global generation part 1: dawn of Enlightened Individuality

think bigger

There is a mysterious cycle in human events.
To some generations, much is given.
Of other generations, much is expected.
This Generation has a rendezvous with destiny

President Franklin D. Roosevelt




I begin my project global generation idea with the foundational thinking. And when you talk about foundation you have to talk about people … attitudes & behavior.


What they think.

What they do.

What they desire.



I will begin with the fact I do believe generations are cyclical (this is the 4th Turning analysis from Strauss & Howe).



I do believe we can impact generational behavior if we can access the minds of children in their formative years.



With that, the following outlines my thoughts on what will shape the post-Millennial generation, what I call The Global Generation, and their role in the Turnings of history. (for information on the Generation Turnings visit



The Post-Millennial Generation: the Global Generation

Why call it The Global Generation?

Globally there should be an exponential growth in creativity and interconnectedness with the global community … or at least awareness of global issues and attitudes … (toward environment as well as science) as the “global mind” seamlessly shares ideas and thinking. While I will never suggest this ‘global mind’ won’t have conflict, I do believes there will be unprecedented knowledge sharing (which should lead to Enlightenment).

The Premise behind The Global Generationnext generation of thinkers


One word.




Convergence of the right generation with the right mindset being in the right place with the right enabler tool.

The Global Generation will occur as the synthesis of the convergence between an enabler (the web) and an attitude (the right generation). The Global Generation will arise from the momentum of smaller generational variables (the attitudes and beliefs of the boomers, genXers and Millennials) with the added impact of a technological innovation. I believe this generation will be Individual voices raised to a collective “global roar” of not social pluralism but rather a values based global pluralism.


The current older generations spiraling divisiveness (with its vocal extreme niches) will provide an opportunity for the Global Generation to attain a balanced belief profile (or assessing the truth). To me, the Global Generation is a fulcrum generation (or call it a transitional one if you prefer). In the existing generational environment there is a growing abdication of individual responsibility as we fall back into a consensus mindset (this is reflected often in a growing concern or interest in community and localness).

As events unfurl and the Global Generation has the opportunity to grow up within this environment, we should see a shift into “Empowered individual responsibility” (of which we see signs of it creeping into the Millennial generation).




Some people have argued the Millennials will be this ‘global’ generation.






I don’t think so (and here is why I believe it will be the generation following Millennials).


The Global Generation is the crossover, or transition, generation in the swing between “me-ness” and “we-ness”. I believe this generation will own a contradiction: Community individualism.

And they will bring about a cultural change in the way we perceive and use our natural environments and how we treat each other globally. Millennials and GenXers have set them up to be in this position.



Global local1. Why I believe this: Tapping into the Subcurrent



Just as Strauss and Howe outline generational cycles I believe there are also subcurrent cycles.


The one most relevant to the Global Generation theory is that of cycles of community and individualism. And this cycle relationship creates a multi dimensional aspect by existing as a focus within a generation as well as a within a lifetime of a generation.


What I mean by this is that on one dimension generations on a whole swing back and forth between a comfort in collective or community culture and individualism (or “me” focused). On another dimension or the dynamics of that same feeling within the life of a generation (meaning maybe it was all about me when I was younger but ‘me’ starts looking at ‘we’s’ and our collective experiences as elders).


Strauss and Howe articulate this concept much more intelligently but I have dumbed it down for everyone.



Interestingly, as 4th Turning outlines the overall roles of generations this individual/community relationship actually converges to create within this post-millennial generation and it is one of the generations that have an opportunity to balance them. This balance, should it be achieved, provides the potential for a global values platform for the generation.

The post millennial generation (The Global Generation) will have been preceded by the two extremes of community and individualism.




  • GenXers are the “me” generation.  Focused on maintaining the strength of their individuality (maybe without the rebelliousness as they get older) borne of their youth. As they “grey” they will better understand the importance of community strength in addressing big issues, i.e., “maybe those big issues are better solved by the larger group then by us few extreme voices” but their individuality is at the core of their being.

life is a beautiful struggle



  • Millennials are the “we” community generation.
  • Consensus and group dynamics and openness are attributes of this generation.  Having seen the power of the group/community in their youth they will begin edging into understanding the voice of individuality as they ‘grey’.



Both prior generations will have explored global issues and both will have lived thru ignorant conflict (and felt there had to be something better). The Global Generation will benefit from what the prior generations couldn’t figure out how to do on their own.


2. Why I believe this: The converging aspects: the enabler and the enabled (vocalizing versus learning)



As suggested earlier, I believe the web is the key tool which will enable the Global Generation. Each prior generation has been progressively more understanding of the web as a knowledge platform and progressively better at maximizing the platform (I actually believe Millennials will probably demand some knowledge or accuracy standards as they get older and take on the reins of the web). GenXers will have seen the power of the individual voice or minority voice (both good and bad) and will be receptive to an accurate and accessible knowledge platform.

If you combine the physical asset (or infrastructure to support a global transfer or platform for knowledge and information) with the behavioral aspects of generational tendencies, you see the potential for a convergence where individual/country cycles converge to sync into one time and one place. Similar to a sun being blocked by the moon this may be a once in a long while convergence before spreading out again into individual orbits. It just appears to me that we have an opportunity to influence attitudes before everyone goes back to their “orbits”.


I don’t know that I would call the advent of the web globally (and by globally I mean access to all or the majority of local populations globally – which cell phone technology has the potential to create throughout developing countries) an “event” as the Fourth Turning would define it but it certainly becomes a common platform that has never existed before. In addition, the intern
et certainly has the potential to influence “turnings”.


You can see even now how different generations are attempting to use the web to influence how people think and act. For example, the web has given voice to the minority or splinter groups, allowing voices of divisiveness (or maybe better said voices of the extreme positions) to be expressed and heard on a larger podium/stage.


This also presents an opportunity for the future Global Generation.


web platformWhile other generations will use the web to ‘vocalize,’ I believe the evolving generation will use the web (or at least if someone uses it properly) to “learn”. It will enable a higher level of intimacy between cultures and globally dispersed local communities (or maybe, more specifically, individuals). We see this emerging even today (it just has not matured). Not surprisingly, this technology has transformed our worlds – empowering people with access to extensive circles of population as well as connecting in surprisingly personal and intimate ways.


I may be putting a lot of pressure on the internet as “the convergence factor” (or the enabler) to create this Global Generation.


Generations are typically impacted by innovations.

Think Electricity, the Engine, the Car, the TV, Dwarf grain and now the web.

An innovation can exponentially affect an existing attitude. And innovations “lag” (immediate impact on early adopters who provide input to refine and ultimately majority adopts) so the timing works out to Global Generation being the knowledgeable majority.

So. Each generation has been progressively gaining more understanding of the web as a knowledge platform and progressively better at maximizing the platform (I also believe it will be the Millennials who will demand some knowledge or accuracy standards as they get older and take on the reins of the web standards). GenXers’ role will be that they have seen the power of the individual voice or minority voice (both good and bad) and will be receptive to an accurate and accessible knowledge platform. Once again the Global Generation will be able to take advantage of a prior generation’s preparation.


Lastly (on why the Millennials are not the Global Generation).


This is extreme … but I believe the Millennial generation is “too far down the path” to be the Global Generation. They were the early adopters of a web based global community aspect and there will certainly be “cusp” generational citizens, but as a whole they are being bombarded with the vocal minority and don’t have the global counterbalance (I guess what I mean by that is I believe Millenials will still fall back on country cycles as the subconscious place to go). Millennials will be open to a global community (which is the reason why I believe the Global Generation will be successful as they follow in their footsteps).



The Aftermath of Convergence: The Global Generation Legacyenlightened conflict sand less


Community Individualism leading to Enlightened Conflict.


This balance of community and individuality will permit this generation to better accept and respect the choices made by individuals globally and yet strengthen local communities (I actually believe that will be represented by strengthened country patriotism). The community aspect will definitely lead to some cultural or geographical driven conflict yet the respect for individual choices elsewhere will balance the conflict within a “values set of rules.”



What’s next?


The post-Global Generation: Enlightened Individuality Generation?


If I were to guess.

Sticking with the turnings and archetypes.


I would guess the generation after the Global Generation would begin the “separation” aspects seeking clarification of geographical community versus global community. And I believe that is a good healthy thing. Especially if the Global Generation has sought out and wrapped their arms around a common respect. Or common “rules of the road” to conduct interaction – or conflict – as more distinct geographical individualism reemerges.

Summary: What does all this mean?


Assuming I am right … alignment creates a window of opportunity. Generations are not set by birth, but by accumulated experience over a lifetime. As Millennials will deal with a Crisis, the Global Generation will deal with the aftermath.

And from the crisis (yet to be identified) the importance between ignorant conflict and enlightened conflict will be clarified for the Global Generation.

So I imagine it comes down to what we want to do before the window closes and what we do to “accumulate experience.” With the promise of a new Global Generation we need to foster the intercultural dialogues, lessons and beliefs. Children comprise approximately twenty per cent of the global population but represent one hundred percent of our future. In our thrust to be analytical, impartial and scientifically rigorous we may have lost the values based pluralism aspects for educating future generations to ensure the protection of humanity.

Now that anyone in almost any country can see or meet through the internet with anyone anywhere, the Global Generation will recognize the differences between us as being as important as before because we see that we are all trying to get to the same place, and we all mostly have the same dreams. Access to technology, computer or cell phone, will create a situation where children globally will have access to similar information and knowledge (and will be communicating with each other in a fashion where country borders are irrelevant).


We need to insure that generation in its youth is not overwhelmed by the enormity of the global problems and insure they understand their actions will have an impact.  This “understanding” encompasses environmental responsibility, social resilience, community connection and actionable knowledge towards a sustainable future.



I would never suggest someone could manage the moment of this scope but it may be possible to influence the moment. In other words, take advantage and influence future behavior activity when the alignment opportunity is closed and cultures begin vectoring out on their own.

At this convergence point in time this Global Generation will begin to truly understand, as a generation and not an underlying minority, it doesn’t matter who believes what, but that we all believe in the preservation of the Earth and its people so we can all continue live comfortably in the future without having to kill each other or our resources. Religions will be seen less as exclusive clubs of believers but rather as individual choices to be respected.



The stake I personally would put in the ground?

Mutual respect for individuals’ choice and life. Hopefully shifting globally from ignorant conflict to a more enlightened conflict perspective. We should be seeking to create a Global Generation of resilient children who are motivated, have high self esteem and respect for others.




That’s it.


That’s my Global Generation and the foundational theory.


Admittedly this theory all falls apart if the web platform isn’t managed properly.


Selfishly I have an agenda (see Envisioning a Legacy writing) about this web platform aspect but as a concept (The Global Generation) I believe what I write is true.


Part 2 is using a Millennial Study to further this idea.

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Written by Bruce