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THE MIRACLE OF THE REVOLUTION
The central premise of “Life Cycles” theory is that we undergo a fundamental change every twelve years -- a revolution in our lives. This is the start of a new chapter, set to last for another twelve years. This change occurs in a momentous fashion at birth -- the greatest revolution of all. It happens again at the age of twelve, twenty-four, thirty-six, forty-eight, and sixty. It continues when we turn seventy-two, eighty-four, and beyond. I simply refer to it as the “Year of Revolution,” because that is exactly what it is. The events that occur during this year, which is measured from birthday to birthday, may be analyzed and put into the perspective of a person’s life to date. “Life Cycles” involves the systematic study of this material, both subjectively, i.e., how it affects us personally, and objectively, i.e., how others view it, in terms of our career and personal lives.
I dwell on well-known public figures because their lives are easy to research dispassionately, and the details readily verifiable. I am equally interested in the unpublished stories of all of our lives and will visit some of these cases in later chapters. I continually offer proof because “Life Cycles” is a totally new notion, so expect to be doubted and asked to provide evidence. You are reading this material on the surface level, as well as digesting it in terms of the symbolic journey you are undertaking in life. It can be equated to riding a train around a circular track, passing certain stations and stopping just twice every twelve years. Sometimes, we change perspective and hop on board this train to understand what is happening to us symbolically. We are about to do just that.
You’re comfortably seated in your first class cabin where you are the only passenger. It’s been some time since you were last disturbed. You’re enjoying the ride and, feeling snug and comfortable, the last thing you want is a sudden change. The train begins to slow imperceptibly as it travels around a bend. Then you feel it really decelerate. A large, attractive station looms ahead. Wondering what all this means, you hear the sound of brakes hissing and, finally, with a small jolt, you pull up alongside a platform. The carriage doors slide noiselessly open. Though you would rather stay inside, you have a compelling feeling that you’re required to jump off and explore.
It is morning at the large, impressive train station we call “Revolution Place.” You can tell by the angle of the sun through the glass-paneled ceiling-panes. Light pours into the station. Crystal fittings break the light into a panorama of rainbows. A highly polished marble floor gleams as you cautiously walk along. There are sounds of activity and information boards changing constantly with new updates, but there’s something fundamentally wrong. You’re alone. All of this is laid on just for you at “Revolution Place.”
As you pass from one end of the hall to the other, you see a small entranceway. A sign reads, “Enter here.” You don’t like the idea, but feel you must obey. You step into a dark passageway. The door behind you closes. You feel completely isolated and apprehensive. There are steps leading down. As you go, the temperature drops. You begin to sense a trap. It’s a dungeon. You’ll never escape.
Still, you shuffle along. Then, something happens. You bump into another set of steps, this time leading upward. Slowly you climb, still in the dark. You begin to feel you’re rounding a corner and, bit by bit, it’s becoming lighter. The further you turn the more light you see. Finally, you emerge from the passageway into a brilliant sun and cloudless sky. The warmest, most pleasant sensation overtakes you.
What has happened? Well, you’re about to see that it’s a miracle. Yes, as unreasonable as it sounds, you have another chance every twelve years. You have the possibility of another chapter in your life. Destiny rewards you with “The Miracle of the Revolution.”
Why would someone who looks mundanely at biographical summaries say this to you? Surely, a concept such as this belongs in the ambit of religious fervor or spiritual enlightenment. But, as I keep telling you, I don’t fit in there.
So, where did it all begin? After writing Book One, I slowly began to find one more piece of the jigsaw puzzle that is the “Year of Revolution.” At first, I was looking for straightforward evidence of significant change in this important twelve-month period. I was seeking examples from the lives of famous historic figures, celebrities, world leaders, people mentioned in current affairs stories, and unpublished material on friends and associates -- in fact, the more well-known the story, the better.
After a considerable time, it occurred to me that a second event in this twelve- month period might precede the most obvious highlight. This time, however, it may mark a type of temporary setback which is soon overcome.
This breakthrough happened in two stages. An idea like this had to have a beginning somewhere. It first came to me while analyzing one of the most famous historic figures of all time. This man strode the world stage of his era in a way that few others have matched. His was a life so tumultuous it riveted me to the extent that I was somewhat obsessed by it. Of whom do I speak?
The year is 1805 and the country is France. There is only one man alive who believes it is his legitimate destiny to rule the world -- Napoleon Bonaparte.
Napoleon was forever scheming to conquer Europe and England and then, no doubt, the world. In May 1803, following an uneasy fourteen-month truce, England once again declared war on France. Napoleon, with the intention of capturing England, decided to reassemble a huge invasion camp of 200,000 men at Boulogne. To sail his army across the Channel on a flotilla of barges, he would first have to end English naval superiority. In his own words, he saw this as possible in one short, decisive maneuver: “Let us be masters of the Channel for six hours and we are masters of the world.”
This was easier said than done, of course, with the English blockading the combined French and Spanish fleets in three different ports -- all 2,000 ships. Napoleon ordered all fleets to break free. In early 1805, one fleet at Toulon broke out and sailed to the West Indies, but was chased back and attacked by the English Navy.
Napoleon celebrated his thirty-sixth birthday on August 15, 1805. All was not to be lost if his Admiral, Pierre Villeneuve, pushed on to Brest to join forces with another fleet. However, on Napoleon’s very birthday, Villeneuve decided to sail for Cadiz, so Napoleon had to give up the idea of invasion. He renamed the force at Boulogne the Grand Armee and, in September, marched them to Ulm, in modern day Germany, to meet a combined threat from Austria and Russia.
Worse was to come. In frustration, Napoleon ordered the fleet at Cadiz to sail out to meet the blockading enemy at Cape Trafalgar. So, on October 21, an ill-prepared but numerically superior French and Spanish fleet was about to encounter a highly trained force under the military genius of Horatio Nelson. Can you see what happened to Napoleon? Can you see where he was within his “Revolution Place”? He had entered the one-way passage, the door had closed behind him, and he had fumbled and stumbled down the stairs in the dark. The temperature had dropped. He had grown apprehensive. Napoleon admired Nelson and worried about Villeneuve, so gave last minute orders to replace the hapless admiral with a better commander. Villeneuve got wind of this and decided to sail the fleet before the messenger arrived.
Nelson had grappled with the strategic issue of how to completely destroy an enemy fleet in a single encounter, rather than inflict the usual damages to both sides and retreat. He had a plan. He was going to sail in two vertical lines, one straight at the enemy to split them in two, the other to cut off their retreat. You all know the outcome. This was the English Navy’s greatest ever victory. In the space of just one day, the French managed to lose twenty-two ships of a total of thirty-three. Not a single English ship was destroyed.
Napoleon had been humiliated and kept the news secret for weeks. He would never challenge the Royal Navy again. Fighting his combined enemies on the European mainland at the same time, he must have been concerned. At that moment, he was at the bottom of the darkened chamber and probably believed he’d never make it out. In honor of him, I call such a time the “Trafalgar Moment,” and analyze every “Year of Revolution” with this in mind.
That, of course, is only half the story. The other half is even more spectacular. Napoleon had succeeded against the Austrians at Ulm and Vienna, but the Russian army arrived and he faced the possibility of hostility on the Prussian front. Somehow, he had to force the Russians to battle and win. It was his only chance.
By late November, Napoleon gave the Allied forces the impression that his army was in a weak state and he wanted a negotiated peace. In fact, he desired that the Allies attack him and deliberately weakened his right flank. His advisors recommended retreat, but Napoleon shrugged them off and ordered his troops at Vienna to march seventy miles in forty-eight hours to provide essential support. They arrived just in time.
The Battle of the Three Emperors between Napoleon and the Emperors of Austria and Russia began on December 2, 1805 at Austerlitz, now the eastern Czech Republic. At 8.45 a.m., Napoleon stood before his troops at the bottom of a hill in heavy fog, ordering an attack and announcing, “One sharp blow; and the war is over.” As they advanced up the Pratzen Heights, the now legendary “Sun of Austerlitz” broke through the fog and encouraged them forward. The Russians were stunned to see the French almost on top of them. Fierce fighting erupted. The battle had firmly turned in France’s favor, but was far from over.