Guest host John B. Wells (email) welcomed historian and speaker Neil Howe, who discussed his work on generations, as well as the twenty year cycle of crisis now facing the U.S.
He identified different types of generations that tend to repeat in the same order, shaping American history. Each generation turns a corner, correcting and compensating for the previous generation, he said.
# Howe described the currently living generations and some of their traits: GI Generation-- "straight arrows," the heroes of WWII, regarded as good kids, the first "senior citizens"
# Silent Generation (born between 1925-1942)-- Working within the system, heavily insured, "the fortunate generation"
# Boomers (born 1943-1960)-- self sufficient, individualistic, culturally oriented, rebelling against conformity
# Generation X (born 1961-1981)-- raised as free agents, hard to commit, don't trust the system, productive
# Millennials (born 1982 & after)? over protected, team-oriented, confident, social
Society also goes through four repeated cycles or "turnings," that each last for around twenty years, Howe outllined. Currently we are about to enter the "fourth turning," a time of crisis and upheaval. While this period can be destructive, new solutions that lead to a better world are also possible.