College Talk at FreedomLab Campus, Thursday March 30, 2017.
Walk-in: 4 PM. 
Start: 4:30 PM. End: 6PM.
RSVP to lab@freedomlab.org to reserve a spot (free of entrance). 

How much of what happens in the world can we explain on the basis of generational theory? Philosopher and researcher Haroon Sheikh believes that for example Brexit and the growing issue of elderly care are due to specific generational features. One influential book in this domain, The Fourth Turning, argues that the history of a people moves in 80-to-100 year cycles and we are currently in the end of one. So what can we expect to happen in the turnaround?

Steve Bannon’s (President Trump’s top advisor) interest in this generational theory, sparked Sheikh’s convicting that it’s a topic worth researching. Sheikh: “In my College Talk I’ll surely be paying attention to The Fourth Turning’s theory of generational change being of a cyclic nature. It states that big events such as wars and financial crises are due to cyclic movement in generations. One generation grows up during a war, and when it comes to power in adulthood, will do anything to prevent war happening again. Starting out your working life, having to deal with financial crisis, makes for a generation that often takes less financial risk, thus preventing another crisis. Which eventually leads to another generation never experiencing financial hardship starting off in life and work, resulting in a generation unaware of the consequences of taking big risks. Increasing the risk of another financial crisis. And so on. If this theory of cyclic movement proves to be true, we are in a definite phase of big transformation right now. It’s fascinating matter for anyone who’s interested in political division, the future of our youth, and the question ‘where is it all going’ in general.”

Big shifts

An indication that this theory of cyclic nature in generational change could hold truth, can, Sheikh believes, be found in the relatively sudden shift in society’s commonplace attitude towards large scale issues. “We are prone to believe that the way we think and live now, is in some ways forever. But remember the nineties? Back then it was generally accepted that the EU was a good idea and we were all profiting economically from the Union. Nowadays you’re a loser if you think the EU does us any good. A new generation that grew up with that attitude, will have a totally different agenda when it comes to power. If you study those differences, you can certainly find predictive value in the unique characteristics of a generation.”

The Wall versus Fortuyn

Every new generation is formed by (i.a.) big global events in their younger years. Sheikh experienced how these could differ quite dramatically, when he was discussing personal experiences with his university philosophy students. Sheikh, shared his first ‘political aware moment’ with his young students to be the fall of the Berlin wall. A positive, hopeful moment shaping his view of the world profoundly. In return the students, realised their first political memories were all far less positive, with 9/11, the murder of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh as their key shaping moments. How will these events effect this generation’s actions when they come to power in some 20 years? Find out and come to the FreedomLab Campus on March 30th, and join us at 16.00 for Haroon Sheikh’s College Talk. Do let us know we can expect via email. We hope to see you then!

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