Bantam U.S.A. 1997. ISBN 978-0767900461
|In this exceptional book the
authors take a life-cycle view of human affairs that is analogous to the four seasons. A
complete cycle repeats and runs through four quarters ; Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter
with each season serving a purpose.
Since working together in the mid 1980's they became convinced by evidence that human societies follow a cyclical generational pattern rather than one of unbroken linear growth. The evidence is that societies grow, reach a maturity, stagnate and decline, with their particular angle being that generations can be counted from a time of major crisis with four generations (human life cycles) needed to complete the full cycle.
They show that "Ever Upwards", "Always More", "Always Better" are useful political slogans that really don't apply to human affairs other than in a narrow technological sense. Societal awareness of its success/performance/happiness is not an arrow shooting ever upwards but rather an arrow that is shot upwards only to fall to earth and (usually) be fired again to follow a similar but different arc.
In American terms they see the present cycle as starting with a post WWII "American High" (top)
|(1946-1964)(Spring), followed by
a "Consciousness Revolution" (1964-1984)(Summer) and "Culture Wars"
(1984-2005?)(Autumn) with a Winter on the way that should cover the approximate period of
2005- 2025. As in nature, each season has its possibilities and they identify Crisis
(Winter) as a time for societal survival, demanding a genuine gathering together in
unselfish common action.
Each generation interestingly defines itself in opposition to its childhood parents with "Boomer" children looking for societal order and stability rather than the splintering revolution that was forced onto them. Equally, they show each seasonality as having a dominant ethos that is almost impossible to resist, with the best example probably being the final capitulation of Conservatives under Reagan to the "me first" individualism and personal freedom of a late stage Third Turning.
As they say, "Ideals become Ideologies" and an institutionalized revolution turns into a special interests power grab under the cover of a revolutionary smoke screen, i.e. Woodstock progresses to Animal Farm with some revolutionaries being more equal than others.