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Thread: Objections to Generational Dynamics - Page 39







Post#951 at 12-05-2005 08:29 PM by Bob Butler 54 [at Cove Hold, Carver, MA joined Jul 2001 #posts 6,431]
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Not Just Cycles

Quote Originally Posted by John J. Xenakis
6. The most successful sub-species will have crisis wars during the
period of peak genocidal power.

This is still speculative, but it would be very useful to rigorously
ascertain this minimum set of axioms. The reason why it would be
very useful is because of the following assertion, which I believe to
be true but can't prove except by a great deal of historical
analysis:

If some "attribute of turning X" is not among the minimum set of
axioms required to force the generational crisis war cycle, then it
will not be a necessary attribute for human turnings.


In other words, S&H examined six crisis war cycles, and came up with
a set of common attributes for each of the turnings in the cycles.
Question: Which of those attributes are required, and which are
optional? Answer: The set of required attributes is exactly equal to
the minimum set of axioms required to force the generational crisis
war cycle, or anything that can be logically derived from those
axioms.

I'm very excited about this stuff because I think it will validate
the entire generational paradigm, including both S&H's work and my
own, to academic standards. The only question is whether bird flu or
something else will get me before I have a chance to finish it. I'm
thinking of changing the title of my new book to Generational
Dynamics for Historians and Mathematicians
. What do you think?
You seem to be focusing in on the Crisis War, competition and evolution as your key assumptions. In many way, I think you are correct. You are going for the nub of it. Consider the following to be poke-around-the-edges stuff. The following points might not be used to disprove where you are going, but to complement the theory in predicting where Crisis Wars do not occur, and thus where cycles do not manifest.

In nature, violent conflict among breeding groups is not the norm. When two packs contest for territory, the conflict is often resolved through ritual dominance displays rather than through fatal conflict. Among species where males compete for breeding opportunities, ritual non-lethal conflict is also common. Horns often evolve not to kill rivals, but to determine a winner in a non-lethal ritual conflict.

Evolution in nature is best served by non lethal competition among species. Evolution takes place at several levels. The best individual passes on genes, as does the best breeding group, as well as the best species. While lethal competition might produce the best individual the most quickly, such violence weakens the breeding group and the species. Thus, social instincts tend to evolve to moderate violence.

There are also factors of territory and population density. In general, conflict among animal groups are not clearly cyclical. A breeding group might have a given amount of territory. So long as the population of the breeding group is more or less stable, and there is no pressure reducing the territory from adjoining groups, conflicts are minimal. A time of plenty, of surplus, when more cubs survive, increases the chance of conflict. A famine, a disease, reduces population and thus the chance of conflict. For a cycle to develop, a steady state situation with a surplus seems required. In nature, you might want to do a little digging to determine how often such a situation would exist. My guess is that a regular pattern of lethal conflict between members of the same species would not be a large win for the species. It might be a survival trait to have fewer cubs, rather than have a pattern of extreme violence.

Switching to the special case human species...

You seem to have an implied assumption that if a culture has sufficient soldiers, a crisis war will be fought. This was not an unreasonable assumption prior to World War II and nuclear weapons. The assumption may yet prove to be true. Thing is, humans have evolving memes as well as evolving genes. If it becomes obvious that conflict between major powers does not benefit the major powers, a cycle theory based on an assumption that if soldiers then wars might break down.

Also, in the past, not all territories are worth fighting for. In many areas of the globe, there were not surpluses. Thus, it was hard to field a large warrior class. Thus, no population pressure. Thus, warlords who thought conquest was neat tended to get bred out of the population. Thus, no crisis war, no cycles. When studying history, it is easy to get drawn into the big countries and major wars. This might draw you into areas where there is generally a surplus, and thus warrior cultures are the norm. Still, the norm is not universal. Touching bases with cultures away from the cradles of civilization where surpluses were first developed might give you 'control' populations with no cycles. You might compare and contrast these with the surplus producing war zones.

You might dig into population dynamics. During a given era and area, how much of the population could be diverted to warfare? How did advances in agriculture increase surpluses, making warriors more cost effective, resulting in warrior cultures? Did antibiotics or other population increasing technologies effect or trigger cycles of violence? The desire to avoid major wars immediately after one was just fought is an admirable anchor to start a theory of warfare on, but World War I and II occurred closely enough together to suppose this is a universal law. You might look into agricultural, population, cultural and economic factors as well. Simplicity is nice in a theory, but not if the subject isn't simple.

On a more abstract level, yes, Strauss and Howe identified a good many patterns which are more or less true in the series of Anglo-American cycles. It does not follow that all of these patterns will be found in each and every cycle. I think you are correct that the crisis war is a key element that will be found in many crises, and that other elements S&H identified will not always be present.

But don't assume that because certain elements (such as crises wars) are common, there can't be cycles which don't feature these common elements. While most cycles might feature certain easily seen traits, and these easy to observe and understand cycles might be the best cycles to study first, leave room for other effects -- some cyclical, some not -- to be studied at some future time.

OK. I'm rambling. Go with it. I am into cycle theory, but don't think the factors that create cycles are necessarily always dominant. A deeper look at history would have to dig into other aspects.

Bob







Post#952 at 12-05-2005 09:55 PM by clark [at joined Aug 2005 #posts 20]
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Quote Originally Posted by John J. Xenakis
Dear Clark,

Quote Originally Posted by Clark
> 90 years is a multiple of the Saros cycle, which is an
> astronomical eclipse cycle. As is 72 years, which I seem to recall
> has been discussed in other places on this site.
When I said that, "The only way you could get a cycle length exactly
the same each time is to tie it to an astronomical event...," I didn't
mean that you could simply go out and find a random astronomical event
with the cycle length you're interested in, and then that would be all
that was needed.

In fact, the reason I said that was actually as an argument for why
you shouldn't count on any sort of fixed cycle lengths.

If you want to attach an astronomical event to some economic cycle,
you'd have to show some real relationship for credibility. For
example, since the Saros cycle has to do with obscure moon orbits,
perhaps there's a way to argue that the Saros cycle is physically
tied into el niņo, and that connection might affect economic cycles.
John,

I'll answer this part first and then get to the rest of your reply. I've found it works better to incorporate cycles (or perceived cycles) that may not have a fundamental cause into a model than to ignore them. The other approach would be to discard the cycle from the model but to look for evidence that it is repeating. For example, one could make the assumption that there is not an 89 or 90 year cycle, but look back 89 or 90 years to see if there is any fundamental resemblance. If the thesis is that the cycle is agriculturally based, fundamental relationships in that area could be studied. I didn't think of this previously, but there is a cycle called the Benner Cycle that I believe is an agriculturally based cycle that repeats on 16, 18, and 20 year intervals. So if one were to take the series 20, 16, 18, 20, and 16 that would add up to 90 years. Other permutations would range from 88-92 years.







Post#953 at 12-05-2005 10:52 PM by Mikebert [at Kalamazoo MI joined Jul 2001 #posts 4,501]
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John,

Here's what I understand about your model. Wars appear at random intervals and have random intensities. If the intensity is above a certain threshold, that war will become a special kind of war, a crisis war. THis threshold is proportional to the number of veterans from the last crisis war who are stilll around and can attest to the horrors of a crisis war.

Thus for a decade or two after a crisis war there are many survivors form the war, and the threshold is high, so high no random war can surmount it and no conflict at this time can develop into a crisis war. As an illustration of this, we see Iraq with high intensity urban conflict specifically intended to ignite a crise war, that so far hasn't done so. The GD explanation is the theshold is simply too high because far to many survivors of the Iran-Iraq war are still around.

As time goes on the threshold diminishes to the point where just about any sizable war that pops up will become a crisis war. Unless one assumes that major wars are spacing at highly variable intervals, a crisiswar should show up right around the time the threshold is gone or ca. 60 years after the last crisis war, give or take 10 years. If wars are spaced at highly variable intervals (say plus or minus 30 years), then this feature will drown out the impact of GD and crisis wars will look randomly spaced.







Post#954 at 12-05-2005 11:25 PM by clark [at joined Aug 2005 #posts 20]
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Quote Originally Posted by John J. Xenakis
Dear Clark,


Quote Originally Posted by Clark
> I look at the Industrial/Information Age worldview cycle
> fundamentally as an energy fractal. It has a technological overlay
> that distributes the energy to produce output, which is indirectly
> (and incorrectly) expressed in the financial aggregates. The
> concept of energy intensity attempts to quantify the relationship
> between energy and output. The development of the fractal is
> influenced by fundamentally driven cycles that are incorporated
> into the fractal.
I have no idea what energy fractal you're talking about. A fractal
is a structure that's similar to itself at different magnifications.
How does that relate to what you're talking about?
I'd like to take this up as a separate subject because it pertains to one of my initial objections to what you present on your website. Your website presents a graph of the stock average over the last 120 years with a regression line drawn through it and makes the conclusion that the stock average will revert back to the regression line. My comment was that the 3.5% or so economic growth rate over the last 120 years that underpinned the growth in the stock averages is significantly higher than the 1% or so economic growth rate over the last 2000 years. I then did some rough calculations that showed how I got to 1% and stated something to the effect that your assumption would not be valid if there was a reversion to long term growth rates and left it at that. The price structure that you present is a fractal. I don't know if you dispute that assumption but if you do, we can talk about that. As I stated before, economic growth, (incorrectly) represented by GDP growth as a proxy, correlates with the growth in the stock averages. GDP growth is comprised of growth in energy usage (approximately 2% per year) plus improvements in energy intensity (approximately 1.5% per year). Energy intensity is defined as the energy input in BTUs per dollar of GDP output. Therefore, the conclusions you make based on your graph implicitly assume that energy will not be a limiting factor in economic growth.







Post#955 at 12-06-2005 10:24 AM by The Grey Badger [at Albuquerque, NM joined Sep 2001 #posts 8,876]
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Bred out?

Bob said "Also, in the past, not all territories are worth fighting for. In many areas of the globe, there were not surpluses. Thus, it was hard to field a large warrior class. Thus, no population pressure. Thus, warlords who thought conquest was neat tended to get bred out of the population. "

Didn't they discover that 20% of the Y-chromosomes in Mongolia go back to a common ancestor at the time of Genghis Khan? And that these people were very likely *descendants* of Genghis Khan?

Note: in many cultures, warlords have had harems.







Post#956 at 12-06-2005 10:48 AM by Virgil K. Saari [at '49er, north of the Mesabi Mountains joined Jun 2001 #posts 7,835]
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Is Bill?

Quote Originally Posted by Idiot Girl
Bob said "Also, in the past, not all territories are worth fighting for. In many areas of the globe, there were not surpluses. Thus, it was hard to field a large warrior class. Thus, no population pressure. Thus, warlords who thought conquest was neat tended to get bred out of the population. "

Didn't they discover that 20% of the Y-chromosomes in Mongolia go back to a common ancestor at the time of Genghis Khan? And that these people were very likely *descendants* of Genghis Khan?

Note: in many cultures, warlords have had harems.
Is the S.W.O.T.E.'s spouse a warlord?







Post#957 at 12-06-2005 01:12 PM by Croakmore [at The hazardous reefs of Silentium joined Nov 2001 #posts 2,426]
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Quote Originally Posted by John J. Xenakis
...
I look at the GD generational model in two layers. The basic layer
looks at crisis wars - nothing else - so the following kind of
diagram suffices:


...
I'm very excited about this stuff because I think it will validate
the entire generational paradigm, including both S&H's work and my
own, to academic standards. The only question is whether bird flu or
something else will get me before I have a chance to finish it. I'm
thinking of changing the title of my new book to Generational
Dynamics for Historians and Mathematicians
. What do you think?
John, once again I commend you for your explorations. I think most of what you write is worth reading. To me, however, you seem to prefer the baroque approach to modeling, while I prefer models that have suffered the pain of Occam's Razor.

Now, I was tempted to go get a Rube Goldberg cartoon off the Internet and post it below your complicated crisis diagram, but I know that that would have offended you. I'm not out to offend you, only to find the bones of your model beneath its feathers and fat tissue. In this respect, is it possible for you to reduce your model to its fundamental principles and assumptions: 1,2,3...? Layers? What are they? Are they hierarchical or dimensional? What are your mathematical vectors and attractors? Are they aspects of true mathematical systems? Or are they instead statistical? There is a fundamental difference between the two, although I know you dissagree(!). That's too bad, because mathematicians will want that distinction. Perhaps, you should change your title to: Generational Dynamics for Historians and Statisticians."

And I know how much you won't value this advice, although it is offered cheerfully.

--Croak







Post#958 at 12-06-2005 02:39 PM by clark [at joined Aug 2005 #posts 20]
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John,

Here is my response to the part of your reply that I didn't get to yesterday.

Quote Originally Posted by John J. Xenakis
Dear Clark,


Quote Originally Posted by Clark
> To add to what I said yesterday, if a fundamentally driven cycle
> is repeatable and has a fixed average length, then a normal
> distribution of outcomes would be expected for the aggregate. For
> the individual cycle, though, the outcomes are not normally
> distributed but seem to be distributed by fixed attractors that
> are present within the expected distribution. Over time, the cycle
> length changes as the fundamental underlying factors change and
> the cycle is pulled toward another distribution of fixed
> attractors. This is apparently what has happened with the
> generational cycle.
I don't know what this means. What's a "fixed average length"?
Doesn't the average length always have to be fixed? What are "fixed
attractors ... within the expected distribution?" I've heard of
point attractors and cyclic attractors and strange attractors, but
what's a "fixed attractor"? Do you mean an astronomical cycle of
fixed cycle length? If so, then that does that have to do with being
an attractor?

Maybe you've done some deeper analysis that I don't understand, but
based on what you've posted I don't have confidence that you know how
to interpret the mathematical terms that you're using.
An average length would always have to be fixed in the sense that an average is a numerical value. In the case of a cycle, the average tends to move as the cycle expands, contracts or disappears in step function fashion. A fixed attractor is a recurring cyclic point that generates increased energy and human activity. I don't know if anyone else has defined it as such. It can cause highs in prices or other effects.

Quote Originally Posted by John J. Xenakis
Quote Originally Posted by Clark
> There are various fixed attractors that emanate from August, 1720,
> one of which is the Metonic cycle.
I looked up Metonic cycle, and I guess we're back to the moon. But
you can't make something true simply by saying that it's true. You
certainly haven't shown any relationship between the South Sea Bubble
and moon cycles in any way that I find credible.

----

What I perceive you to be saying is the following: "I've found events
A, B and C that occur at exact 90 year intervals; by the way, it
turns out that certain moon cycles are also 90 years long.
Therefore, they're all related." If that's really what you're
saying, then the conclusion is wrong, and in fact there's no
relationship among any of them at all.
No, that's not what I'm saying at all. I can look at a certain set of observations that may or may not be related. Causality does not need to be established before a hypothesis can be tested or a decision made, especially if there is a small cost in doing so and there are independent factors that simultaneously reinforce the hypothesis. In practice, it is almost always optimal to make decisions before causality can be definitively established.

Quote Originally Posted by John J. Xenakis
Write a computer program that generates 1000 random numbers. If you
study those numbers long enough, then you'll find some patterns.
That's why you have to do a great deal to credibly claim that you've
found a real cyclic pattern.

If you're looking for an economic cycle that's somewhere between 10
and 100 years long, then I don't believe you'll find it. I believe
that the only two cycles in that range are the K-cycles and the
generational cycles. There may be short cycles (a few days or months
to a few years) and there may be very long cycles (such as a 400-500
year "civilizational" cycle), but none between them.
In order to understand long term cycles, my experience is that it's best to start by working with short term cycles because they're more predictable and there are thousands of iterations to work with. In addition to developing hypotheses, putting actual money on the table to test my hypotheses has been tremendously helpful. Once you understand how short term cycles work, then you can begin to scale to longer time frames, although there are difficulties involved with that.

Here is an example of a message I posted in real time last week on a trading forum I contribute to occasionally http://www.marketforum.com/?id=825694. This message was posted at 11:49 a.m. EST on Monday, November 28, 2005. The message states as follows: "I tried a short ND from where it broke the flag about 50 minutes after the open. I'd guess if it's going to go lower it needs to start moving now." You can look at a chart of the Dow or some other index and see that it started moving down within 5 minutes of that post and continued to do so for the rest of the day, losing 50 points in the case of the Dow. You can also search that forum to see that I have made other posts but there are no other recent posts that show that a specific hypothesis is being tested in real time. Again, I am testing a hypothesis and making a decision before causality can be definitively established.

I understand you to be saying that there are no cycles between 10 and 400 years long besides the K-cycles and the generational cycles. If true, how would you explain what has happened from 2002 to date? It doesn't seem that the 4 year cycle can really explain what we are seeing.

Quote Originally Posted by John J. Xenakis
If you want to credibly claim to have found a cycle, then you need to
do several things. You need to show a sequence of actual events that
establish the cycle -- you need at least 5 or 10 such events for
credibility, and preferably several dozen. Then you need to provide
a theoretical reason for why the pattern exists. I understand that
you're asking for these theoretical reasons, and that's why you
posted the question in the first place, but you should at least
take a guess yourself. Finally, you should not claim a fixed cycle
length, since it's impossible -- unless you can show a physical
relation between your cycle and an astronomical event.

Sincerely,

John

John J. Xenakis
E-mail: john@GenerationalDynamics.com
Web site: http://www.GenerationalDynamics.com
If one wanted to publish something academic, it seems reasonable that would be the approach that would have to be taken.







Post#959 at 12-06-2005 06:46 PM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,010]
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Re: Not Just Cycles

Dear Bob,

I very much appreciate your posting. Probably the most basic
assumption underlying the Generational Dynamics model is that
genocidal crisis wars are needed. Your comments allow me to test
that assumption. Let me apologize in advance for the length of the
responses, because this is an important issue and I don't want to
miss anything.

Quote Originally Posted by Bob Butler 54
> You seem to be focusing in on the Crisis War, competition and
> evolution as your key assumptions. In many way, I think you are
> correct. You are going for the nub of it. Consider the following
> to be poke-around-the-edges stuff. The following points might not
> be used to disprove where you are going, but to complement the
> theory in predicting where Crisis Wars do not occur, and thus
> where cycles do not manifest.

> In nature, violent conflict among breeding groups is not the norm.
> When two packs contest for territory, the conflict is often
> resolved through ritual dominance displays rather than through
> fatal conflict. Among species where males compete for breeding
> opportunities, ritual non-lethal conflict is also common. Horns
> often evolve not to kill rivals, but to determine a winner in a
> non-lethal ritual conflict.

> Evolution in nature is best served by non lethal competition among
> species. Evolution takes place at several levels. The best
> individual passes on genes, as does the best breeding group, as
> well as the best species. While lethal competition might produce
> the best individual the most quickly, such violence weakens the
> breeding group and the species. Thus, social instincts tend to
> evolve to moderate violence.
Let me try to address this issue with a hypothetical example.

Scenario #1: Let's suppose we're talking about the evolution of
giraffes. Suppose sub-species B is taller than sub-species A. This
gives B a big advantage, because a member of B can eat low-lying food
and high-lying food, while a member of A can eat only low-lying food.

As you point out, A could become extinct in this scenario with no war
whatsoever. Members of B would eat both low-lying and high-lying
food, and members of A would find themselves at times with nothing to
eat. As a result, A would have fewer and fewer members, and would
eventually become extinct.

Now, this scenario does make sense for giraffes, but remember that
we're making the assumption that we're talking about intelligent
species.

Scenario #2: So now let's transfer the above scenario to two human
sub-species, A and B, where members of B are taller than members of A.
Make the same assumptions about low-lying and high-lying food.

In this revised scenario, something quite different would happen. As
in the case of giraffes, the A's would sometimes find nothing to eat,
but they would just die out and become extinct.

In this case, the A's would see what was going on -- that the B's are
taking all the food. The A's would realize that their lives depend
on getting rid of the B's, and they'd have a genocidal war.

The only real question is how long it would take them to pursue this
war. If the B's are new to the region, and the A's are astute, then
they'll kill off the B's quickly while there are only a few of them.
If they wait too long, then there will be too many B's, and the B's
will kill off the A's.

In Chapter 7 of my book, I actually used the assumption of
intelligence to conclude that crisis wars must occur. Briefly,
intelligence implies the ability to form identity groups. If
sub-species A cannot form identity groups and sub-species B can form
identity groups, then B will exterminate A by forming gangs and
killing off the members of A one by one. So intelligent species can
form identity groups, and then with a little more reasoning we can
conclude that identity groups will have genocidal wars with one
another to compete for resources.

Are you the person who first brought up Amy Chua and the concept of
"market dominant minorities"? I think you were, but no matter. The
point is that market-dominant minorities lead to war only because the
majority has intelligence and can figure out what's going on. A
non-intelligent minority cannot initiate such a war. (Good thing
too, otherwise all the cockroaches of the world would rise up against
us.)

Very often you hear someone say, "We're supposed to be more
intelligent than animals, so we should be able to figure out how to
avoid war." Ironically, it turns out that being intelligent means
that you HAVE to have wars if you want to survive as a species.

Quote Originally Posted by Bob Butler 54
> There are also factors of territory and population density. In
> general, conflict among animal groups are not clearly cyclical. A
> breeding group might have a given amount of territory. So long as
> the population of the breeding group is more or less stable, and
> there is no pressure reducing the territory from adjoining groups,
> conflicts are minimal. A time of plenty, of surplus, when more
> cubs survive, increases the chance of conflict. A famine, a
> disease, reduces population and thus the chance of conflict. For a
> cycle to develop, a steady state situation with a surplus seems
> required. In nature, you might want to do a little digging to
> determine how often such a situation would exist. My guess is that
> a regular pattern of lethal conflict between members of the same
> species would not be a large win for the species. It might be a
> survival trait to have fewer cubs, rather than have a pattern of
> extreme violence.
Once again, the examples you're giving show how important
intelligence is in requiring genocial wars from time to time.

You say, "A famine, a disease, reduces population and thus the chance
of conflict," and that may well be true of animals, but it's clearly
not true of intelligent human beings. As we know, a famine rarely
reduces population significantly among humans; what it does do is to
make food scarcer and more expensive, resulting in a war between the
"haves" and "have nots."

You say, "For a cycle to develop, a steady state situation with a
surplus seems required." But for intelligent human beings, that's
not true. An intelligent human being can do something that an animal
can't do: It can find someone to blame.

I remember back in 2001, when the Enron scandal broke before 9/11,
there was a hysterical public frenzy against corporate CEOs. Even
though only a few CEOs had broken the law, the public was furious at
ALL CEOs. This kind of identity group blame was even more pronounced
in the 1990s in the Balkans and Rwanda, when a person would suddenly
pick up an axe, go next door and kill his neighbor and dismember his
body, rape his wife, and then kill her and dismember her body.

In the case of animals, we talk about "natural enemies" -- two
species that always fight one another. (As I recall, snakes and
weasels are natural enemies.) But this kind of enemy is "static" in
the case of animals -- buried deep in DNA, and not easily changed. In
the case of humans, enemy formation is dynamic. All you have to do
is say, "They have more than we have," and you've dynamically created
an enemy. That's how wonderful intelligence is.

Quote Originally Posted by Bob Butler 54
> Switching to the special case human species...

> You seem to have an implied assumption that if a culture has
> sufficient soldiers, a crisis war will be fought. This was not an
> unreasonable assumption prior to World War II and nuclear weapons.
> The assumption may yet prove to be true. Thing is, humans have
> evolving memes as well as evolving genes. If it becomes obvious
> that conflict between major powers does not benefit the major
> powers, a cycle theory based on an assumption that if soldiers
> then wars might break down.

Here I would really have to question your assumptions. I'm not
saying "If soldiers, then war." I'm saying, "If humans, then war."
You don't have to go very far in today's world to find pertinent
examples.

There is probably no country less warlike than the Netherlands. The
country considers itself to be the most tolerant in Europe of other
religions and races. The capital city, the Hague, calls itself "the
international city of peace," and points to various peace conferences
and international courts of justice to back up its claim. And yet,
when Dutch author Theo Van Gogh was murdered on November 2 of last
year by a suspected Islamist militant, the country immediately became
xenophobic, with a wave of anti-Muslim violence through the country.
As another example, you have the French riots by second-generation
immigrants from North Africa and black Africa. As a final example,
look at Rwanda 1994.

The point is that genocidal crisis war doesn't require soldiers. It
just requires human beings at the right time in the generational
cycle.

You say that "If it becomes obvious that conflict between major powers
does not benefit the major powers ..." as if this kind of logic is
ever pursued. Crisis wars are not pursued by some kind of thoughtful
pro and con balancing act. They're purely emotional, purely visceral.
That's what makes crisis wars different from non-crisis wars. The
latter are pursued for logical, political reasons. The former are
not.

You can usually find a rational reason for a non-crisis war; for
example, we pursued the 1991 Gulf War to free Kuwait from Iraq, and
because Kuwait had oil.

But I find it very difficult to find a rational reason for almost any
crisis war. Why did the South start the Civil War? Why did the
Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor? You can open history books and find
supposedly rational reasons for these wars, but when you drill down,
they make no sense whatsoever -- except to reduce population so that
there'll be more food for the survivors.

Quote Originally Posted by Bob Butler 54
> Also, in the past, not all territories are worth fighting for. In
> many areas of the globe, there were not surpluses. Thus, it was
> hard to field a large warrior class. Thus, no population pressure.
> Thus, warlords who thought conquest was neat tended to get bred
> out of the population. Thus, no crisis war, no cycles. When
> studying history, it is easy to get drawn into the big countries
> and major wars. This might draw you into areas where there is
> generally a surplus, and thus warrior cultures are the norm.
> Still, the norm is not universal. Touching bases with cultures
> away from the cradles of civilization where surpluses were first
> developed might give you 'control' populations with no cycles. You
> might compare and contrast these with the surplus producing war
> zones.

> You might dig into population dynamics. During a given era and
> area, how much of the population could be diverted to warfare? How
> did advances in agriculture increase surpluses, making warriors
> more cost effective, resulting in warrior cultures? Did
> antibiotics or other population increasing technologies effect or
> trigger cycles of violence? The desire to avoid major wars
> immediately after one was just fought is an admirable anchor to
> start a theory of warfare on, but World War I and II occurred
> closely enough together to suppose this is a universal law. You
> might look into agricultural, population, cultural and economic
> factors as well. Simplicity is nice in a theory, but not if the
> subject isn't simple.
Once again, you have to distinguish between crisis and non-crisis
wars. WW I was a non-crisis war (for the West). You may need a
warrior class to initiate a non-crisis war, but all you need is large
masses of ordinary people to initiate a crisis war.

Quote Originally Posted by Bob Butler 54
> On a more abstract level, yes, Strauss and Howe identified a good
> many patterns which are more or less true in the series of
> Anglo-American cycles. It does not follow that all of these
> patterns will be found in each and every cycle. I think you are
> correct that the crisis war is a key element that will be found in
> many crises, and that other elements S&H identified will not
> always be present.

> But don't assume that because certain elements (such as crises
> wars) are common, there can't be cycles which don't feature these
> common elements. While most cycles might feature certain easily
> seen traits, and these easy to observe and understand cycles might
> be the best cycles to study first, leave room for other effects --
> some cyclical, some not -- to be studied at some future time.
I do believe it's possible, under certain exceptional circumstances,
not to have a crisis war. For example, Switzerland and Iceland
didn't participate in WW II, although it was clearly a crisis period
for both countries. However, British and then American forces
occupied Iceland, to prevent German occupation; and Switzerland
actively prepared for war against Germany, but managed to avoid war
through clever negotiations. I believe that a requirement to avoid a
crisis war is an "uncrowded" population, and plenty of food and other
resources. Today we see that places like Gaza and Haiti are ripe for
crisis war, but it's being avoided because of massive influxes of
foreign aid.

But outside of these rare, exceptional situations, I believe that
every tribe, society, region and nation must have periodic genocidal
crisis wars. I believe that genocidal war is as important to our
species' survival as sex is. I believe that genocidal war is buried
deep in our DNA, and that it's a strong visceral driving force for
all humans.

Sincerely,

John

John J. Xenakis
E-mail: john@GenerationalDynamics.com
Web site: http://www.GenerationalDynamics.com







Post#960 at 12-06-2005 06:47 PM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,010]
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Re: Bred out?

Dear Pat,

Quote Originally Posted by Idiot Girl
> Bob said "Also, in the past, not all territories are worth
> fighting for. In many areas of the globe, there were not
> surpluses. Thus, it was hard to field a large warrior class. Thus,
> no population pressure. Thus, warlords who thought conquest was
> neat tended to get bred out of the population. "

> Didn't they discover that 20% of the Y-chromosomes in Mongolia go
> back to a common ancestor at the time of Genghis Khan? And that
> these people were very likely *descendants* of Genghis Khan?

> Note: in many cultures, warlords have had harems.
This may be one more distinction between animals and "intelligent"
human beings.

Sincerely,

John

John J. Xenakis
E-mail: john@GenerationalDynamics.com
Web site: http://www.GenerationalDynamics.com







Post#961 at 12-06-2005 06:49 PM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,010]
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Dear Clark,

Quote Originally Posted by Clark

> I'll answer this part first and then get to the rest of your
> reply. I've found it works better to incorporate cycles (or
> perceived cycles) that may not have a fundamental cause into a
> model than to ignore them. The other approach would be to discard
> the cycle from the model but to look for evidence that it is
> repeating. For example, one could make the assumption that there
> is not an 89 or 90 year cycle, but look back 89 or 90 years to see
> if there is any fundamental resemblance. If the thesis is that the
> cycle is agriculturally based, fundamental relationships in that
> area could be studied. I didn't think of this previously, but
> there is a cycle called the Benner Cycle that I believe is an
> agriculturally based cycle that repeats on 16, 18, and 20 year
> intervals. So if one were to take the series 20, 16, 18, 20, and
> 16 that would add up to 90 years. Other permutations would range
> from 88-92 years.
I would still say that you need at least half a dozen events to claim
a pattern, and preferably several dozen. And you would need to find
a credible physical relationship between your Benner cycle and some
other cycle. All you've presented is guesswork based on very few
data points.

Quote Originally Posted by Clark
> I'd like to take this up as a separate subject because it pertains
> to one of my initial objections to what you present on your
> website. Your website presents a graph of the stock average over
> the last 120 years with a regression line drawn through it and
> makes the conclusion that the stock average will revert back to
> the regression line. My comment was that the 3.5% or so economic
> growth rate over the last 120 years that underpinned the growth in
> the stock averages is significantly higher than the 1% or so
> economic growth rate over the last 2000 years. I then did some
> rough calculations that showed how I got to 1% and stated
> something to the effect that your assumption would not be valid if
> there was a reversion to long term growth rates and left it at
> that. The price structure that you present is a fractal. I don't
> know if you dispute that assumption but if you do, we can talk
> about that. As I stated before, economic growth, (incorrectly)
> represented by GDP growth as a proxy, correlates with the growth
> in the stock averages. GDP growth is comprised of growth in energy
> usage (approximately 2% per year) plus improvements in energy
> intensity (approximately 1.5% per year). Energy intensity is
> defined as the energy input in BTUs per dollar of GDP output.
> Therefore, the conclusions you make based on your graph implicitly
> assume that energy will not be a limiting factor in economic
> growth.
You're referring to an e-mail correspondence that we had many months
ago. At that time you said, "You show a long term growth line fitted
to the stock average. I think you mention long term real growth is
4.7%. Long term depends on how you define it. I know it's difficult
to extrapolate further back than you have based on stock prices.
However, I think it's safe to say that all of the wealth in the world
would have been worth at least a million dollars in 1 A.D. and it
might be worth 100 trillion now. This would imply a long term growth
rate of 0.9%."

After some give and take, I responded: "Here's a problem that's been
sitting in my (virtual) stack of tasks for a couple of years now: The
DJIA grew at 4.7% per year from 1890-2002, while the S&P 500 index
grew at 1.6% per year from 1871-2004. Now, why the huge range of
percentages, since they should presumably be measuring the same
thing? I believe that the answer lies in the selection of the 30
companies in the DJIA and the Byzantine methodology for computing the
index, but I haven't really researched it."

So a lot depends on what you're measuring. As I said at the time,
figuring out exactly why the growth rate of the DJIA and S&P indexes
are so far apart might throw some light on the correct methodology to
be used.

I do not know if GDP growth is as directly related to energy growth,
as you say. I don't believe that it's true, but at any rate it has
to be proven.

Quote Originally Posted by Clark
> No, that's not what I'm saying at all. I can look at a certain set
> of observations that may or may not be related. Causality does not
> need to be established before a hypothesis can be tested or a
> decision made, especially if there is a small cost in doing so and
> there are independent factors that simultaneously reinforce the
> hypothesis. In practice, it is almost always optimal to make
> decisions before causality can be definitively established.
Perhaps, but that doesn't absolve you of all doing a lot more work
yourself. If you had a few hundred data points that followed a
pattern, then you'd have a case for saying, "I'm sure there's a
pattern, but I don't know what it is." But you have very few data
points, and so you have no justification to claim you've found a
pattern. As I said, you can start with 1000 random numbers and study
them, and you'd find plenty of patterns. I'll bet you even find a
pattern that matches the Saros cycle.

Quote Originally Posted by Clark
> In order to understand long term cycles, my experience is that
> it's best to start by working with short term cycles because
> they're more predictable and there are thousands of iterations to
> work with. In addition to developing hypotheses, putting actual
> money on the table to test my hypotheses has been tremendously
> helpful. Once you understand how short term cycles work, then you
> can begin to scale to longer time frames, although there are
> difficulties involved with that.
There's almost no relationship whatsoever between forecasting short
term cycles and forecasting long term cycles. The methodologies are
totally different and completely unrelated. There's certainly no
"scaling."

Quote Originally Posted by Clark
> Here is an example of a message I posted in real time last week on
> a trading forum I contribute to occasionally
> http://www.marketforum.com/?id=825694. This message was posted at
> 11:49 a.m. EST on Monday, November 28, 2005. The message states
> as follows: "I tried a short ND from where it broke the flag about
> 50 minutes after the open. I'd guess if it's going to go lower it
> needs to start moving now." You can look at a chart of the Dow or
> some other index and see that it started moving down within 5
> minutes of that post and continued to do so for the rest of the
> day, losing 50 points in the case of the Dow. You can also search
> that forum to see that I have made other posts but there are no
> other recent posts that show that a specific hypothesis is being
> tested in real time. Again, I am testing a hypothesis and making a
> decision before causality can be definitively established.
I'm glad that you're good at day trading, and I congratulate you for
it. I don't know what a "short ND" is or what "flag" you broke, but
you're talking about pattern matching, not cycles. Those are
completely different, and they're unrelated.

Quote Originally Posted by Clark
> I understand you to be saying that there are no cycles between 10
> and 400 years long besides the K-cycles and the generational
> cycles. If true, how would you explain what has happened from 2002
> to date? It doesn't seem that the 4 year cycle can really explain
> what we are seeing.
What you did, I assume successfully, is identify short-term day
trading patterns. That has absolutely nothing to do with medium or
long term stock market cycles.

Sincerely,

John

John J. Xenakis
E-mail: john@GenerationalDynamics.com
Web site: http://www.GenerationalDynamics.com







Post#962 at 12-06-2005 06:51 PM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,010]
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Dear Richard,

Quote Originally Posted by Croakmore
> John, once again I commend you for your explorations. I think most
> of what you write is worth reading. To me, however, you seem to
> prefer the baroque approach to modeling, while I prefer models
> that have suffered the pain of Occam's Razor.

> Now, I was tempted to go get a Rube Goldberg cartoon off the
> Internet and post it below your complicated crisis diagram, but I
> know that that would have offended you. I'm not out to offend you,
> only to find the bones of your model beneath its feathers and fat
> tissue. In this respect, is it possible for you to reduce your
> model to its fundamental principles and assumptions: 1,2,3...?
> Layers? What are they? Are they hierarchical or dimensional? What
> are your mathematical vectors and attractors? Are they aspects of
> true mathematical systems? Or are they instead statistical? There
> is a fundamental difference between the two, although I know you
> dissagree(!). That's too bad, because mathematicians will want
> that distinction. Perhaps, you should change your title to:
> Generational Dynamics for Historians and Statisticians."

> And I know how much you won't value this advice, although it is
> offered cheerfully.
Well, let's do some scorekeeping. Here and in the Singularity
thread, you've accused me of being dishonest. You've made
preposterous claims that the Theory of Probability is not
mathematics, and likewise the Theory of Statistics. You use
statistical arguments yourself and claim they're perfectly ok, and you
reject others' statistical arguments as fake, presumably setting
yourself up as the sole arbiter.

Now you're back to the same games. You say you don't want to offend
me, but then you call Generational Dynamics a "Rube Goldberg" theory.
You invoke Occam's Razor, but obviously don't know what that means.
You tell me I should change the name of my book when, by your own
admission, you have no idea what it's about. You claim to speak for
mathematicians, while at the same time you insult mathematicians, and
me indirectly.

So let me just say this:



Thank you, thank you, thank you, Richard.

Thank you for NOT being out to offend me.

Because, seeing the things you've been saying when you're NOT out to
offend me, I can only imagine what you'd be saying if you WERE out to
offend me.

Now, as for your comments.

What you're calling a "Rube Goldberg" diagram is a graphical
representation of a couple of dozen wars in several countries. In
other words, it's a diagram representating data. If it were expanded
to include all wars throughout history, then it would be even more
complex. That doesn't make it Rube Goldberg, nor does that concept
even make any sense.

The layers are as I've described them. As they're still under
development, I have nothing more to offer at this time.

The model itself is abstract, but in order to validate it for the
real world, it may be necessary at some point to do a statistical
analysis. However, whether that will satisfy you is anyone's guess
because the distinctions you make between "real" and "fake"
mathematics do not exist anywhere but in your fevered mind.

Sincerely,

John

John J. Xenakis
E-mail: john@GenerationalDynamics.com
Web site: http://www.GenerationalDynamics.com







Post#963 at 12-06-2005 06:52 PM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,010]
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Dear Mike,

Quote Originally Posted by Mike Alexander '59
> Here's what I understand about your model. Wars appear at random
> intervals and have random intensities. If the intensity is above a
> certain threshold, that war will become a special kind of war, a
> crisis war. THis threshold is proportional to the number of
> veterans from the last crisis war who are stilll around and can
> attest to the horrors of a crisis war.

> Thus for a decade or two after a crisis war there are many
> survivors form the war, and the threshold is high, so high no
> random war can surmount it and no conflict at this time can
> develop into a crisis war. As an illustration of this, we see Iraq
> with high intensity urban conflict specifically intended to ignite
> a crise war, that so far hasn't done so. The GD explanation is the
> theshold is simply too high because far to many survivors of the
> Iran-Iraq war are still around.

> As time goes on the threshold diminishes to the point where just
> about any sizable war that pops up will become a crisis war.
> Unless one assumes that major wars are spacing at highly variable
> intervals, a crisiswar should show up right around the time the
> threshold is gone or ca. 60 years after the last crisis war, give
> or take 10 years. If wars are spaced at highly variable intervals
> (say plus or minus 30 years), then this feature will drown out the
> impact of GD and crisis wars will look randomly spaced.
You make some very good points. In fact, I'm somewhat thrown for a
loop, because I don't have a complete and solid response to
everything you say, so the following remarks should be considered
"works in progress" to dealing with the problems that you've raised.

First, let me dispose of a couple of things. The mechanistic
triggers that you talk about are certainly not part of my model. For
example, I would classify the current Iraq war as a 3T war in a 4T
era, but even if that weren't true, a 3T war in a 4T era is certainly
possible in principle. So a threshold defined by the number of
veterans (or Artists) remaining from the previous war is not
something that I would agree would be the sole basis for crisis wars.

As for whether wars occur at "random" times, I can't really say. As
you know, I've theorized that it's possible that there's a
correlation between non-crisis wars and K-cycles, but whether such a
correlation exists is no more than a guess. I'm also generally
nervous about relating non-crisis and crisis wars to each other in
any significant way, since they're so different. Non-crisis wars are
based on political considerations, while crisis wars are visceral,
based on long-standing ethnic, religious, racial and geographic fault
lines. The extent to which the two can be exchanged based on a
"threshold" of some kind is far from clear. I consider crisis wars
and non-crisis wars to be so different from one another that little
meaningful comparison can be made.

But there does indeed seem to be a problem with my concept of
"replenishment." My idea was that a genocidal crisis war kills
enough people and uses up enough resources that it takes several
decades to replenish the society's resources to the point where
another crisis war is possible. The "point of minimum replenishment"
appears to be 45-50 years after the end of the previous crisis war.

But as you point out, that concept quickly falls apart. No one could
credibly argue that Iraq today doesn't have a large enough supply of
young men and other resources to have a civil war, and so the fact
that al-Zarqawi has been unable to spark a civil war must be related
to something else.

Let's take our Korean war as another example. (Sorry if I seem to be
babbling. As I said, this is just a work in progress.)

Based on my reading of the 1950s, a crisis war could not possibly
have occurred. The Korean war was the "forgotten war," even while it
was still being fought! The American public simply did not want to
fight the Korean war (in the way that they had wanted to fight the
Nazis). We had little "energy" for that war.

No one doubts that we could have fought the Korean war as a crisis
war if we had wanted to. We certainly had enough soldiers. And we
certainly could have used nuclear weapons if we'd been determined to
win. A similar observation could be made for the Vietnam war.

So that's the question: What changed? What did we have in the 1940s
that we lost by the 1950s? What's the exact nature of the "energy"
that we had in WW II that we lost in the Korean war.

That's the question I would ask of you, and of anyone else who cares
to answer: What was different in the American public in the 1950s
from the 1940s, and how do I characterize it in the GD model?

You might think that the answer is that in the 1950s they were "war
weary," but that's really a copout that doesn't solve the problem,
because then I'd want to know why they were war-weary.

(Once again, I apologize if I seem to be babbling.)

Let's say that we say that a nation becomes "war weary" after a
crisis war. If that's true, then there must be an evolutionary
reason for it.

Suppose a heretofore unknown Pacific island was discovered to have a
tribe - a sub-species - of people who are exactly like other humans,
except that they never get war-weary after a war.

Wouldn't this new sub-species eventually dominate everyone else on
earth? Having no war-weariness would seem to be a big advantage,
because they could immediately go on to obliterate one group after
another? (Did Genghis Kahn ever become war weary?)

Or maybe war-weariness is an advantage. A nation needs a few decades
of "rest" between crisis wars, just as an individual needs a few
hours of sleep each night. But why?

If I could identify exactly why it's important for a nation to have a
few decades between crisis wars, then I could codify that concept in
the GD model.

In fact, what I really want is an explanation of this table, which
I've posted many times before:

Code:
    LENGTH OF INTER-CRISIS PERIOD
             Fraction
    # years  of total
    -------  --------
      0- 40      0%
     41- 49     11%
     50- 59     33%
     60- 69     25%
     70- 79     16%
     80- 89      4%
     90- 99      6%
    100-117      5%
Why is it that a new crisis war NEVER occurs less than 41 years after
the end of the previous one, and RARELY occurs less than 50 years
after?

And what I mean is: What's the evolutionary reason? Why didn't
humans evolve with different "minimum replishment periods"? I have
no doubt that there's a reason; I just don't know what it is.

Sincerely,

John

John J. Xenakis
E-mail: john@GenerationalDynamics.com
Web site: http://www.GenerationalDynamics.com

[[Edited 12/6/2005 to correct typo reversing 'crisis' and 'non-crisis'.]]







Post#964 at 12-06-2005 08:12 PM by jeffw [at Orange County, CA--dob 1961 joined Jul 2001 #posts 417]
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Quote Originally Posted by John J. Xenakis
That's the question I would ask of you, and of anyone else who cares
to answer: What was different in the American public in the 1950s
from the 1940s, and how do I characterize it in the GD model?
The S&H theory already answers this question. It is because the country was in a High and therefore the generations are aligned into different life phases. The prophets are increasingly out of the picture, the GIs are now running the show, and the Silents doing the heavy lifting (I know that is vague but I'm not really trying to write a dissertation here). The fact that you even ask this question shows that you don't understand S&H's theory and that your theory cannot be based on it.
Jeff '61







Post#965 at 12-06-2005 08:43 PM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,010]
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Dear Jeff,

Quote Originally Posted by jeffw
> The S&H theory already answers this question. It is because the
> country was in a High and therefore the generations are aligned
> into different life phases. The prophets are increasingly out of
> the picture, the GIs are now running the show, and the Silents
> doing the heavy lifting (I know that is vague but I'm not really
> trying to write a dissertation here). The fact that you even ask
> this question shows that you don't understand S&H's theory and
> that your theory cannot be based on it.
Uh huh. And what's the evolutionary reason why the prophets are
increasingly out of the picture, and the GIs are now running the
show, and the Silents are doing the heavy lifting?? Could humans
have evolved in a different way with GIs doing the heavy lifting?
Even so, why does this imply that the society is incapable of a
crisis war at that time? Why couldn't the Korean War have been a
crisis war? Where's the logic that makes your case, or are you just
spouting some catch-phrases that you don't even understand? I ask
because I don't get the impression that you know anything about
EITHER S&H's theory OR Generational Dynamics. And if you're going to
festoon your postings with moronic judgmental comments then you ought
to try to have the vaguest idea what you're talking about, and you
ought to at least TRY to make sense.

Sincerely,

John

John J. Xenakis
E-mail: john@GenerationalDynamics.com
Web site: http://www.GenerationalDynamics.com







Post#966 at 12-06-2005 10:14 PM by Child of Socrates [at Cybrarian from America's Dairyland, 1961 cohort joined Sep 2001 #posts 14,092]
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Quote Originally Posted by John J. Xenakis
Why is it that a new crisis war NEVER occurs less than 41 years after
the end of the previous one, and RARELY occurs less than 50 years
after?

And what I mean is: What's the evolutionary reason? Why didn't
humans evolve with different "minimum replishment periods"? I have
no doubt that there's a reason; I just don't know what it is.
Perhaps societies become war-weary because they're concerned about losing too many young men (and, these days, young women) who otherwise would be bringing the next generation into this world.







Post#967 at 12-06-2005 11:35 PM by Matt1989 [at joined Sep 2005 #posts 3,018]
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Crisis wars are based on political considerations, while non-crisis wars are visceral, based on long-standing ethnic, religions, racial and geographic fault lines.
This must be a typo.







Post#968 at 12-07-2005 12:00 AM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,010]
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Dear Kiff,

Quote Originally Posted by Kiff 1961
> Perhaps societies become war-weary because they're concerned about
> losing too many young men (and, these days, young women) who
> otherwise would be bringing the next generation into this world.
I agree this is true, but why does it have to be this way, and why
does it only happen in 1T and 2T? Why do crisis wars start only in 3T
and 4T, and mostly in 4T? Don't societies care about losing too many
young men and women in 4T who would otherwise be bringing the next
generation into this world?

And suppose one group of humans humans had evolved so that they
weren't war-weary in 1T and 2T? Would they have been better at
winning wars than the other humans, or worse?

I know this is a really weird way of looking at it. When we talk
about what it means to be "human," we usually talk about love or
kindness, or other positive emotions, but we never talk about what it
means to be "human" when it comes to war. Why is that a human in a
4T can murder, dismember and rape his neighbors, but can't do so in a
1T or 2T? What comes over people in a 4T, and why doesn't it come
over people in other periods? This is as much being "human" as love
and kindness are. Maybe it's the "dark side" of being human, but it's
still being human, and it's the question I'm asking about.

Sincerely,

John

John J. Xenakis
E-mail: john@GenerationalDynamics.com
Web site: http://www.GenerationalDynamics.com







Post#969 at 12-07-2005 01:02 AM by jeffw [at Orange County, CA--dob 1961 joined Jul 2001 #posts 417]
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Quote Originally Posted by John J. Xenakis
Dear Jeff,

Quote Originally Posted by jeffw
> The S&H theory already answers this question. It is because the
> country was in a High and therefore the generations are aligned
> into different life phases. The prophets are increasingly out of
> the picture, the GIs are now running the show, and the Silents
> doing the heavy lifting (I know that is vague but I'm not really
> trying to write a dissertation here). The fact that you even ask
> this question shows that you don't understand S&H's theory and
> that your theory cannot be based on it.
Uh huh. And what's the evolutionary reason why the prophets are
increasingly out of the picture, and the GIs are now running the
show, and the Silents are doing the heavy lifting?? Could humans
have evolved in a different way with GIs doing the heavy lifting?
Even so, why does this imply that the society is incapable of a
crisis war at that time? Why couldn't the Korean War have been a
crisis war? Where's the logic that makes your case, or are you just
spouting some catch-phrases that you don't even understand? I ask
because I don't get the impression that you know anything about
EITHER S&H's theory OR Generational Dynamics. And if you're going to
festoon your postings with moronic judgmental comments then you ought
to try to have the vaguest idea what you're talking about, and you
ought to at least TRY to make sense.
It's been a while since I read the books and there are others on this site more qualified than me to answer, but I believe the prophets are supposed to be the ones that drive the crisis.

I don't have time to finish this tonight. I'll try to get back to it tomorrow.
Jeff '61







Post#970 at 12-07-2005 01:46 AM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,010]
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12-07-2005, 01:46 AM #970
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Dear Jeff,

Quote Originally Posted by jeffw
It's been a while since I read the books and there are others on
this site more qualified than me to answer, but I believe the
prophets are supposed to be the ones that drive the crisis. I
don't have time to finish this tonight. I'll try to get back to it
tomorrow.
OK, but think about the question a little more deeply. Yes, the
Prophets drive the cycle (in a sense, but all the other generations
are needed as well), but why does it have to be that way? What's the
evolutionary reason for it? Would humans be a "better" species (in
an evolutionary sense) if they were capable of having a crisis war,
and immediately having another crisis war right afterwards, without
take a few decades off?

Sincerely,

John

John J. Xenakis
E-mail: john@GenerationalDynamics.com
Web site: http://www.GenerationalDynamics.com







Post#971 at 12-07-2005 09:31 AM by Bob Butler 54 [at Cove Hold, Carver, MA joined Jul 2001 #posts 6,431]
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12-07-2005, 09:31 AM #971
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Rambling Thoughts

Quote Originally Posted by John J. Xenakis
OK, but think about the question a little more deeply. Yes, the
Prophets drive the cycle (in a sense, but all the other generations
are needed as well), but why does it have to be that way? What's the
evolutionary reason for it? Would humans be a "better" species (in
an evolutionary sense) if they were capable of having a crisis war,
and immediately having another crisis war right afterwards, without
take a few decades off?
Hmm... Part of it might be a supposed human trait called 'reason.' Being smart is helpful to the species over all. Among other things, one can judge on a case by case basis whether crisis war makes sense at a given time.

While others might think your diagram too complex, I'm thinking your approach is too simple. There are lots of people who make sense of history without reference to cycles, without a belief that crisis wars are inevitable and periodic. They can find reasons for war without reference to anything periodic. The reasons they find are at least as valid and real as the cyclical attractors we cycle nuts play with. I'm not willing to fully commit to either camp. I will neither reject cycles out of hand, nor ignore traditional methods of historical analysis.

Just as a reality check, does anyone see the North Korean invasion of South Korea being a comparable threat to the United States when compared to the German invasion of Poland, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and anyone else in reach? The American elites had bought into the Domino Theory with respect to Korea and Vietnam. The general populace might have been less enthused with dominos. How much is this lack of enthusiasm the result of a recent crisis war, and how much is it the result of very valid perceptions of how serious the situations were?

Looking at Europe, there is generally one country arrogant in its self perception of military supremacy. Let's start with Spain at the time of the Armada, go north to France of Louis XIVth and Napoleon, then to the Germany of Bismarck and Hitler. These days, the arrogant superpower with the oversized military thinking it can win a war wherever and whenever it likes (maybe two if both are small) is the United States.

Is this a requirement for crisis war? There has to be an aggressive nation seeking glory, wealth, or expansion of its culture? After World War II ruined Europe with the threat of nuclear destruction added on top, might this possibly reduce the number of aggressive regional powers to zero? Might the nature of conflict -- and thus its periodicity -- be changed?

I don't see linear and cyclical history being mutually exclusive. Both spot trends. Seeing one trend does not invalidate all other trends. An obsession with any one trend without considering other equally valid factors doesn't necessarily lead to good history.

You might want to list everything needed for a crisis war. An intact population of potential soldiers, a healthy economy, a warrior culture, and a perception that something important might be either defended or gained come to mind.

In different times and places, there might be different limiting factors. In North America, I think S&H have it right. The minor wars were wars to acquire more territory and resources. The major wars transformed the country, were wars of ideology. In Europe, the limiting factor might have been economics. There were more major powers close together. When they could afford to fight, they did. There was more of a war culture. Before the machine gun, war was cost effective, at least for the winners. There was always at least one state that thought the next fight would bring glory, wealth, honor, etc...

If this is the case, if the limiting factors saying a big war cannot be fought yet are different in different times and places, one shouldn't really expect lessons learned in Europe to fit well in North America or vice versa. One might have to look at any number of limiting factors. The slowest one in a given time and place might determing the cycle length.

I don't think you can dismiss the evolution of values. To me, the recent string of Anglo American crisis wars is about assimilating the effects of technology upon culture. In the Agricultural Age, it took most of the population just to produce food, while muscle powered weapons were expensive and required intense training for effective use. In the Industrial Age, agricultural surpluses and cheap easy to use weapons produced citizen armies, which in turn tore apart class distinctions. The Anglo American Crisis Wars are about absorbing these changes, about wealth moving from the land to the factories, and citizen armies believing in Rights giving ruling elites pause.

Which doesn't fit neatly into data points that easily submit to statistical or mathematic methods. These are linear progress trends, more than a little ephemeral, not easy to transform into numbers, but if one just ignores them, one is not getting the true cause of all the conflict.

And, again, I am not confident that trends true with agricultural economies with tiny warrior class armies will necessarily hold in industrial societies with huge citizen armies.

Anyway, if some think your 'Rube Goldburg' diagram unnecessarily complex, don't you absolutely need someone coming from the other side saying how much was left out?







Post#972 at 12-07-2005 09:47 AM by Marx & Lennon [at '47 cohort still lost in Falwelland joined Sep 2001 #posts 16,709]
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12-07-2005, 09:47 AM #972
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Quote Originally Posted by John J. Xenakis
... Would humans be a "better" species (in an evolutionary sense) if they were capable of having a crisis war, and immediately having another crisis war right afterwards, without take a few decades off?
This is a question best asked of someone that has been through the process. All the regulars here are too young. If I had to venture a guess, it's a bit of what Kiff alluded to: war weariness, with an equally large dose of personal appreciation of what wars at that scale really mean. Until the direct participants, their spouses and friends are marginalized, they will try their best to avoid a repeat perfomance. I know I would.

Just add-up the numbers, and you get the separation you would expect. I would expect these wars to move further apart in time, as the age of public disengagement moves further into the elder years, and these vital elders continue to apply the brakes. It's also possible that the horror of it all fades with time, even for the participants. If we could come back in two centuries, we would know for sure.
Marx: Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.
Lennon: You either get tired fighting for peace, or you die.







Post#973 at 12-07-2005 12:17 PM by Croakmore [at The hazardous reefs of Silentium joined Nov 2001 #posts 2,426]
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12-07-2005, 12:17 PM #973
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Quote Originally Posted by John J. Xenakis
...
OK, but think about the question a little more deeply. Yes,the
Prophets drive the cycle (in a sense, but all the other generations
are needed as well)
, but why does it have to be that way? What's the
evolutionary reason for it? Would humans be a "better" species (in
an evolutionary sense) if they were capable of having a crisis war,
and immediately having another crisis war right afterwards, without
take a few decades off?
Here we go again, John. Now you're saying "the Prophets drive the cycle." Earlier you said "the TIMING of the Prophets drives the cycle." Which is it? If yours is a dynamical model, as you claim, then what do you mean exactly by "drive"? The key dynamics of your "dynamical" model still elude me.

Please direct me the precise location in your book that specifies the operative principles and assumptions of your argument so I can at least find comfort there. I'll go read them. But, frankly, I don't want to read the arbitrary details of a theory that claims to be "mathematical" by being "statistical" without explaining how this comes about. How am I insulting you by merely asking for these clarifications?

If you expect to go Big Time with your theory, John, you might need to build a thicker skin. Here, on this thread, you ask for "Objections to Generational Dynamics," and then when someone throws you a fast ball you scream bloody murder. How gentle and kind do you expect your reviewers to be? Have you ever experienced a professional peer review in a scientific/mathematical context? You can't bring your your mother and your personal psychologist to these wicked affairs. It would be better if you could bring a skin-graft surgeon. The truth known to scientists and mathematicians is that it's better to be skinned alive in a private peer review than to be humiliated in public for the lack of any proper defense. To say in earnest that you have been insulted is not going to buy you very much favor in the public arena.

--Croak







Post#974 at 12-07-2005 12:35 PM by jeffw [at Orange County, CA--dob 1961 joined Jul 2001 #posts 417]
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12-07-2005, 12:35 PM #974
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Quote Originally Posted by John J. Xenakis
Dear Jeff,

Quote Originally Posted by jeffw
It's been a while since I read the books and there are others on
this site more qualified than me to answer, but I believe the
prophets are supposed to be the ones that drive the crisis. I
don't have time to finish this tonight. I'll try to get back to it
tomorrow.
OK, but think about the question a little more deeply. Yes, the
Prophets drive the cycle (in a sense, but all the other generations
are needed as well), but why does it have to be that way? What's the
evolutionary reason for it? Would humans be a "better" species (in
an evolutionary sense) if they were capable of having a crisis war,
and immediately having another crisis war right afterwards, without
take a few decades off?
I found the following passage from The Fourth Turning (p. 118) that pertains to your question:

During a Fourth Turning, generational forces tend to funnel exogenous events toward a concerted national response. When Hitler and Tojo launched their global aggressions, America was poised for decisive action. With Prophets in power and Heroes coming of age, the archetypal order givers were in charge and the archetypal order takers were on the battlefield. The result was maximun cooperation between generations. Elder Prophet leaders do not back down from confrontation. Indeed Sam Adams, John Brown, and FDR have all been plausibly accused of helping to stage an emergency for the express purpose of galvanizing young people.

Halfway across the saeculum, no war can escape the cross-currents of a youth-fired Awakening. During the Vietnam War, the archtypal order takers were old, the order givers young. Young Prophets challenged the moral emptiness of the institutions directing them. Meanwhile, elder Heroes did everything they could to preempt the need for sacrifice -- if necessary by means of sheer affluence and technology. The result was maximum convulsion between generations. During the late 1960s, both generations were ill at ease in their war-waging roles, each displeasing the other with its behavior.
It then goes on to talk about what wars are like in each turning. For High-era wars, it says:

High-era wars were all echose of the prior Crisis, from the War of 1812 (reconfirming the Revolution) to the Korean War (reconfirming the global postwar order). These wars tended to be stand-offs. Patience was high, enthusiasm low.
As for evolution, it's not a factor in this theory. Evolution can explain in basic terms what we are and how we behave, but the cycles postulated by S&H are more of a meta-phonemena, that is, they derive from our evolutionarily-determined behaviors, the way we respond to our upbringing, but that just sets the cycle in motion, the cycle itself isn't evolutionarily selected.

After all, do you think that evolution selected for the ability of homo sapiens to be able to destroy its whole species and most if not all of the rest of the species on the planet?
Jeff '61







Post#975 at 12-07-2005 01:01 PM by Child of Socrates [at Cybrarian from America's Dairyland, 1961 cohort joined Sep 2001 #posts 14,092]
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12-07-2005, 01:01 PM #975
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John:

I think you have to look at the saeculum as a whole in an evolutionary light. Societies are meant to pass through these four phases.

Crises are not just about wars. They're also about institutional collapse. Society has to clear out the deadwood that is getting in the way of new growth. Our bureaucracies are exhausted, ineffective, and (such as in the case of Katrina) outright damaging to the people they're supposed to be serving.

But people can only take so much fighting and revolution before that also becomes exhausting. It's at this point where the Nomad survivalists start taking charge through the final push of Winter and into Spring. At the same time, the Civics start building the new institutions, the Artists enjoy their coming of age during a time of relative peace and prosperity, and the influence of Prophets fades.

Highs are safe but they're also bland. So nature gives us late Artists and early Prophets to stir up the values mix. Then we get Summer. But society can take only so much upheaval at once, and the Unravelling puts the brakes on.

The saeculum is a balancing act looking for that ever-elusive equilibrium, always shooting past it one way or the other. That's why change is always occurring. Stasis is death.
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