The 2016 Presidential campaign for the Casablanca began at the end of WWII. At this juncture it is uncertain who gets on the plane. The letters of transit signed by de Gualle are the 2008 crash. The airport scene foreshadows our very Reality World Fourth Turning.
All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances
In their book The Fourth Turning, Howe and Strauss identified four generational archetypes: Hero, Artist, Prophet, and Nomad. Each consists of people born in a roughly 20-year period. As each archetypal generation reaches the end of its 80-year lifespan, the cycle repeats.
Each archetypal generation goes through the normal phases of life: childhood, young adulthood, mature adulthood, and old age. Each tends to dominate society during middle age (40–60 years old) then begins dying off as the next generation takes the helm.
This change of control from one generation to the next is called a “turning” in the Strauss/Howe scheme. The cycle repeats on a “fourth turning” as a new hero generation comes of age and replaces the nomads. Each fourth turning, however, is a great crisis.
Carl Jung had 12 archetypes with the four dominants named Mentor, Shadow, Hero and Trickster. These archetypes are illustrated in literature, art and movies.
Great Power Archetypes
|Third Great Awakening
(1886–1908)Eisenhower 1890Hitler 1889
|World War I & Prohibition
(1908–1929)JFK 1917Reagan 1911
H.W. Bush 1924
(1946–1964)George ‘W’ 1946Hillary 1947
Bill Clinton 1946
Xi Jinping 1953
(1964–1984)Michelle O 1964Obama 1961
|Long Boom & Culture Wars
(1984–2008)Zuckerberg 1984Priscilla Z 1985
|Global Financial Crisis
(2008–2029?)Maxima Chan 2015
Neil Howe’s Fourth Turning is an 80-year cycle of each generation participating in a four act drama. The play begins at the end of the last great crisis and proceeds through four stages of shared generational history to the climax of the next crisis. Act I: A High, this is a post-Crisis era. Act II: an Awakening. This is an era when institutions are attacked in the name of personal and spiritual autonomy. Act III: An Unraveling. The mood of this era is in many ways the opposite of a High: Institutions are weak and distrusted, while individualism is strong and flourishing. Act IV: A Crisis. This is an era in which institutional life is destroyed and rebuilt in response to a perceived threat to the nation’s survival.
The First Turning Act I A High starring the SHADOW & PROPHET Archetypes
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the Baby Boomer generation and Casablanca’s Major Strasser [after Laszlo leads the band in playing the French national anthem] You see what I mean? If Laszlo’s presence in a cafe can inspire this unfortunate demonstration, what more will his presence in Casablanca bring on? I advise that this place be shut up at once.
Neil Howe’s calls the First Turning, post crisis generational archetype the PROPHET. Jung’s term is called the SHADOW. Major Strassar and the Third Reich invasion of France provide the opening act of Casablanca.
The Second Turning Act II An Awakening starring the TRICKSTER & NOMAD Archetypes
Yoda, Generation X and Captain Louis Renault; “Round up the usual suspects,” are the Trickster/NOMAD archetypes that serve as catalysts.
Howe labels the archetype in Act II The Awakening, the NOMAD generation, in Jungian terms the TRICKSTER. Captain Renault, the Trickster character in Casablanca, plays both ends against the middle
The Third Turning Act III The Unraveling starring the HERO
According to Strauss and Howe, the Third Turning is an Unraveling. The mood of this era is in many ways the opposite of a High: Institutions are weak and distrusted, while individualism is strong and flourishing. Highs come after Crises, when society wants to coalesce and build. Unravelings come after Awakenings, when society wants to atomize and enjoy.
The HERO appears on the stage to save humanity. Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine, “the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.” is the real HERO in Casablanca. Walter White is the today’s anti-hero HERO, while the Millennial generation has displaced the WWII G.I. HEROES.
After the NOMAD archetype, the cycle repeats with another HERO generation: the Millennials (born from 1982 through about 2004) are beginning to take root in American culture. They are a large generation numerically, filling schools and colleges and propelling new technology into the mainstream. If the pattern holds, they will face a great crisis. It will influence the rest of their lives… just as World War II shaped the G.I. Generation heroes.
It’s not going to be a short period of difficulty. It will be an existential crisis, one in which society’s strongest institutions collapse (or are severely challenged and stressed) and national survival is in serious doubt. The Crisis can be economic, cultural, religious, military, or all the above.
The Fourth Turning Act IV A Crisis starring the MENTOR & ARTIST Archetypes
According to the authors, the Fourth Turning is a Crisis. This is an era in which institutional life is destroyed and rebuilt in response to a perceived threat to the nation’s survival. Civic authority revives, cultural expression redirects towards community purpose, and people begin to locate themselves as members of a larger group. America’s most recent completed Fourth Turning began with the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and climaxed with the end of World War II. The G.I. Generation (a Hero archetype, born 1901 to 1924) came of age during this era. Their confidence, optimism, and collective outlook epitomized the mood of the era. Bogart got Bergman on the plane, with the crisis over Blaine and Renault go off to join the Free French in Brazzaville.
The post crisis archetype is the ARTIST. Artists are the children of heroes, born before and during the crisis. They are, however, not old enough to be an active part of the solution. Highly protected during childhood, Artists are risk-averse young adults in the post-crisis years. They see conformity as the best path to success. They develop and refine the innovations forged in the crisis. Artists experience the same cultural awakening as heroes but from the perspective of mid-adulthood.
Today’s older retirees are mostly artists, part of the “Silent Generation” 1925-1942 that may remember World War II but were too young to participate. They married early and moved into gleaming new 1950s suburbs. The MENTOR: Mr. Miyagi and the Karate Kid. Noam Chomsky 1928 and Bernie Sanders 1941 in their generational role as ARTIST epitomize the MENTOR in real life. Ilsa Lund mentored Rick Blaine in the meaning of love.
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
PROPHET/Shadow Baby Boomers Trump 1946 Hillary 1947 and Bill 1946 got us into this mess that only HERO/Hero Millennials Priscilla Chan 1985 and Mark Zuckerberg 1984 can clean it up.
Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion;
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
Trickster Renault & Hero Blaine walking off to the next Crisis. Trickster Obama & Hero Zuckerberg walking into the coming Crisis.