The Fourth Turning

Note: This page will probably make little sense to you unless you've read the excellent and frightening book The Fourth Turning.

The Authors have a web page that gives an overview of the book. In particular, a personal note to the reader reflects the fear and excitement I personally feel about the prophesies put forth in the book.

America is headed towards Crisis. And in the past, this has been a Total War.
[Revolutionary war, Civil War, Depression and WWII]

Like farmers putting away for the winter, we must all consider carefully how we squander our rich harvests the 90's and the new millenium have brought us.

I have a lot more I want to say about this book. For now, here's a letter I wrote to my friend who suggested the book to me. At the time I wrote this, I was still not very far into the book...I can't wait to read the final chapters...

From: Kiki
To: Loren Carpenter
Cc:  Kiki, Scott
Subject: Fourth Turning
Date: Thu, 5 Oct 2000 19:11:52 -0700

I've picked this book up again, now that I spend a lot of time on public transit... :)

I'm a little over a 1/3 of the way through -- slow reading as I've gotten to the "okay, okay, I get it now.." stage...  Just finished the little summary pages in the middle [a handy reference.]  I hope he gets more to what to do...

Boy, I tell ya, it's pretty damn scary, isn't it??

I have only a slight change in his turning archetypes:  Not Artists, but Rationals, and not Nomads, but Artisans [as per the Keirsey descriptions.] Artisans [I much prefer Dionisans [sp?] because most "Artisans" I know are not artists] are the self-indulgent, carefree, wild-child archetype, and Rationals are the introspective, scientist, quietly-industrious types I assiciate with the post-crisis mood.

Artisans are like George, Donny, and Joel.  They're the sleep-with-everyone musicians, bitchy self-destructive girlfriends, swash-buckling risk-takers.
Introverted SPs are loners by choice -- defiant to frustrated parents, quick to exchange lovers and not much of a friend-in-need.  Extroverted SPs are class clowns, and industrious leaders who rise to the top on the work of others.  Self-indulgent and self-expressive.  The world revolves around their pleasures and whims.  The true Nomad archetype.

Rationals are the quiet nerds, who live inside themselves, but in a physical sense, not spiritual [like Idealists.]  Rationals are concerned with the use of things.  They build and discover for for its own sake.  Introverted NTs are the scientists who quietly discover the secrets of the Universe...while the rest of the world goes by.  Extroverted NTs are the cool leaders, who emotionlessly build the Institutions needed to preserve society.  They are not passionless, but their passions are for structures.

Or at least that's how I see it.

After a Crisis -- which was created by SJ-Guardians -- the world has been conquered with loyalty, and left wide open for Rationals to come in and make use of the tools handed them by their parents and leaders.

After an Awakening -- which was created by NF-Idealists -- the spiritual world is left wide open for freedom and self-indulgence.  SPs are in the strongest position to take advantage of the fruits of their parent's labor.

SJs and SPs are paired -- both need eachother to fulfill their weaknesses.
But those weaknesses are in the same areas: the physical world.  For SPs it's the pleasure of the world.  For SJs it is the dynamics of society and tradition that is important -- at cost to their freedom.  SJs are the logical group to step in and protect the wild SPs and rebuild social order.  [And SPs are just the types to accept such governing.]

NFs and NTs are also paired -- their weaknesses are in the internal realm.
For NTs it is the coldness of logic and science.  For NFs it is the science of the self -- which can lead to fluffy-headed mamby-pamby spiritualism without reason...  They need eachother.  NFs are the perfect group to free the NTs from their suburb-building industrialism, and free their emotions -- waking them to love and religeon/spirituality.

Both SJs and NFs focus on the human aspect of living -- SJs on the civic dynamic, and NFs on the dynamic of the self.  SPs and NTs focus on the worldly aspect of living -- SPs on pleasure of the person, and NTs on the concepts of the physical.  SPs are most poised to use [or mis-use] the personal freedoms demanded and gained by Prophet NFs.  NTs are most poised to use [or mis-use -- without compassion] the powers of work and industry and systems.

NFs are the extreme of the internal world -- inuitive [internal] feeling [internal].  They distill out what is most spiritual about the human condition.

SJs are the extreme of the external world -- sensing [external] judging [external -- meaning traditional, and coming from external civic forces].
This positions them to be the most selfless of the types -- ready to get down and dirty and do what is needed for the good of all.

NTs are complimentary -- intuitive [internal] thinking [external].  They focus on the world in a way that isolates them from the human condition.

SPs are also complimentary -- sensing [external] perceiving [internal].
Understanding the very limits of what the world is, they push those limits, and get lost off the edge of a cliff.

So it's artisans that are the Nomads -- neuclear individualists, making a lot of money, yet not knowing any of their immediate neighbors, and visiting family during a few, sparse holidays.

And it's rationals who quietly build the world in cold, harsh steel after the Crisis decimation.

Earlier, when I was studying personality types, I noted Keirsey talking about society having a "type".  He talked about a Guradian society, and it made me wonder what society we lived in -- certainly I could guess the Summer of Love was Idealist.  With little thought, I realized that we were in the Artisan period -- quick to temper, impatient, self-indulgent.  That's the only one that makes sense.  [Keirsey says that, as a child psychologist, Artisans are his favorite type -- and the type with the most troubles...]

Even earlier, perhaps in high school, I had noted that it seemed like society itself was paralleling a human life: young and fresh in the 50's, idealistic and feeling immortal in the late 60's early 70's [adolescence, young adulthood], carreer and family oriented in the 80's [adulthood, mid-life]...  And I feared going on with those thoughts, because I wondered what came after old age...

Really, I had actually had these thoughts long, long ago.  My main flaw was that I didn't consider what came before this century.  I had no grandparents to hear stories from.  I'd only known my parents, and my father not well at all.  The earliest stories I'd heard were of the Depression, and the Depression is vivid and alive to me.  The First World War is not at all vivid.  So the idea that we had only just been "born" was because I figured we'd never had such industry before -- machines and mass-production.  It was an age no one had seen ever before, [never did I consider that finding America, declaring independence, and other major events had also been things never seen before in history...] so I unconsciously thought it began, basically, when my mother was born...I can see how easy it is for our human race to forget the saeculum.

So I was ripe for believing this prophacy. now what?  What did the people who best survived the last Crises do that made the differenec in their survival?  I'm becoming terrified of investing in the stock market -- it's even more volitile then before the Depression...  Gold?  Bonds?  Land?  How to I stock the pantry, preserve the harvest, dry the meat?

I wonder what would happen in a society that anticipated the saecula -- would they rebel and throw it into chaos? or plan and flow with it, planting and harvesting like our farmer ancesters did...?  I wonder...

Also, I've been saying for years that our society is much like the German people when Hitler came into power -- we easily give up our freedoms and trust the power of the police.  "I'm safe because I have done nothing wrong."  The drug war is not all that unlike gathering Jews [far milder, of course, but the similarities are there.]  We are sheep right now.  I could also see the Crisis being a really horrible thing like that...

I also realized that homophobia is probably at its worst during a Crisis and High...  I really hope not this time around...but with so many anti-gay-marriage laws being passed...I fear it will be true.  [Gay rights may be what is gained in the next Awakening, much like black rights in the 60's...]

And lastly, I partly hope that the Outcome of the world unity.

Okay, enough for now.  Discuss. :)