As many of you know, I am hard at work on a new book. The Tribes of Eden is out in the world and we will be doing some pretty fun stuff to get the word out about that book but…
I also have to think about the next book. As part of that effort, I thought I might sketch out the key ideas in the new book just to see if I can express them clearly.
[I would add to any emerging writers out there that I have found that writing clearly is rarely a problem if I can think clearly. Thinking clearly, I should add, is very hard work and not all that much fun.]
Here it goes…
1) Members of the Post War (Baby Boom) generation are gradually becoming aware that something big is changing. They don’t know what it is, but they are pretty sure that they don’t like it. If they think about it all all they might have the feeling that life is out of balance. They sense that they are increasingly living in a way that calls for another way of living.
2) People feeling pressured to change how they think, how they live, how they feel, talk, walk and act are living inside a personal “crucible.” The most universal crucible experiences come with the change from one phase of life to another. Regular readers of this blog already know that we see the contemporary human lifespan as consisting of three distinct life stages.
3) From here, the book expands its frame of reference to take in the Post War generation as a whole. When we do so, we find that this exceptionally large, incredibly dense and culturally transformative generation also has a lifespan. The Post War generation’s First Crucible played out in the years when its many millions of members were passing out of Childhood and into Adulthood, in other words during the 1960’s and 1970’s.
4) After the First Crucible, the Post War generation settled in to a long, slow, steady slog through Adulthood. The generation did what it has always done, it magnified the life stage that as it moved through it. Adulthood became hyper-kinetic, super-productive, ultra-caffeinated and turbo-charged. This malignant enlargement of Adulthood has done more than anything else to reshape American culture into the self-image of the Post War generation. Our relationship with time, money, family, work and wealth have all been remade.
5) Now we come to the Second Crucible. Because of the relentless workings of time and age. The Post War generation now stands on the cusp of a new Crucible. The Second Crucible will transport scores of millions of Boomers out of Adulthood and into the uncharted realms of Elderhood.
6) This Second Crucible will be much more challenging than the first. Our culture has no maps, no rituals, no milestones to guide us. This will be the last great adventure of the Post War generation and it will offer members of that generation a rich set of opportunities to set right the many wrongs that came into being during their long reign as Adults.