Why are we so divided - part 1
Have you noticed how people seem to be getting even more divided than they were in the past?
Don’t worry this isn’t a political post, it’s a historical one. (However, I think any Republican, Democrat or Independent at this point would agree that the US seems more divided than it has at least in most of our lifetimes. )
Actually, if you agree with historical theorists, Strauss and Howe’s, (who originated the concept of theory of Generational cycles) research then you are not surprised at all. I have read both of their books, Generations, and The Fourth Turning, and while both books freak me out, I find their research undeniably true and in line with much of my own research.
The Fourth Turning was written in 1997 and in it they address what could happen in the future after the book went to press. Don’t believe it's freaky?? See direct quotes from the book below and think about what has happened in the past 20ish years:
"Around the year 2005, a sudden spark will catalyze a Crisis mood. Remnants of the old social order will disintegrate. (As a point of reference 9/11 happened in 2001, and the Great Recession is considered as starting in Dec of 2007.)
Political and economic trust will implode.
Real hardship will beset the land, with severe distress that could involve questions of class, race, & nation.
This time of trouble will bring seeds of social rebirth.
The very survival of the nation will feel at stake.
Every Fourth Turning has registered an upward ratchet in the technology of destruction, and in mankind's willingness to use it.
Americans will also enter the Fourth Turning with a unique opportunity to achieve a new greatness as a people. As the old civic order gives way, Americans will have to craft a new one. This will require a values consensus and, to administer it, the empowerment of a strong new political regime.
If all goes well, there could be a renaissance of civic trust, and more. America could become a society that is good, by today's standards, and also one that works.
The book itself is kind of scary in this way, but all they’re doing is tracing the historical patterns of Anglo-Saxon cultures and making educated guesses. According to Strauss and Howe it’s approximately 80-100 years between “re-sets”. Approximately a life time. So those talking about the good ole days MIGHT have actually had the good ole days after all (depending on what you consider “good”).
The point that I want to emphasize about Strauss and Howe is their ability to prove the cycle of generational norms for thousands of years. As in this is NOT RANDOM FOLKS! Essentially ,what we can see is that some event happens that catalyzes a culture to become collectivistic (we’re all on the same team to support the same thing) and then we become more and more individualistic over time as we get further away from the catalyst event (if it doesn’t affect me it doesn’t matter, if it does affect me it matters a lot.)
Think, for example, where your views lay on healthcare. Most people don’t seem think much about it unless they don’t have it or CAN’T access it due to a prior condition, OR they have a family member/friend who doesn’t have/can’t access health care. When this occurs, the individual begins to care about it and research the information in more depth to be able to understand where and why politicians stand on the issue. The passion ignites on a topic when it touches your experience.
Does your office FEEL divided on certain topics directly down generational lines? Could it be that different topics at work TOUCH THEIR EXPERIENCE DIFFERENTLY? Our next email will talk to you about some of these differences and WHY they exist, but we want you to know that you’re NOT imagining this… People are more divided and their generational perspective IS a part of this.
Stay tuned for part 2 coming soon!