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Embracing Realism with an Attitude of Pessimism
and a Foreboding Sense of Fatalism
Doug “Uncola” Lynn

We perceive our civic challenge as some vast, insoluble Rubik’s Cube. Behind each problem lies another problem that must be solved first, and behind that lies yet another, and another, ad infinitum. To fix crime we have to fix the family, but before we do that we have to fix welfare, and that means fixing our budget, and that means fixing our civic spirit, but we can’t do that without fixing moral standards, and that means fixing schools and churches, and that means fixing the inner cities, and that’s impossible unless we fix crime. There’s no fulcrum on which to rest a policy lever. People of all ages sense that something huge will have to sweep across America before the gloom can be lifted – but that’s an awareness we suppress. As a nation, we’re in deep denial.

– Straus and Howe (1997):  “The Fourth Turning”, FIRST EDITION page 2

The books Generations (1992) and The Fourth Turning (1997) by historians William Strauss and Neil Howe identified and categorized recorded cycles of history across multiple cultures and eras.  Both books analyzed the timelines of historical events and correlated them to specific life cycles identified as generational “types”.   Strauss and Howe addressed the concept of time in the context of both circular and linear perspectives.  In so doing, they described the “saeculum” as a “long human life” measuring approximately 80 to 90 years and comprised of four turnings, each lasting around 20 to 22 years.

Just as there are four seasons consisting of springsummerfall and winter, there are also four phases of a human life experienced in childhoodyoung adulthoodmiddle age and elderhood.

Each generation experiences the historical turnings according to their life stage; and the Seasons (i.e. order of societal “turnings”) are identified by each generation as they reach middle-age.  Amazingly, history shows a consistent pattern in how the generations similarly cause and affect historical events.

In America, since the end of the late sixteenth-century, there have been four full “cycles”, or saeculums, as follows:

1.) Colonial Cycle

2.) Revolutionary Cycle

3.) Civil War Cycle

4.) World War Cycle

In every Fourth Turning “winter”, or crisis period, within all of the above cycles, American society experienced great upheavals and war.

Accordingly, in 2024, as one who Strauss and Howe identified as a (Generation X) “Nomad”, I find myself middle-aged and in the center of a literal (seasonal) winter, at the beginning of a Fourth Turning (generational) winter, and at the advent of World War III occurring approximately 80 years after World War II.

Lucky me.

History repeating and the daily repetitiveness of life calls to mind the Sisyphean task of continually rolling the same giant allegorical boulder up the same steep proverbial hill; over and over and over again.

But Sisyphus had it much easier in Hades.  At least it was warm there. Had he lived in the northern climes as I do, Sisyphus would have had to remove the snow from the hill before he attempted to reach the summit with the rock.  Then, once the snow was removed all the way to the top, he would have turned around only to see that high winds had drifted in the very path he had just shoveled; except the drifted snow would then be densely packed and made harder than concrete via double-digit wind-chills below zero degrees.  Even so, the snowpack would need to be moved repeatedly before the rock received even one little push; then Sisyphus would do it again tomorrow and the next day too.

What’s the point?  It is this:  The cold winds of both seasonal and generational winters add dangerous risks and difficulty to daily Sisyphean tasks.

Inspired by the Fall of France during World War II, French author and journalist Albert Camus (1913-1960) considered Sisyphus as an absurd heroof sorts. But the American philosopher Richard Taylor (1919-2003), in his 1987 metaphysical review entitled “Time and Life’s Meaning”, argued Sisyphus symbolized the meaningless repetition of life.

Previously, in 1962, Richard Taylor wrote a paper called “Fatalism and the Semantics of Physical Modality” that inspired the critically acclaimed American novelist David Foster Wallace (1962-2008) to rebut Taylor’s conclusions regarding fatalism.



: a doctrine that events are fixed in advance so that human beings are powerless to change them

also : a belief in or attitude determined by this doctrine

/ fatalism that regards social problems as simply inevitable


Applying the principle of bivalence (i.e. statements identified as either true or false), Taylor identified six presuppositions that appeared to prove individual powerlessness in the face of inevitable outcomes; and David Foster Wallace’s rebuttal came in the form of his 1985 honors thesis at Amherst College,  entitled:  “Fate, Time, and Language: An Essay on Free Will”.

I wrote an article in 2018 on David Foster Wallace entitled “Pessimism, Fatalism, Realism, Optimism, Hope”, and actually referenced Wallace’s (semantics vs. metaphysics) refutation of Richard Taylor’s 1962 paper.

Additionally, exactly five years ago this month, in a New Year’s article, I discussed Wallace again, in regards to the mind being an “excellent servant” and a “terrible master” and then concluded that article with these words:

To be sure, the next year and beyond will have a lot of aggravations. Things we can’t control.  If only we could focus, instead, on what we can do in any given moment while letting go of any expected outcomes. Certainly, to do otherwise is vanity.  Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst.

As such, I believe my most formidable problems consist NOT within the metaphorical rock or hill, or life’s hardships and/or any perceived unfairness… but, rather, my negative thoughts regarding these.

Therefore, as I navigate the daily grind with an impending sense of doom…. is my mind serving me or intimidating me?

In the pursuit of moving seemingly endless volumes of snow in below-zero temperatures, I recently recalled the 1993 “Alive” movie about the 1972 Uruguayan plane crash in the Andes Mountains:  The Uruguayan rugby team was en route to Chile for a match and they were in fine spirits…. until they realized they were about to collide into a mountain range. For the survivors, great hardships ensued during and after the impact.

I imagined myself in an airplane about to crash:  Assume the engines are gone and we are gliding at a high altitude with the other passengers.  We’re going down and none of us can do one thing to change what is about to happen…  except to panic, or pray, and, perhaps, fatalistically brace for impact with an attitude of pessimism and a tiny bit of hope.

In that scenario, these presuppositional statements would form in my mind prior to impact:  I can’t stop what is about to happen.  I will live or die.  If I live, it’s going to hurt in ways I can’t fully understand now.

I wondered by such thinking if I would be engaging in pessimism or realism? Is there a difference?

Paradoxically, in later metaphysical manifestations of coincidental synchronicity, or Providential Serendipity, I came across an article about a critically acclaimed 2023 film called “Society of the Snow”; and this was surprisingly followed by one of my offspring’s positive comments about the movie.

It appeared the 2023 film was a remake of the 1993 version, and my first thought was… “Why would anyone want to remake the 1993 version?”   It was, after all, very well-made and brutal to watch.

Ergo, I reconsidered the 1993 film version of the actual events from 1972:  The Uruguayan rugby players were raucous and rowdy on the plane.  Upon the first signs of trouble, there was a lack of understanding and acceptance of what was happening.  Gradually, reality set in before final impact.  The carnage was gruesome, one of the worst film representations of a plane crash I had ever seen.  Some passengers died on impact. Others were injured.  The remaining survivors held out hope of being saved before soon realizing their hope of being rescued was a self-deceiving dream.  They cannibalized the dead for sustenance.  Even after surviving the plane crash, and resorting to cannibalism to survive, many of the injured continued to die… as cascading avalanches buried and killed some of the remaining (healthier) survivors, too.

Imagine surviving a plane crash and eating your dead friends only to later be killed by falling snow. Subsequently, those who lived had fewer and fewer choices as the extreme cold and threat of additional avalanches made survival terrifyingly difficult.

Yet, during their ordeal, the crash survivors could have considered how part of the plane remained intact because it landed in an open area on the mountain; and they may have appreciated the fortuity of the snow cushioning, and progressively braking, their impact momentum; and how the intact segment of the plane granted them some shelter from the extreme cold.

These little… dare I say… gratitudes may have facilitated the survivors’ will to live as their story now continues to inspire five decades after the plane crash that should have killed them.

Coincidental synchronicity? Or Providential Serendipity?

Either way, to a far lesser degree than the Uruguayan rugby players, the winter cold, snow, and dangerous winds, have made my daily grind to survive more difficult as well.  But why complain?  What good would it do?  What harm might it bring?

To be sure, the Serenity Prayer contains elements of Stoicism:

Strauss & Howe identified progressing components of the “Crisis / Winter” phase in “The Fourth Turning”:   The “Winter” of our generation is claimed (by Howe) to have been triggered by the 2008 subprime crash. This was the catalyst. According to the theory, and observations from history, the catalystphase is then followed by a regeneration which fuels a climax that leads to a resolution.

The climax of the American Revolution, for example (i.e. surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781) was ensued by several more years of “crisis” (constitutional convention, 1st presidential election, Whiskey Rebellion. new treaty with England, etc)

Perhaps Trump’s 2016 election marked a regeneration that has fueled this crisis phase into Covid-19 (and a stolen 2020 election) that could climax in 2024? Even so, the crisis would extend well beyond this year – in the same way the Uruguayan rugby team’s survival tale continued long after their initial impact.

Or considering 2024 as an “election” year, the regeneration phase might build in the U.S. until a later, and more cataclysmic, climax and resolution occurs.  But, in either scenario, the outcome of the climax will determine the resolution. One way, or another.

Regardless, in spite of any election-year dreams of political rescue…. and given America’s “Rubik’s Cube” of problems behind problems behind problems ad infinitum…  as Strauss and Howe phrased it (posted at the top of this article)…  I remain pessimistic while possessing a certain sense of fatalism.  This is the result of understanding reality and the cold inevitability of math; especially as it becomes increasingly personal when trapped behind a rock in the hard place.

The events of this Fourth Turning’s winter season are baked into the proverbial cake, so to speak.

Food. Health. Climate. Outer Space Aliens. War. Cyber-attacks, burgeoning terrorism, Digital I.D. and CBDCs. 

False flags, propaganda, and censorship.

The globalists claim their regulations and enforcement actions are for the good of humanity, but, in reality, these are about control. And why the need for control? Because the need to control is rooted in fear. The Beast must be serviced for it to survive. It’s all about the survival of the StateBeast, pure and simple.

Agents of the Beast tell themselves they are just doing their job, it’s for the general good. This allows them to draw their paycheck so they can survive, and they lie to themselves via plausible deniability, even as most of them surely understand the truth behind their rationalizations and virtue signaling.

These agents are de facto whores in the service of wizards who have harnessed the power of the Beast via the magic of Scientism. And the agents will allow themselves to be rented until the wizards are done with them.

Perhaps, one day, the agents will realize how they were screwed and how they prostituted themselves so the wizards could screw everyone else too.

The love of money and all that. 

So I don’t expect any remorse from those who have sold their souls. Neither will I count on being politically rescued from the avalanche now descending on us all.

Last month, virus expert Geert Vanden Bossche repeated his prediction of mass deaths in highly covid-vaccinated countries.  He speculates the “died suddenly” deaths that are linear now are about to go exponential by means of proliferating disease and weakened immune response in those who have received the mRNA vaccines. He says it’s “reality” and nothing can stop it now.

If that becomes true, it might require a giant diversion – which might explain the proliferating UFO headlines, no?

In July of last year, a congressional hearing took place whereby whistleblowers testified to U.S. lawmakers regarding evidence of “non-human intelligence” on planet Earth.  Take note of how Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO) have become Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (UAP) with “implications on national security”.

Consequently, to begin the New Year, we’ve heard about classified briefings in Congress and 10-foot aliens walking around a Miami mall.

Just as some are reciting ancient Biblical scriptures over the most recent violence in the Middle East, there are those claiming the UFO phenomenon in the “last days” was also predicted in the Bible; the “fearful sights and great signs” from heaven of Luke 21:11, the Days of Noah and the return of the Nephilim (Matthew 24 & Genesis 6), the Old Testament prophet Daniel’s “vision” concerning “the appointed time of the end”, and the “falling away” / “strong delusion” of 2 Thessalonians 2. 

Regardless of what the readers believe, if 100+ mile-long alien motherships appear in the skies, or other-worldly vessels are seen entering and exiting volcanoes and/or the oceans around the earth, or shimmering UAP shoppers begin appearing at retail outlets regularly….  I suspect the worldviews of most people, including professed Christians, will be rewired by what they see – and perhaps, even the most alert, awake, and skeptical of internet blog readers will believe as well, if it were possible.

If UAP events like these were to happen while being broadcast around the world, it would make Covid’s magic spell look like child’s play, would it not?

In August of 2017, I wrote an article entitled “Crossing the Line: Blood Meridian or The Evening Redness in the West” and discussed how the shadows of two solar eclipses (on August 21, 2017 and April 8, 2024, respectively) would form a giant X as if “stamped on the nation” like “the crosshairs of a divine gun”.  I concluded that post with these words:

Crossing the blood meridian is about going too far.  It’s about losing one’s way and traversing the lines that were always there, waiting to be crossed. Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre  and the Reign of Terror, or the Purge of Stalin, or Hitler’s Kristallnacht; the night of broken glass.  The globalist’s must divide America.  They must slice her in two and then break her into bits. They may succeed.  Perhaps it was written in the stars from the beginning; and even now foreshadowed in the days ahead. The seven years between 2017 and 2024 will mark another path of totality in the West.  Just watch.

Yes. These last seven years have been unprecedented in American history. And 2024 will be insanely unpredictable as well. Then, over the next decade, the insanity will grow even worse.

You might call me a pessimist, or say I’ve succumbed to nihilism and fatalism, but you would be wrong.

I am a realist first and foremost, and the fatalistic pessimism is merely the icing on the (previously mentioned, proverbial) cake.

The Fourth Turning winter is here. It’s about to get colder.

That said, I was driving north on a near vacant road last week and the 2002 song “Courtesy Of The Red, White And Blue” by the country singer Toby Keith was playing on the radio. It is a jingoistic tune penned in response to the 911® attacks.  I enjoyed the song much more back when I was a dutiful neocon in favor of the Orwellian “Department of Homeland Security”, while gratefully taking my shoes off in airports, and still supporting the defense of liberty around the globe via bullets and bombs…

“Hey, Uncle Sam put your name at the top of his list

And the Statue of Liberty started shakin’ her fist….”

And right then, I saw a large bird flying low toward the road directly in front of me, from east to west, then ascending upward to a near perfect 45-degree angle over my windshield.  I thought it was a large hawk at first, but as I approached to within 30 yards of the bird, I noticed the lighter-colored tail feathers and, as it turned, the white head. I realized it was a bald eagle, perhaps a male because they are smaller than female eagles.

At that exact moment, I heard through the radio….

“And the eagle will fly

And there’s gonna be hell

When you hear Mother Freedom

Start ringin’ her bell

And it’ll feel like the whole wide world is raining down on you

Oh, brought to you Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue”

Some readers may doubt this happened but I pledge on my honor it occurred exactly as described.

Coincidental synchronicity? Or Providential Serendipity?

What were the odds?  And what did it mean?

I don’t have many answers. Mostly choices.




You can call me Douglas Lynn, or Doug for short, but I prefer my effervescing online moniker of “Uncola”. Welcome to The Toll Online where I hope you will enjoy my sweet and bubbly personality.

As a once successful businessman who is now a semi-retired quinquagenarian: I consider myself as one who has found the Road Less Traveled, while remaining a whiskered, whispering witness to the world.  I enjoy long walks, lively talks, surfing the interwebs and writing down my thoughts.  My favorite drink used to be a 14, also known as a Seven and Seven, but now I just take it as a Seven.

Whatever is written and/or posted here:

May it ring true,

May it ring loudly,

May it resonate near and far;

And, in the end,

May it be worth the Price, and time Spent.

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