When faced with a radical crisis, when the old way of being in the world, of interacting with each other and with the realm of nature doesn’t work anymore, when survival is threatened by seemingly insurmountable problems, an individual life-form–or a species–will either die or become extinct or rise above the limitations of its condition through an evolutionary leap.
The New Earth
We are in the midst of a fundamental shift. The Fourth Turning, written by Neil Strauss and William Howe in 1997, has influenced the way that I see the world and is a lens through which to view the dramatic changes ahead as part of a predictable, painful, but necessary shift. The book’s premise is that although we think of time as linear and expect things to get better, an objective look at history reveals that time is cyclical. Four distinct phases–growth, maturation, entropy and destruction–follow a predictable pattern. In the collapse phase, institutions that have become undermined, and have lost their footing, crumble.
In the rubble of the collapse we are compelled to look at what is not working and gather the collective will to create durable solutions. This brings to mind the destruction of a forest fire. Although the fire takes everything, it also releases seeds that were dormant until subjected to intense heat. Within a year there is new growth. We will see the same in this country. There are untold millions of smart, conscious people who meditate, pray, practice yoga and the martial arts, garden, knit and reach out to their neighbors. This is the perfect opportunity to get it right. Getting it right means stepping up and realizing that we actually are all interconnected. It also means that sometimes the greater good trumps self-interest.
We perceive our civic challenge as some vast, insoluble Rubik’s Cube. Behind each problem lies another problem that must be solved first, and behind that lies yet another, and another, ad infinitum. To fix crime we have to fix the family, but before we do that we have to fix welfare, and that means fixing our budget, and that means fixing our civic spirit, but we can’t do that without fixing moral standards, and that means fixing schools and churches, and that means fixing the inner cities, and that’s impossible unless we fix crime. There’s no fulcrum on which to rest a policy lever. People of all ages sense that something huge will have to sweep across America before the gloom can be lifted-but that’s an awareness we suppress. As a nation, we’re in deep denial. The Fourth Turning, Winter is Coming