…today’s secret…The common good erosion.
“Willie, no details today, just a big picture.”
“OK, but today’s secret is a long’un, but a good’un.”
Our society changes every forty years. Like clockwork.
Our society is one way for forty years and then another way for the next forty years. And then we switch back to the other cycle. Forty years. Switch to the other cycle. Forty years. Switch to the other cycle. Forty years. Switch. Forty. Switch. Forty. Switch…
These two cycles have switched like this since biblical times. And, unless you are paying attention, you won’t really notice.
These two cycles are powered by two different groups of people, called generations. Each generation has its own unique personality and worldview.
Throughout time there have been only two basic generations and two basic worldviews.
One generation/worldview focuses on us as individuals. We are unique. Special. We possess unlimited potential. Personal liberty is our dream. Think Lone Ranger. “I came. I saw. I conquered.”
The other generation/worldview focuses on the group, tribe, or team. Two heads are better than one. Two people shorten the road. The common good is our dream. Think Three Musketeers, one for all and all for one. “I came. I saw. I concurred.”
Regardless of the year, decade, century, ancient or modern, one generation/worldview dominates its forty- year period. The other generation follows until it takes over.
Important here. One worldview is not better than the other. One is not wrong and the other right. One is not politically right and the other politically left. They just are what they are.
Remember, sociology is the study of the beliefs and motives of people groups. Psychology is the study of the beliefs and motives of the individual.
Masses of people are predictable, but an individual is not. Neitzsche wrote, “Madness is rare in individuals, but in groups, states, and societies, it’s the norm.”
The individual Lone Ranger world view dominated the forty years between 1963 and 2003. The Three Musketeer world view took over in 2003 and will dominate until 2043 when the Lone Ranger once again rides into town. Personally, I won’t be paying much attention by then.
We have been in the Three Musketeer ‘common good’ worldview now for almost twenty years. Again, mostly unrecognized by most.
For the last twenty years society’s predominant belief has been our need to conform to the common good. Our reason for existence has been to strengthen society’s sense of purpose-together. Our focus has been to solve problems-together. We make this world better-together.
Get it? If not, think Climate Change. Think globalization. Think Prohibition in the 1920s. Think Founding Fathers. Think Glorious Revolution. United Nations. NATO. Together. Together. Together.
Unfortunately, the problem with each generation/worldview is that their beautiful dream turns into a nightmare about twenty years into their forty-year cycle. Each generation takes its worldview dream too far. It always happens and it’s not always pretty.
About 2013 our Three Musketeer mentality started to turn nightmarish. It started slow and has picked up speed each year. We’re now rolling pretty fast.
We have stopped fighting for the common good and are just fighting. Bullying, which was once relegated to hallways and playgrounds, now permeate the culture. Topics once unimagineable are now open discussions.
We are in a self-righteous gang mentality mode, out-of-balance, and our country is suffering from it. Do you hear anyone saying things like this…?
“We are the good and righteous defenders of truth and beauty against those sinister souls intent on destroying our way of life. We’re OK. You’re not. We are right. You’re wrong. You’re evil. We’re not. You need to get in line here.”
Note: There are still voices calling for us to rally around the common good. However, they will become a whisper over time.
Why am I depressing you like this?
For one reason I think it’s better to know this than not.
And second, I don’t want you to panic about our erosion of the common good. Falling apart twenty years into a Three Musketeer historical cycle is not new. It happens about sixty years into an eighty-year cycle. We’re there.
Solomon was right, “what has been will be again.”
Transpose what our current society is going through over history’s timeline and you’ll see we’ve seen this movie before.
Look at the years leading up to our major wars – WWII – Civil War – Revolutionary War – French and Indian War. You need only to look at how we have sometimes treated our fellow humans – McCarthy’s red scare – internment camps – Holocaust – guillotine – witch burning, etc.
All of these happened pretty much on the schedule we are on now. Some argue the Civil War was a few years early. Go figure.
The good news is that we have always recovered from our nightmarish adversity. If you squint really hard you can see some Lone Ranger light in the distance. Yes, it’s really really really faint now. Will be much clearer by 2033.
So yes, these are tumultuous times. And, things can get worse. Probably will.
One more small tidbit of information.
It would be nice if every country had the same generational worldview at the same time. Not so.
While Western Society is half-way in the Three Musketeer ‘common good’ cycle, Asia, China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea are in the Lone-Ranger ‘be all you can be’ cycle. You need only to look at Putin and XI.
Could this possibly affect any of our foreign policy decisions? Dunno.
And how do our chaotic times affect the marginalized people you are helping? Think of them as being tossed in a washing machine inside a washing machine inside a washing machine.
No wonder your mission seems impossible these days.