Fourth Turning peace

Awakening eras, crisis eras, crisis wars, generational financial crashes, as applied to historical and current events
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Tom Mazanec
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Fourth Turning peace

Postby Tom Mazanec » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:30 pm

Is it possible to go through a Fourth Turning without a war? Has it ever happened? What does it look like?

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Re: Fourth Turning peace

Postby John » Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:32 am

Tom Mazanec wrote:> Is it possible to go through a Fourth Turning without a war? Has
> it ever happened? What does it look like?

With regard to the question of whether a Crisis era requires a crisis
war, I've looked at hundreds of these situations throughout history,
and I've reached some definite conclusions.

The First Turning Recovery Era (or "high") has very specific social
and behavioral characteristics that are vastly different from the
previous Crisis era. It takes enormous events to force an entire
population to change from Fourth Turning to First Turning social and
behavioral characteristics.

In order for a crisis to be powerful enough to bring about these
enormous social changes through the entire population, it has to have
a Regeneracy at the beginning of the crisis and a Climax at the end of
the crisis, with a Moral Deterioration in between:

  • Regeneracy: The Regeneracy has to be so serious that it creates
    civic unity for the first time since the end of the previous crisis.
    The Regeneracy unifies the entire country behind the leader.

    During the Obama administration, I used to get a furious response from
    conservatives by telling them that if there were a regeneracy event
    (such as a nuclear attack on America), they would be unified behind
    President Obama and would do everything to support him. I remember a
    couple of people saying that they would rather shoot Obama than
    support him in any way.

    Anyway, now I say the same kind of thing to liberals: If there were a
    regeneracy, then liberals would be unified behind Trump. I'm sure
    there are liberals who would say they would rather shoot and kill him
    (some are saying that already), but that's how serious a crisis has to
    be during a Crisis era. It has to be serious enough to cause
    vitriolic political differences to be put aside in order to preserve
    the nation or society and its way of life.
  • Moral Deterioration: During the crisis period from Regeneracy to
    Climax, typically 4-5 years, the population becomes increasingly
    desperate and impatient for a victory. If you remember 9/11, then
    imagine what it would be like to have a 9/11 attack every day for
    years (like the bombings of London in WW II). At the beginning of
    this period, the rules of war are observed and individual human lives
    are still valued. By the time the climax is reached, the only thing
    that matters is the survival of the country or society and its way of
    life. The value of an individual human life goes to zero, and any
    number of individuals are expendable. For all participants in the
    war, genocide and atrocities, particularly torture and rapes, become
    increasingly acceptable and excusable.
  • Climax: Finally, the crisis has to end with what I call an
    "explosive climax." This might be literally explosive, such as nuking
    Hiroshima. But more often it's a genocidal atrocity that's so
    horrific that both the perpetrators and victims spend the rest of
    their lives trying to prevent it from ever happening again.

It's the crisis climax causes the transition from the Crisis Era to
the Recovery Era. There are only two things that I know of that can
meet these requirements: A massive crisis war, and a massive forced

For those who believe that it's possible to prevent a crisis war: It's
completely impossible to do so.

To explain this better, let's take a side trip from geopolitics to
global finance. An analogy in the area of finance is the "Minsky
Moment." ... sis-2017-6

The explanation of a Minsky Moment is as follows: The authorities,
like the central bank and the regulators, do everything possible to
create an environment of economic growth and prosperity, and low
economic risk. The more successful the authorities are, and the
longer the periods of growth and prosperity are, the more money
investors borrow to make risky investments. In time, the growth in
debt and risky investments overwhelms the attempts by the authorities
to keep the economy safe. That's the "Minsky Moment." Instead of
just one bankruptcy, which the central banks can contain, there's a
massive chain reaction, where a bankruptcy of one firm triggers
bankruptcies among its bondholders, stockholders and investors,
resulting at bankruptcies at other firms. At that point, there's a
massive chain reaction of bankruptcies that the central banks can't
handle. The chain reactions can last for years as they did from

In summary, the more successful the government is in temporarily
preventing a financial crash, the bigger the crash is when it comes.

Returning to geopolitics, there's an analogy to the Minsky moment. We
have the United Nations, Nato, the International Criminal Court, and
all sorts of other things to reduce the risk of war, but the more
successful these efforts are to prevent war, the more risky things
people do. We see this with Russia in Crimea, China in the South
China Sea and with North Korea's nuclear weapons development. We're
seeing a kind of "chain reaction" in geopolitical threats. The United
Nations Security Council has already become completely worthless in
trying to contain them. The United States, as policeman of the world,
is still only marginally successful in containing them, although
Donald Trump seems to be aware of the problem and is trying to stop
the chain reaction through new techniques (such as "locked and loaded"

Nonetheless, just as the central banks can't contain the financial
chain reaction, the UN and US can't contain the geopolitical chain
reaction that's going on now.

If a country does not have a crisis war during its Fourth Turning
Crisis era, that doesn't mean that a crisis (crisis war) has been
avoided, and it doesn't mean that the country transitions into a First
Turning Recovery era anyway (since there's nothing to recover from).
It simply means that the crisis (crisis war) has been postponed, and
the country enters a distinctly different Fifth Turning, like Mexico,
Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Russia. But sooner or later, the
crisis war arrives, and cannot be prevented.

In summary, the more successful the government is in temporarily
preventing a crisis war, the bigger the crisis war is when it comes.

The following is a Generational Diagonal Flow diagram from 2004 that
describes the transitions through the four turnings:


The shading indicates that during the crisis era, all generations are
unified behind the leader, and there are no serious differences
between the generations. Starting with the Recovery (Austerity) era,
new generations come of age that are distinctly different from the
unified generations of the crisis war.

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Re: Fourth Turning peace

Postby Brendan » Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:44 pm

very insightful post and really good analogy to finance!

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Re: Fourth Turning peace

Postby John » Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:37 pm

Brendan wrote:very insightful post and really good analogy to finance!


Coordinated fires
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Re: Fourth Turning peace

Postby Coordinated fires » Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:31 pm

This has shed good light on the operative mechanisms of how this works. The crisis period simply goes on, it must go on, and can only end precisely when it's reached it's lowest point. Therefore, in the long term, cataclysmic war is unavoidable.
Politics is war by other means

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Re: Fourth Turning peace

Postby Brendan » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:48 pm

I have been thinking a lot about human behavior recently. I think one new insight I have gained (not ground breaking here but I think I have just been able to see it in a more general context) is that there are two basic mechanisms that motivate human or any systems behavior pain and pleasure. The details of how individuals or systems experience this is irrelevant. What it amounts to is positive and negative feedback. What is important to note for humans is that it has been well established that pain or negative feedback is is more heavily weighted than positive ones. In other words pain is a more powerful motivator than pleasure. There have been numerous studies to support this. Now lets extend this. Because humans are intelligent and have a capacity for prediction (albeit flawed and limited) they have an idea of being able to predict whether certain things will bring them pleasure or pain. We call this fear and (love?). It seems like pleasure seems more nuanced to humans and so there are more words to describe it. This can be seen between pleasure (eating, sex, etc.) and satisfaction (achievement of long term goals). These concepts hold true in aggregate (groups of people, governments, tribes, etc.) meaning groups are also biased to avoid pain over achieving pleasure. This is the quintessential point Machiavelli made when he said if you have to choose it is better to be feared than loved (pain is a more powerful motivator than pleasure). I'm not terribly familiar with systems theory but from wikipedia we have this about negative feedback and positive feedback:

Whereas positive feedback tends to lead to instability via exponential growth, oscillation or chaotic behavior, negative feedback generally promotes stability. Negative feedback tends to promote a settling to equilibrium, and reduces the effects of perturbations. Negative feedback loops in which just the right amount of correction is applied with optimum timing can be very stable, accurate, and responsive.

I think there is a lot more to probe on this topic but essentially what is happening is that we see these systems (civilizations, governments, etc.) start to lack negative feedback (pain & fear). They become instable because negative feedback gets delayed and so consumption and pleasure proliferates until the entire system becomes completely unstable, loses trust and authority, and falls apart.

Side note: Again more to be probed but this is likely a reason why a democratic republic is much more stable than many other forms of government. The ruling class is more dynamic and if it does become stagnant and corrupt (like we are seeing in America) the rules of the system allow them to be put in pain (lose power and status). This negative (and positive) feedback mechanism makes it far less likely that the government become so corrupt as to reach a "point of no return".

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Re: Fourth Turning peace

Postby Brendan » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:58 pm

Another addition I forgot to include:

On being feared over being loved: It is important to note that what he is saying is that fear creates order. This is a constant of human behavior. And so civilizations are able to grow as the means of perpetuating fear expands. This is primarily achieved through the lever arm of technology. What created order after WWII was largely (among other things) the nuke. This is what allowed America to establish the global world order that it did and become the "policeman" of it. This order has come undone because other countries have nukes and they know the U.S. is likely not going to use them and can't control all of the threats. The disorder and unraveling of power is a result of the lack of fear on a global level. Something like a WWIII is required to reinstate order by means of fear. The tool that will likely achieve this is AI (as discussed before by John). Also like John has alluded to the world order that will be created after the war will be greater and farther reaching than after WWII. But all human created order is bound to decay into an instable state, perhaps AI will change this. This is also why the prophet generation (i.e. Boomers) are the ones that end up starting the war because they are the first generation with no first had experience of the pain that was endured and thus no fear.... Thats all for now

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Re: Fourth Turning peace

Postby Brendan » Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:13 pm

Note that the boomers motto: Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll (in some sense rebellion) are all about pleasure and individuality what is conspicuously missing from this is fear because of the safe world order that was given to them. For some reason I highly doubt the Millennial motto will be in vein. It will be probably pain, sacrifice, and community.

We also see that as Bannon has alluded to in the past that religion is at its lowest when there is a lack of fear. What drives people to churches is primarily fear. Where we see strong churches and communities there is very likely an implicit fearful undercurrent that is pushing them together (note it is not humans "natural" state to be in such large groups of people). Thats why I think we will see a rebound in religious activity moving forward. Religion has been referred to as "the opiate of the masses" but I think that largely misses the point of human nature. Human nature first and foremost seeks to avoid pain and to move towards pleasure (in that order). A lot of religion works because it projects pain and pleasure beyond this life (heaven and hell). What drives religion is fear. It is more aptly the "fear of the masses" or "putting the fear of god in them" than any kind of opiate.

So the question arises: Can humans live without fear? Absolutely not. We know from systems theory that as stated above any system without negative feedback becomes instable. This is probably why we can't see large numbers of humans working together on a "civilizational" scale without seeing religion. There needs to be some implicit fear as an undercurrent to create that order. Without it humanity would likely devolve into its more stable state of tribes of ~100 people. I think the implication of this may be that in order to create one unified world order beyond having some common language there would also need to be a common religion more or less agreed on by everyone. Perhaps one dominant existing religion and language (Christianity and English) become dominant and different flavors and dialects emerge based on different subcultures. Until then I don't think that there could ever really be a stable "global order". I also imagine there is some connection here between monotheism and the size of civilizations. Not sure if one all powerful god is more freighting as a bunch of fighting deities. Something to potentially examine further.

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Re: Fourth Turning peace

Postby Brendan » Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:25 pm

I think the better able a civilization is able to inject the correct type of pain on a regular basis the more stable the civilization will be. It is a careful balance though to keep just enough fear/pain to keep the system stable but not so much as to crush any progress. This is probably one (of multiple) reasons that capitalism works so well. Reality is the final arbiter of what constitutes "good" and "bad". Perhaps maybe the civilizations shouldn't try to determine how pain should be distributed but rather help expedite the process so the time from action and response becomes shorter and thus people don't have to deal with pain wholesale but quickly and constantly. This seems to result in less pain in the aggregate because as John alluded to the longer you go without that feedback the greater the amount of pain experienced will be.

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Re: Fourth Turning peace

Postby Alosito79 » Fri May 17, 2019 1:21 pm

So my question is suppose a crisis war in this era is delayed or avoided and we enter a Fifth Turning by 2030 with young adult artists. So how would a crisis war look then?

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