Do Cycles Rule Your Life? (Mar, 1952)

There are a lot of jokes to be made here about the cycles he left out, but I think I’ll leave those to the comments.

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Do Cycles Rule Your Life?

If science manages to chart the rhythms of the universe, the world may be able to predict its own wars, depressions and epidemics.

By Lester David

THE stock market will hit the crest of a rising wave in the mid-1950s.

There will be extra good salmon fishing in eastern Canada in 1953.

Diphtheria and influenza will strike hard in the U. S. in 1953.

These predictions, and many others, are based on an amazing yet little known science—cycle research. A group of some 3,000 scientists, delving deep into history, is charting the occurrence of wars, business activities, disease, weather, earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions—even your own emotions.

And they have discovered that these things happen over and over again in distinct, rhythmic cycles—cycles which can be projected into the future!

Intensive studies have been going on for years and right now the scientists are closer than ever before to a tremendous discovery. For thousands of years men have tried- and failed— to find a foolproof method of peering into the misty future. Now for the first time, a science whose adherents include some of the most eminent thinkers in the world is showing promise of lifting the veil of secrecy from great events of the future.

Here is what the Foundation for the Study of Cycles, an organization formed in 1940 to carry on intensive research in the field, declares in its official bulletin:

“Wherever we have regularity, we are at the heart of predictability. The power to predict accurately is the acid test of the degree of precision reached in any science. Whenever cycles have repeated themselves enough times, and with sufficient regularity so that they cannot reasonably be the result of chance, we cannot ignore the possibility that they may continue.”

That statement is backed by such members of the foundation’s committee as Harold G. Bowen, executive director of the Thomas A. Edison Foundation; Harlow Shapley, director of the Harvard University observatory; Harold E. Anthony, curator of mammals of the American Museum of Natural History; Charles G. Abbot of the Smithsonian Institution; and Julian Huxley, director general of the U. N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

What have the cycle scientists found out so far? These are just a few of the recent results of their exhaustive labors:
As far back as figures are available, the stock market has gone up and down in cycles of about nine years in length.

From the year 1400 to the present, international battles have shown a distinct 22-year cycle, an average of 11 years of relative peace followed by 11 years of relative conflict.

Churchgoing reaches its high point every nine years.

In certain areas of the world, births of new babies are at their peak every 29-1/2 days.

Disease recurs at regular intervals—influenza and pneumonia every three years, diphtheria every seven years, measles every two years, whooping cough every 41 months.

The overwhelming importance of cycles is clear—if things have happened over and over in the past in a regular pattern, that pattern can be mapped and thrust into the future!

And there are many specific ways in which the cycle scientists envisage the practical adaptations of their work. For instance, long-range weather charts, extending over a much longer period than is now possible, would be drawn up. These could prove to be of immeasurable importance to farmers, fuel companies, clothing manufacturers—in fact, to any individual or industry for whom the vagaries of the weather are of prime importance.

Business men, knowing far in advance when recessions will strike, could prepare for them by reducing overhead and inventories, thus preventing the bankruptcies which follow in the wake of unexpected business dips.

The tragedies which ensue when earthquakes, tidal waves, volcanoes or forest fires suddenly strike, could be minimized if adequate warning were given to communities.

If the abundance of game fluctuates in regular cycles, special conservation methods could be rigidly enforced at the bottom of the curve and more hunting and fishing could be permitted at the crest in order to insure a continued balance.

And cycles could help you in your daily life too. If you’re planning a fishing trip, for example, you’d be able to consult.a chart which would tell you just exactly how the catch will be in the spot where you’re heading.

You could take special precautions against disease; you could stock your larder with food items which will be in short supply; you could hold off building your house until after building construction hits a peak.

Predictions based upon cycles are by no means just a laboratory curiosity. Here are only a few of the predictions all over the world which came true:

A Japanese professor, Dr. Omari, issued an urgent warning to the inhabitants of one of the Kurile Islands north of Japan that a long-dormant volcano was getting ready to belch fire and flame. He even specified the month when lava would begin to flow down its steep sides and cascade through the crude native villages. But the people scoffed—the volcano had not erupted for generations.

Almost to the day designated by Dr. Omari, a low, ominous rumbling came from the depths of the crater. It grew louder and louder and then, with a sudden, thunderous roar, the volcano began to pour its horror and devastation over the country- Dr. Omari is no black-robed, crystal-ball-gazing Merlin of the Orient. He had scientifically studied the actions of volcanoes in the eastern hemisphere, learned they tended to erupt at periodic intervals . and found that the one in the Kuriles had exploded every 65 years for centuries. He had projected the cycle and mapped the next blowup.

In another corner of the globe, the Hudson’s Bay Company of Canada found that in some years Indian trappers brought in huge quantities of lynx skins, and other years they brought in few. Everyone accepted the fact that lynx were simply more abundant from time to time but no one did anything about it until an enterprising company official dug into the records and charted the number of pelts brought in from 1844 on. He learned that some years there were as few as 4,000, and as many as 70,000 in others. But there was a regular, rhythmic pattern in the figures—they ebbed and hit a peak every nine years!

Thus, knowing in advance what the intake would be, the company was in a far better business position right down the line.

In still another corner of the world— Bombay, India—scientists discovered that the plague made its visitation for 20 consecutive years at intervals of one year and four days, almost to the hour. Based on cycles, an influenza epidemic was predicted . for the U. S. for 1950 and it arrived on schedule.

Back in the 1870s, Samuel Benner charted a long-range cycle of pig-iron prices, predicting the highs and the lows. And for more than 70 years, his forecasts have been phenomenally accurate. Many men have made fortunes by following his predictions.

In 1939, Professor F. A. Pearson, W. I. Myers and G. E. Brandow, at that time all of Cornell University, made a forecast on residential building construction through 1950. The crest they predicted for 1942 began on schedule but succumbed to war conditions and the high point, due in 1944, was delayed until 1946. The regular swings then snapped right back as the professors had anticipated and hit a high in April, 1950, exactly as predicted 11 years earlier.

Professor Rex B. Hersey of the University of Pennsylvania, after exhaustive analysis, learned that individual males tend to have their own emotional ups and downs in rhythmic cycles which may vary from two and a half to nine and a half weeks, depending on the person.

Another study showed that more crimes, suicides and cases of insanity occur in summer than at any other time of the year.

Now about wars. Dr. Raymond H. Wheeler, head of the psychology and philosophy department of the Babson Institute of Business Administration and chief of staff of the Climate Research Division of the Weather Science Foundation, has prepared the most complete index of wars ever published. It presents a detailed graphic picture of the wars which afflicted mankind from 599 B. C. on.

Analyzing the chart, Mr. Dewey of the cycle foundation has this to say:

“There is a scientific basis for the popular belief that major war periods recur at intervals of about 22 years. Major periods of international conflict are, therefore, at least partially predictable.

“But do not let this lull anyone into any false sense of security. Every year past 1953 or 1954 increases the danger and, by 1960, international conflict should be quite severe if tendencies of the past continue.”

And, concludes Mr. Dewey, the peak will probably be reached in the early 1960s.

A vital implication of studies on wars is that they may throw some light on the more fundamental causes of conflict among nations. “Some day,” Mr. Dewey says, “it may be found that mankind at certain periods is more excitable and commits acts which lead to wars, while at other times people behave more conservatively.”

And now about the stock market. A new study, completed last June, showed that there has been a cycle of about nine years in length in industrial common stock prices.

“As nearly as can be determined at present, the length of this cycle is 9.2 years,” Mr. Dewey says. “This is the most important single cycle discovered to date in industrial stock market prices.”

But there is an important point to consider, and it demonstrates the weakness of cycle study in the stock market up to now. You can’t—at least not yet—say with assurance that the market will hit a high every 9.2 years, and thus make a killing every time. You can’t do it because this 9.2 cycle is only one of many forces operating in the stock market, just as flour is only one of many ingredients in chocolate cake.

Nevertheless, patterns are clearly evident— off in timing here and there, but apparent. And, says Mr. Dewey, “the next crest of the ideal wave is due late in 1955.”

Nobody knows the why of cycles. Science admittedly doesn’t know the answer yet. But science in the meantime is using the knowledge it does have to throw light on the future.

That light may shine on women’s clothes female fashion cycles, it has been discovered, run for 35 years, from body-hugging modes to full bustles. Prediction: At the rate things are going, we can expect bustles back in style in 1970.

Or that light may shine on the future of the world—Dr. Wheeler has noted a correlation between history and climate cycles of 45, 90 and 510 years. When warm seasons replace cold ones, the world basks in a period of idealism, such as the Italian Renaissance. In cold periods, regimes topple, cruelty takes over, dictators come to the fore, the birth rate drops.

Prediction: The world will enter a cold trough in 1980 and come out of it in the year 2000, when the brotherhood of man will reign in a universal democracy, and tolerance, international amity and good will envelop the earth and its people.

Do cycles really rule your life? Well, as recently as last October, cycle students came up with this almost unbelievable fact: a 37-year cycle was plainly seen in 12 separate and completely unrelated things, ranging from wheat and cotton prices to the frequency of sunspots and the growth of Arizona pine trees!

The scientists reached back 1,500 years and found the same 37-year interval in the frequency of the aurora borealis, the recurrence of Chinese earthquakes, floods of the Nile River, temperatures at New Haven, Conn., severe winters in Europe and a number of other things.

Only an accident of cosmic proportions? “Certainly,” say the unbelievers. “Hardly,” say many reputable scientists. Something must be behind it, they say. Something vast, unreachable, as yet beyond the grasp of man’s intellect.

Certainly scientists are now striving toward an understanding of this mystery. And if and when they finally come to know all about cycles, the world may be shocked to discover that its destiny is in its own hands.

  1. Blurgle says: May 30, 200711:28 pm

    Let’s see how they stack up.

    Prediction: THE stock market will hit the crest of a rising wave in the mid-1950s.

    Reality: It did rise in the mid 1950s, but it didn’t crest; after a short recession in 1957 it rose even higher in the late 1950s and through the 60s.

    Prediction: Diphtheria and influenza will strike hard in the U. S. in 1953.

    Reality: Immunization against diphtheria meant no US epidemic. Influenza did not strike any harder than normal in the US. The US was however struck with a polio epidemic in the mid 50s, with the South (and especially military bases) particularly hard-hit.

    Prediction: the peak [of war] will probably be reached in the early 1960s.

    Reality: Although the Cuban Missile Crisis almost caused a war, the early 60s don’t seem to have been more volatile than any other time. (I’m not counting just wars in which the US participated but wars in general, including civil wars.)

    Prediction: we can expect bustles back in style in 1970.

    Reality: Bustles did not come back in 1970. Bustles have never come back. Bustles will never come back (my prediction). However, I have a feeling ye olde writer doesn’t know his bustle from his crinoline.

    Prediction: The world will enter a cold trough in 1980 and come out of it in the year 2000, when the brotherhood of man will reign in a universal democracy, and tolerance, international amity and good will envelop the earth and its people.

    Reality: I wish.

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