Sunday, March 2, 2014

Generational Dynamics for Historians

A book available at:

One interesting thing is the list of four generational achetypes:

1.  Hero Generation ("Greatest Generation" born from 1901 to 1924).  These are the fighters in the war.
2.  Artist Generation ("Silent Generation" born from 1925 to 1942). "An Artist (or Adaptive) generation is born during a Crisis, spends its rising adult years in a new High, spends midlife in an Awakening, and spends old age in an Unraveling".  The Silent Generation was those who fought during the Korean War.  I'm not sure why they were called Artists, maybe Adaptive is better term.
3.  Prophet Generation ("Baby Boomers" born from 1943 to 1961). "Arrogant, narcissistic and sure of themselves, they dominate society through the Unraveling period, when nothing, including the nation as a whole, is as important as the individual. Once the indecisive Artists retire, the Prophets' arrogance and rage against their now-deceased parents turns to indignation and rage against their Hero parents' old enemies in the last crisis war. With all the old compromises unraveled, the Prophets lead the nation into a new crisis war."
4. Nomad Generation ("Generation X" born from 1962 to 1981). "These kids grow up during the social turmoil of the Awakening period, and become angry, disaffected youth. Throughout Anglo-American history, the Nomads have been shown to have the highest crime rate. They spend their lives in the shadow of the powerful Prophet generation. The Prophets excoriate the disaffected Nomads, and the Nomads return the favor by hating the older Prophets. And the Nomads end up being more powerful than the Prophets during the next crisis war, because although Prophets provide the vision, Nomads pick and choose among the Prophets and decide which of their visions to implement."

The Lost Generation (born from 1883 to 1900), fought in WWI.
Generation Y (born from 1982 to 2001) are the new Heroes under this theory.

So the Nomads start the wars based on the vision of the Prophets, the Heroes fight them, the Adaptives are tramautized but reap the benefits of the peace, the Prophets rebel against their forbears, and the Nomads start a new war.

Presidents Nixon (born in 1913), Ford (born in 1913), Carter (born in 1924), President Reagan (born in 1911) and Pres. Bush Sr (born in 1924) were part of the Greatest Generation.  The Silent Generation was skipped.  Presidents Clinton (1946), Dubya Bush (1946) and Obama (1961) are all Boomers.

A comparison of the Lost Generation and Generation X.  In the "Great War", as it was called before WW2, there were many upper-class casualties in Britain, robbing the country of a future elite.  In the US, there weren't as many deaths, but many soldiers suffered from "shell shock", (which today would be called PTSD), which scarred them for life. ("Something was wrong. They put on civilian clothes again and looked to their mothers and wives very much like the young men who had gone to business in the peaceful days before August 1914. But they had not come back the same men. Something had altered in them. They were subject to sudden moods, and queer tempers, fits of profound depression alternating with a restless desire for pleasure. Many were easily moved to passion where they lost control of themselves, many were bitter in their speech, violent in opinion, frightening.").

Gen-Xers were those who hung out in malls ("slackers") before the malls were torn down.  They rebel without a reason, but the voice of their generation, Kurt Cobain, the lead singer of Nirvana, committed suicide.  Gen-Xers include Jason Mewes (the vocal half of "Jay and Silent Bob") and Pauly Shore.  They are typically over-educated and under-employed.  This was the first generation of men to earn less than their fathers. They resent the Boomers for their sense of entitlement to good jobs and Social Security (which won't be there for them).   They were hit hard by the dot-com bust and the subsequent housing crisis of 2007-2008.  They are lost in the sense that they don't feel secure in the current economic situation and don't have a vision for the future.

Update:  Here is another list.

Baby Boomers (1946-1964)
Generation X/Baby Bust (1965-1984)
Generation Y/Millenials/Echo Boom (1985-2004)
TBD (2005+)


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