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13. Getting through Winter

Updated: Jan 3, 2021

There is a famous Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Pandemic, fires & floods, political intrigue, pending economic collapse, extinction of species all fall into the action/drama genre of movie entertainment. Seldom do we turn on the news these days when there is NOT some scandal or disaster to report. According to the surviving author of The Fourth Turning we have another ten years of winter to endure. Our fate, however, is not preordained. We do have choices. Can we find new meaning? (Read blog#11 & blog#12 for context)

By studying previous Fourth Turnings** author Neil Howe has determined four phases:

Phase one is Shock—the realization that, “Things are going to be different now; our kids have a bleak future and our role in the world has changed.”

Phase two is Regeneracy—distrust reaches its low point and citizens suddenly begin to come together around someone or something, generating an increasing trust in putting the pieces together—institutions that can make sense again—and we collectively realize how unprepared we are for the future.

Phase three is climax—things get worse, but collectively we begin to match it with rebuilding new institutions better able to handle changing times.

Phase four is Resolution—a post crisis era leading very quickly to the next “high.”

As the author reminds us:

“Fourth Turnings seem apocalyptic, but they are necessary, just as the seasons are necessary. Winter kills everything off, so the new can grow. Forests need fires, rivers need floods and so too do societies need events that clean out the debris—something that recovers the nation’s wealth from the old and restores it to the young. Fourth Turnings renew as they are the price we must pay for a new Golden Age.” (“Post#15”)

Five basic shapes and their meaning appear in the art of all cultures. The human mind is a pattern-creating consciousness. The theory that history moves in spirals, not circles, gives a more accurate picture of the future. The cultural meaning for the spiral is growth and evolution. Each time a historic cycle is completed it ends at a different level—everything is seen as a new light. The result is a unique perspective on issues, people, and places. Times of growth and change requires innovation, ingenuity, and integrity. This is the relentless power of the creative spirit. It is going to be a glorious spring as young people unite to change the world!


** Previous Fourth Turnings. 17th Century – Europe Revolution; 18th Century – American Revolution; 19th Century – Civil War; 20th Century – World War II; 21st Century – Today (Phase two)

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