Saturday, June 6, 2015


The more things change the more they stay the same. We're talkin' about humans here, clever apes.

This one I picked up on the internet but I have a credit.

No Society is Static – The Seasons of Civilization by John McDonald

Patterns rule the world around us, recognizing these is part of what allows humanity to master science & nature.  One set of patterns we’ve been slow to recognize are the ones that guide our own behavior as a society.
If history proves anything, it is that no civilization, state, or community can remain static indefinitely. What is particularly interesting to me as a student of history and government, is exactly how predictable this cycle of civilization is and how regularly it unfolds across the span of a human life. 

The Seasons of Society

Each season lasts about 20 years – exact duration depends on factors like war, climate, and technological advancement.  The general structure of the cycle stays strangely consistent. One full revolution is roughly equal to 80 years or slightly longer than an average lifespan.
High (Spring:  1945-1966) -
A society reaches a high in the decades after a crisis is completely resolved. Institutions are new and recently designed to cope ultra modern concerns.  Government works like it is supposed to.  Wealth is growing but the memories of recent financial crises cause people to invest conservatively and look down on excessive materialism.  If a society fails to solve the issues that caused the prior crisis, the high can instead be an “Austerity” with widespread poverty and especially hard work left to be done.

Social Awakening (Summer:  1966-1982)
  Wealth and relative stability allow a greater exploration of spirituality, artistic expression, and philosophy.  While a vocal minority may find faults in “the system,” that system is still providing enough prosperity that few if any structural changes go through.  In America’s history, social Awakenings are led by young Prophet generations & these periods coincide with the “Great Awakenings” (powerful religious revivals.)  The last American Awakening was somewhat unique in the amount of attention hippies brought to liberal and secular values.

Unraveling (Autumn:  1913-1929, 1982-2005)
  In an unraveling, prosperity gives way to corruption.  Institutions begin to show signs of irrelevancy and an inability to solve newer problems, spiritual progress falls victim to dogmatism, witch hunts, and culture wars.  Serious financial problems tend to go unaddressed, but much distortion of reality is done to boost confidence in a failing system.   In the roaring 20s and high-speed 90s, the rich got richer while the poor had enough access to credit that they could feel rich, too.

Crisis (Winter:  1929-1945, 2008?-2025?)
  When the institutions have failed repeatedly to protect society from new threats, the illusions of stability and prosperity ultimately collapse and usher in an era of prolonged crisis.  Debt comes due and economies can suddenly spiral out of control.  In America, these phases of crisis have resulted in a Revolution, a Civil War, a New Deal, and our incredible response to World War II.  While the period is marked by a lack of material wealth and stability, they are also times of rapid change and progress toward establishing institutions capable of resolving modern threats & injustices.

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