Several weeks ago, Glenn read a book which friends had urged him to pick up. Pendulum: How Past Generations Shape Our Present and Predict Our Future was a page turner that unlocked answers to cyclical behavior in humans. Friday on The Glenn Beck Program, author Roy Williams joined the program for a fascinating discussion.
"I picked your book up, and I think I finished it in three hours. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough," Glenn said while welcoming Williams. "What a tremendous, tremendous work you have done."
Glenn asked Williams to explain the general theory of the book:
Basically, there's a window of time, and it's spoken of 27 different times in the Bible. And it says that we become an entirely different people every 40 years. And I tried to figure out why that was happening. And I realized that we're torn between two good things. Of course, all the most important decisions in life are the choice between two good things. Those are the only hard choices. You know, justice or mercy. You know, freedom or responsibility. Honesty or loyalty. These things are both good, of course, but they come into conflict.
And so what happens is, we always overvalue one. And as a society, as the body politic, as the group, we overvalue it, and we take a good thing too far. And it's very predictable how long it takes us to do this. And then we begin to realize what we've done. And it begins to feel empty. And we begin to see the dark underbelly of what we've done. And we start going back the other direction.
And when we reach the middle, halfway between the two extremes, things are usually pretty good. And then when we take the other good thing too far, we have the same problem. And so from one extreme to the other extreme is 40 years. But a complete round trip is 80 years. And you can chart this for the past 3,000 years, Glenn.
What inspired Williams on his journey to discover and understand this pattern of human behavior?
"It came on me in a weird kind of an intuition. I woke up one morning in 2003, it was about this time of year. And, you know, I think in the autumn, a lot of us get a little reflective. We start thinking about the year that we're kind of wrapping up, and did we get everything done we wanted to do? And I was in kind of that frame of mind, and it hit me. In late 2003, I said, You know, I remember this. This is 1963 all over again. I remember 1963, but we're going the opposite direction," Williams explained.
So Williams began to investigate. It took about a year to complete the research, which first developed as a presentation until people urged him to put it into book form.
The Pendulum concept is based on the premise that there are two zeniths: The "we" generation and the "me" generation. Williams delivers a stunningly accurate pattern of where we've been, which predicts where we're going.
"You make it very clear in the book, and the examples of what we're headed for are pretty frightening, if you look in the past," Glenn said.
The upside is that the pendulum swings back, making the predictable cycle over an 80-year period.
Listen to the full and fascinating conversation to learn which American presidents were part of the "we" or "me" generation, where we are now on the pendulum and what's coming next.
Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:
Featured Image: Screenshot featuring Roy Williams on The Glenn Beck Program.