Cycles in U. S. History
1st Turning, High (Outer driven) Era
Each of the historical cycles arbitrarily begins with the birth of the Idealists. These cohorts* are raised in the euphoria following a secular event* and the middle aged Civics who engineered it are comfortably in power. In between are the young adult Adaptives on whose backs the secular event was carried and in the background are the elder Reactives.
Generational Alignment: Idealist youth, Adaptives approaching adulthood, Civic adults, Reactive elders
Trends: Low crime, sex role distinctions widen, low substance abuse, high fertility rates, low immigration, steady economic growth
Mood: Society seeks conformity and stability. Peak sense of community. Individuality discouraged. Society's future seems bright. Emphasis on building and doing. Wars are fought with consensus but without enthusiasm.
2nd Turning, Awakening Era
As the Idealists approach adulthood they try to change the beliefs of society resulting in a spiritual event*. By this time the elder Civics are beginning to lose their hold on power and less demanding middle age Adaptives are now in charge. A new generation of youthful Reactives are now left untended as the task of changing the world is undertaken.
Generational Alignment: Reactive youth, Idealists approaching adulthood, Adaptive adults, Civic elders
Trends: Increasing crime, substance abuse increases, sex role distinctions diminish, artistic activity high, immigration increasing, falling fertility rates, faltering economic indicators
Mood: Old values and the institutions that harbor them are challenged. Wars are unlikely and controversial. Focus on inner values. New social experiments tried. Public order deteriorates.
3rd Turning, Unraveling (Inner Driven) Era
As the Idealists approach middle age and begin to assume the reins of power for themselves the Adaptives drift off into elderhood and the Reactives enter adulthood in the frustrating aftermath of the spiritual event. Even then a protected generation of new Civics are being raised. This is where we are today.
Generational Alignment: Civic youth, Reactives approaching adulthood, Idealist adults, Adaptive elders
Trends: High crime, sex role distinctions narrow to lowest point, high substance abuse, high immigration, low fertility rates, irregular economic growth
Mood: Confidence in institutions declines and individualism flourishes. Socio-economic inequality rises. Frenetic pleasure seeking lifestyles emerge. Tolerance for other viewpoints lessens. Confidence in the future erodes. Wars become more likely and are fought with moral fervor.
4th Turning, Crisis Era
As the aging Idealists relinquish power to the pragmatic Reactives, now in middle age, a Civic generation feeling the power of their strong upbringing precipitate a secular event in which the institutions of Society are razed and the new is built on its ruins. A youthful Adaptive Generation looks on and is protected from it all. We are approaching this era.
Generational Alignment: Adaptive youth, Civics approaching adulthood, Reactive adults, Idealist elders
Trends: Decreasing crime, widening sex role distinctions, artistic license is minimal, personal violence and substance abuse reducing. falling immigration, rising fertility rates, economic setbacks
Mood: Preoccupation with worldly dangers. Wars are very likely and are fought with fury. A new set of ideals is adopted. Low tolerance for risk -prone behavior.
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