm. For those no longer with us, I hope we do not turn away from this moment and leave your end to have been in vain.
Great take on history:
"Americans will once again understand, as Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt both warned us, that oligarchs owning politicians and poisoning the channels of public discourse weakens and can ultimately kill a democracy."
Both Teddy,and Franklin, along with General Eisenhower warned the entire US populace about the dangers from allowing the Military Industrial Complex to build up enough inertia to take over all democratic functions. We, the Baby Boomer Generation allowed it to happen on our watch. All the whining and blaming is in the area of Mea Culpa.
I think we are, indeed, in a 4th major turning point in US and global history; the current powers have already spun the wheels and call it The Reset. The Big question is whether fear or courage will determine the outcome; it's surprising, or not, how many new billionaires were made during the 2020-22 Angst. They must have known the play book well.
The Fourth Turning was written in 1997 and is a great book reference. Thanks!
I like your vantage point. The mind is fascinating. I can't help but feel that some departments within the grey matter have outpaced others - or perhaps more precisely - have gone rogue. Shiny objects and the sin of "I" have broken away from the ancient wisdom that is "we".
Thank you for your very kind words. They carry weight. I love your observations and even more so, your attitude. Surprising as it may seem, I'm basically a clown. I laugh often, as life seems to provide a never ending supply of material. My writing certainly does not reflect that. Perhaps I will fold some giggles into the batter of my otherwise dreadful literary tellings.
Thank you again for your uplifting comments. They're a gem!
I casually follow astrological trends.
With regards to the Fourth Great Turning, there are some astrological aspects that make this transition unique. Pluto takes 248 years to move through all signs of the zodiac. This planet is in the exact same position as it was during the American Revolution.
Quoting information out there:
"On Feb. 22, Pluto returned to a similar position in Capricorn once again, rehashing similar themes of power struggles, endings, and new beginnings from which the US was born." "Secrets are a dealbreaker with Pluto, and [when the planet is] in Capricorn, it stops at nothing to expose what lacks honesty and integrity — the misuse of authority and power is not being tolerated."
It is particularly interesting that Joe Biden put the truth out there with regards to Ukraine.
Incredibly informative. Thank you.
This turning is unique; it is happening before everyone's eyes without the information being filtered like it was during WWII.
Putin's attempt to keep Russians in the dark simply won't work. They opened the borders and let their people travel and emigrate. Disinformation just isn't that effective when your citizens have relatives all over the world.
One individual could stop this war. One person in his circle. A friend said a poison cookie might be appropriate. Live by the sword.....
Putin and the oligarchs have been sent a message thanks to President Biden, NATO, and our allies. China, you just keep buying-up the free-world. Are you sure you want to continue doing that?
And speaking of taking money from the obscenely rich, well, I just hope that starts a trend.
I believed we had reached bottom on so many occasions - especially since 2015. It has been humbling to learn how far off base I've been in judging where the bottom lies for a critical mass of people. Accepting the unacceptable is what I have witnessed.
I may come across as pessimistic, but I believe in the idea that pessimists are generally very disappointed optimists. Who knows...