Futurists say we are destined for destruction before rebirth

by John Sanei. While current events are painful, there is a bigger, futuristic, global picture of a rebirth in our world.

by John Sanei. As South Africans what we usually do, is we become very upset that this is a South African problem, and we can’t believe this is happening in South Africa again. I want to remind everybody out there that this happens around the world, and around the world we are starting to see the upheaval of societies. People have been sick and tired of the way things have been run.

If you think about what’s happened in Palestine, in Brazil, in Belarus, in America, in England, you name it… There isn’t a place around the world that isn’t having some sort of upheaval, some sort of questioning of the system, of questioning the whole world that we live in. This is really the beginning of the break of the old world. There is a book called the Fourth Turning, written in 1996 by Neil Howe and William Strauss, who came up with the generational archetypes around baby boomers, Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Z. They also did research around these 80-to-100-year cycles that humanity go through. In their research they realised that this has been going on since the 1600s; so, this is not something new. This is a cycle that humanity’s been going through every 80 to 100 years. The last time an 80-year cycle concluded, was when World War Two ended in 1946.

Transformation begins with a goodbye

So, here we are again at the end of another cycle; so as sad and as difficult as this process of change is, remember that all transformation begins with a goodbye and a sad process. This is what we’re going through right now: where we are seeing the structures being broken down; we’re seeing the power plays being questioned; we see this with the #MeToo movement, #BlackLivesMatter movement, the Arab Spring, and so on. This is all just a continuation of that, unfortunately.

According to the Fourth Turning (the Strauss–Howe generational theory is about recurring generation cycles), we still have until 2028 to see the end of this old world. So, we still have another six or so years to go through until every touchpoint of our lives is broken down, questioned, and rebirthed. Remember in the 1950s we had some very exciting things happen after the Second World War. We had the United Nations launched; the IMF; rockets; jets; space programs; we had this new surge of energy towards peaceful living; innovation; and the birth of a new world. This is where we are going to be going again, but before spring there’s always winter, before new birth there is death, and right now we’re going through that. We’re losing friends and family through Covid; we’re seeing destruction and implosion of every touchpoint of our lives, in pretty much every country of our world.

This is a global issue

If you are South African, please don’t make this a South African issue. This is a global issue and it’s something that we need to come together for. It’s a unification of us wanting to work out a new system that’s more transparent, that’s fairer, that’s more available to more people, and thank goodness the internet is here giving us this access, and more. That is why I wrote my book FutureNEXT with Dr Iraj Abedian. It’s all about the breakdown for the rebirth. The breakdown we are in is sad, strange, upsetting, and we are losing people. But all winters require that and the spring we are going to go through will again show us a new world out there. We just have to make it through, we must vasbyt (stay strong). We need to realise that this is a big pattern we are following, and we are not the only ones suffering. We need to have empathy with those who are taking strain; and if you have the context of where we are, we can be calmer about it. Stay safe and good luck.


Main image credit: Photo by Sergey Katyshkin from Pexels.



John Sanei is a futurist, author and speaker. In 2020 he launched his new book FutureNEXT with economist Dr Iraj Abedian. FutureNEXT, which is a guidebook to reimagine a new socio-economic system post-Covid.



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