Home Page
"The Philosophy of Knowledge"
"Ecphorizations"
Principles of Constructionism
About The Ecphorizer
Printed Issues
Online Issues
Contributors
Index & Search


website metrics free counters free counters
The Ecphorizer
The 35-Year Theory
George Towner

 
The 35-Year Theory is actually a combination of a 45-year theory and a 10-year theory. The numbers are approximate, and careful analysis might reveal that it should be called The 36.2-Year Theory or some such. But 35 is close enough; it is the underlying principle that matters, not the exact amount. The important thing is that the 35-Year Theory gives us a handy tool for predicting the future.

The 45-year component springs from the fact that this is the median age at which people seem to have the most thrust in our society. The age group centered about 45-years-old is the one whose members are most effective in organizing their value structures, articulating their beliefs, and bringing about the changes they want. Before age 30, members of our society seldom manage to seize the instrumentalities of social powermoney, political office, media stature. If they have power at all, it is

...The 35-Year Theory give us a handy tool for predicting the future.

because they are being catered to by their elders. At the other end, members of our society who are over 60 often possess power but have lost the desire to use it. Some have learned that fiddling with society is not the highest goal in life; some have become disillusioned with the individuals ability to effect social change; some are plain tired. Whatever the reason, the over-60s are predominantly content to retire from the battle and go fishing.

Between 30 and 60 lies the field of the 45-year-olds. They have social power and they use it. The 45-year median group ultimately decides which ideas are financed, developed and publicized, and which not; who are advanced to positions of authority and who not; and what facilities are created and placed in their hands. In our whole society, they are the group best able to get what they want.

But what, in fact, do they want? Here is where the 10-year component comes in. What they want is to solve the problems they first learned about when they were 10 years old. Again, this is only a median number. But in the age range centered about 10, each child typically first realizes that there is a complex world operating outside the familyand that it is not in apple-pie order. Perhaps as early as 5 or as late as 15, he grasps the social problems that are the talk of the day and fixes them in his mind.

These childhood imprints are never fully forgotten. On the contrary, they emerge to guide behavior 35 years later, when the grown person has acquired the power to deal with them. It is naive to assume that human beings are so flexible that they react only to the important issues of the present. In fact they constantly redefine these issues in terms of a framework constructed when they first learned about social problems at all. We paint the world from the palette of our minds, using colors that were mostly squeezed out years ago. On the average, 35 years ago.

How does this work in practice? Instances abound of the 35-Year Theory in operation; exploring them in detail is obviously beyond the scope of this article. By way of example, however, it is instructive to list (in parallel columns 35 years apart) some of the more important events of American history in this century. They supply a convenient illustration, from which the basic principle becomes evident.

1915

Massive violations of sovereignty in Europe

1950

America intervenes to protect sovereignty of  South Korea

1917

Communists rise to power in Russia

1952

Panic over communists in American government

1925

Teapot Dome scandals besmirch government

1960

Kennedy elected to bring Camelot to Washington

1932

Financial collapse in America; banks close

1967

“Great Society” aims to end poverty

1939-45

World War

1974-80

SALT negotiations

1946

Russians overrun Eastern Europe

1981

Strong foreign policy to “contain” Russia

1946

Strikes cripple railroads, coal mines

1981

Striking air traffic controllers fired

1956

Soviet troops occupy Hungary

1991

US drives Iraqi troops out of Kuwait

1964

Congress passes Gulf of Tonkin resolution

1999

Congress strictly limits US role in Kosovo


So do you want to know what is going to happen in the news next year? Just go to the library and draw out a newspaper file from 35 years ago. Skim through it, jotting down a list of the most memorable problems arising that year. You will find that these are the problems our leaders are going to try to solve in the current year.  




close
Title:
Link:
Summary:
We have collected the essential data you need to easily include this page on your blog. Just click and copy!close
Share |
| E-mail | Print | Blog
  


About
George Towner

We have a vast pile of contributions from GEORGE TOWNER that we have rejected for various reasons — puerility, incoherence, bad taste, etc. — but yet they still pour in. He just can't take a hint.

You can read about George's latest book here!

Other articles by George Towner
+ more
About
The Table of Dates

The original article was written at the end of 1981. When I first published this online in 2002 I asked George if he'd care to add a few more current rows to the table at left. The result is the 1956-1991 and 1964-1999 entries.