Big Picture Background

I have needed to establish a timeline of the events in the socio-political development of Tir Na Nua.  I continue to do research to aid me in creating a world that is both interesting and informative.  By interesting I probably mean entertaining and enjoyable.  By informative I mean that it should seem realistic, internally consistent, in the world of Tir Na Nua, and should echo names and themes from Earth’s Celtic History.

In order to accomplish that, I have been digging onto a little bit of History.  I’ve been searching for names and stories that I find interesting.  If the interest that brought you to my site is Celtic legends, lore, or history you might like this site: Ireland’s History in Maps.  I’ve taken note when something of interest comes up that seems to bear on this subject. 

An example of something I’d put into the “something of interest” category might be a book like Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond.  It has been awhile since I read this book, but if I remember right, the main idea was basically that societies grow and advance based on the resources that they have available, initially the type of food plants and animals and later mineral and other advantages.  Anyway, part of the fascination I have with imagining a technology loss and imagining how a society might begin again with what they have at hand comes from thinking about this book.  At least it was informed by it.

Recently I heard about another concept that I’d like to incorporate.  The book is The Fourth Turning by Neil Howe and William Strauss.  Sadly, I had to return the copy I borrowed from the library, but my initial perusal built on an interview I heard on Coast to Coast AM.  

The subtitle of the book is “an American Prophecy”  because the authors lay out their belief that we are on the verge of potentially catastrophic events that will be dealt with by a heroic generation of people who will be forced to more or less recreate our society in response to the challenges of this catastrophe. 

They base this expectation on the fact that there have been seven such heroic remakings beginning in the late Middle Ages that shaped America.  This is an idea that Greeks and Etruscans and Romans all recognized, this rhythm in history.  The rhythm is close to a century, but is actually tied to the length of a long human life. 

In this approximately 100 years, there are 4 generations.  Each of these generations seem be typified or led by four archetypes that Howe and Strauss called Heroes, Artists, Prophets, and Nomads.

Paraphrasing and laying it out hot from my fevered memory, the hero generation comes of age at this fourth turning, when there is a sense of unease and then WHAM! the catastrophe hits.  These children of a Nomad generation tend to be pampered and valued maybe as a reaction to the abandonment the Nomads received at the hands of their Prophet parents. These Prophet generation people were too busy righting “wrongs” and rejecting the previous social order to take care of the next generation.

That leaves only the Artist generation to speak about.  The Artists are the refiners of what the hero generation hath wrot.  That is to say that after the crisis is averted (or perhaps not) this follow on generation, children of the Heroes refine and systematize things to an increasing degree that eventually seems to make people so crazy that when they are done polishing their father’s edifices there follows Prophets who will oppose and reject what has been made to the degree that the seeds will be laid for the next horrendous catastrophe, perhaps because the Prophets neglect their children.

I suspect that I’m getting some of this wrong so I really need to get that book reserved again, but you get the jest of it.  Four archetypes moving through the seasons of life that seem to cycle through a series of transitions that usually leads to a big war if there isn’t another disaster to occupy the heroes.  Neat!

So it is definitely a Big Picture sort of thing.  I found it intriguing.  I plan to find some way to weave it into Tir na Nua, probably in the Background.