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Generation Forces
Crackpot Mailbox: Polymachus Wants to Know Has James Read The 4th Turning
4th Turning / Generation Forces
9:21 AM (13 hours ago)
Hi James,
Thanks for your meditations, reflections, encouragements.
Have you read thr 4th Turning?
It's quite flawed in my opinion but I've been extracting usable lessons from it. I ask for your confirmation/ refutation / expansion on the following, which if true constitute the underlying forces at work in generational theory:
-A generation has at most room for one standup / dragdown fight to the death. After this, a generation is spent, used-up and prefers compromise, even after they find themselves in power later.
Paradigm shifts:
-When a feedback loop closes so directly on a group of people that they can't help but notice cause-and-effect, they fall away from the old paradigm.
-Compromise causes opposing attitudes to harden, because no one identifies with the halfway-in-between paradigm, and blames the opposing thought-tribe for its failures.
-The few times that responsible stewardship occurs is when a faction asserts its vision unopposed, without compromise. If it works, those out of power change their minds. If it fails, the prevailing thought-tribe falls away from the old paradigm. (This may fracture its internal consensus.) This falling away doesn't happen very often at the level of individual politicians and cultural leaders, but at their bases of support.
-Paradigm shifts push people away from an old consensus, but never towards a new one.
-Consensus is achieved only through power. (Consensus does not mean everyone agrees, merely that opponents remain silent.)
If these statements are true, then everything in the 4th Turning follows from them. (And provides better insights for predicting the future.)
You know young man, you are real fucking smart. I find myself having a hard time keeping up with you.
I have not read The 4th Turning. I have heard it discussed, so it must be a popular book and therefore I shall not have read it. I generally avoid reading what most others read so that I can preserve an alternative view of things. I basically read:
-What readers send me
-Primary source documents
-Things written before the mind-fuck implosion of 1974
I will attempt to tackle your points one at a time,
This is true of moderns, but not ancients. The Macedonian foot companions fought from age 18 to 80. Romans dug deeper into their force pool every time Hannibal slaughtered another army of the knuckleheads. The Normans were good for more than Hastings and went down into the Middle Sea on "crusade." The Mongols and Vikings before them pressed on until they were killed by drink or fight as old men. But yes for emasculated human populations worshipping material accumulation, each generation has at most one fight. So this theory needs to recognize the emaciated state of the half-human, half-livestock, civilized soul, a thing increasingly unfit for wraiths to feast upon.
Obedience to a paradigm requires faith, something easily shaken amongst modern and post modern humans. Again, this is different than the ancients. It took a thousand years of alternately burning pagans at the stake and adopting their idiosyncratic rituals to get them to switch to Christianity from their old faiths. For the modern mind to go from Christian to materialist took only from the French Revolution to the Feminist Revolution, less than two hundred years. Technology surely plays a role in the acceleration of social upheaval. That needs to be accounted for.
Consensus is only achieved through power in civilized societies. Traditional societies have intrinsic consensus. The civilized hierarchy replaces this with some flimsy psychological vinyl floors, paper walls and cheap caulking.
These statements are true, to the best of my knowledge in modern, civilized settings in the Occident, Near East, Africa and Americas. I lack the knowledge base to comment on the Orient proper. With civilization, modernity and postmodernity [InfoTech] we are three steps removed from natural human settings. These macro paces are:
1. Primal, hunter-gatherer
2. Barbarian: herder, and hunter-gatherers in contact with civilization
.......................................human domestication...........................
3. Civilized
4. Modern
5. Postmodern
One way to approach this might be to develop a model that accounts for stages of domesticity, or hierarchal corruption of the human soul. For instance, the barbarian phase itself does not represent uncorrupted humans but does preserve much of the primal psychology. Scale also introduces acceleration, with small city state societies such as the Homeric, Archaic and even Classical Greeks actually living as semi-barbarians by the measure of the Near East and modern times. It seems to me, that any society that reduces the man from a warrior to a worker will begin showing signs of the flimsy social stability you note.
Hope that was some help. I honestly don't know where to take this—but I have a hunch that your nimbus will brighten again...
Masculine Axis: A Meditation on Manhood and Heroism
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