Aug 242009

Are you someone who who cares deeply about ecology and saving the planet, about relationships, peace, social justice, and about authenticity, self actualization, spirituality and self-expression? How about noticing that both the left and right wing political voices seem to missing something essential? Have you ever felt like it’s just you and a few odd people you know who really “get it”?

In case you have never heard of the term cultural creative, it was coined and made popular by Paul Ray & Sherry Anderson, through their (c)2000 book The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World. The sociological survey they conducted on American values shows that there are three distinct demographic groups coexisting today. Cultural Creatives are the most recent emergence, and are still virtually invisible to major news media.

This demographic exists as fully here in the heartland of Oklahoma as everywhere else. While it may be somewhat disconcerting to notice it at first, the consciousness community is no doubt made up of cultural creatives. We are not lone rangers and jeremiahs, but actually members of a large and growing (yet heretofore recognized), broad-ranging group of individuals who share very similar basic core values.

Look up, look around, and say hello!

Like Jerry Garcia says, “strangers stopping strangers, just to shake their hand, ev’rybody’s playin’ in the Heart of Gold band”.

Excerpted from Paul and Sherry’s site:

The Big News: Cultural Creatives Are Here!

Does the religious right have a hammerlock on values in America? Is the new American dream really about getting and spending, and being the first zillionaire on the block? At the turn of the millennium, fifty million ordinary Americans emphatically disagree. They are the Cultural Creatives – the leading edge creators of a new culture in America.

One in four Americans, 50 million adults, have changed their values, lifestyles and world views (literally, what they think is real) and it’s going to make a big impact on all our lives. In many ways, it already is, but few of the new developments are treated as news by the conventional media.

So, who are the Cultural Creatives?

The Cultural Creatives are 50 million Americans who care deeply about ecology and saving the planet, about relationships, peace, social justice, and about authenticity, self actualization, spirituality and self-expression. Surprisingly, they are both inner-directed and socially concerned, they’re activists, volunteers and contributors to good causes more than other Americans.

However, because they’ve been so invisible in American life, Cultural Creatives themselves are astonished to find out how many share both their values and their way of life. They have no idea how big a group they are, a quarter of the adults in America, and how important they can be to American life. If you ask them, “how many people share your values, what you see as most important in life?” they will tell you that it’s just them and a few of their friends. Press them on this point and they’ll say, “Oh maybe 1% or 5% of Americans” But with that 5% they’re ready to pull back, sure that they’ve exaggerated their numbers. Once they realize their numbers, their impact on American life promises to be enormous, shaping a new agenda for the twenty-first century.

… people departed from Modern or Traditional cultures to weave new ways of life, and let go of the culture wars. There are now Three Americas struggling to define what the country should be: Traditionals, Moderns and Cultural Creatives. …the Cultural Creatives in particular grew out of the social movements of the Sixties right up to Seattle’s WTO demonstrations, and from the consciousness movements in spirituality, psychology and alternative health …all the different kinds of movements are converging now, and the Cultural Creatives are right at the center of it all.

Real Evidence

…We have immense amounts of survey research – from over 100,000 people over 13 years, and 500 focus groups, and sixty depth interviews to give personal stories of how people’s lives are changing. This is the first book on social transformation to offer lots of hard data to show it’s really true. What it shows is that it’s here right now, and it’s much bigger than we thought.

The Importance of Women

60% of Cultural Creatives are women, and in the Core, it’s two to one women.

This is about women’s values and concerns coming into the public sphere. If you name something women care deeply about, you’ll find it has been changed by Cultural Creatives values over the last years.

… The men and women care about the same things, and use the same language to talk about what they want to do…

A Special Time in History

We’re living at a special time in history. Modernism is ending, and we’re going into a whole new era, one that we don’t know very much about. Our biggest challenges are to preserve life on the planet and to find a way past the overwhelming spiritual and psychological emptiness of modern life.

And this is what makes the Cultural Creatives so important at this time. This is a tipping point time, a time of change where there is enormous leverage for a creative minority to really make a difference. In the next few years, the concerns of the Cultural Creatives will be ever more important, as we come to rethink and reinvent practically every institution of American life.

You can only understand the phenomenon of the Cultural Creatives by taking a longer time perspective than we’re used to:

…think back to how different the U.S. is today than it was 40 years ago, and see how much the new social and consciousness movements have changed how we see the world.
…you can’t see where we’re going in the future unless you notice that the urban industrial culture of Modern life is already morphing into something new. It’s being replaced by an information age, and a biotechnology age, and a more spiritual and ecological age, with the Cultural Creatives right at the center of the soft innovations that go with the hard technologies.

A Great Current of Change

All the movements of consciousness and social concern are converging on one new world view, that has both planetary and consciousness concerns at its center.

The Cultural Creatives are emerging as a substantial new force in American life, and they are at the center of this convergence.

Whole new movements are developing that have the convergence built in from the beginning. The environmental health movement is a good example, combining a concern for one’s own health, own family’s health with a concern for the health of the environment, realizing that many diseases are being caused by industrial toxins in the environment, and by new disease spread by our growing global interconnections.

The information age, the internet, global commerce and finance, and growing world travel are all contributing to a global learning process that is coming to look our own societal learning process over the last 40 years. People of every country are learning from one another, but also they’re becoming involved in each other’s problems rather than ignoring them.

We Need a New Story for Our Time

The old story of who we are doesn’t work any more, and we need to discover new guiding stories, new maps for the territory ahead in our immediate future. We’re starting out on a new journey as a civilization and we need maps and guides to help us on our way. How can you have maps when you’re going to a brand new place?

Once you get that this is not just ramping up to the next new level of prosperity and consumer goods, you can respond to a time of danger and opportunity, at a tipping point in our civilization. We’re going to be at a rite of passage in our whole civilization, leaving an old way of life and entering a transition time on the way to something really new. We have to take care not to be caught by exaggerated fears or ungrounded dreams.

It’s a time when wisdom is needed, because we’re living in an anarchy of information. The convergence of all the movements means that there is now a lot of momentum in civil society for fundamental change, and with the Cultural Creatives at the center of it, there’s going to be a positive force for creating a whole new civilization.

Redefining Fulfillment and Wholeness

Cultural Creatives say it’s not just a matter of personal fulfillment or social engagement, it’s both/and. They’re moving away from materialism and toward spirituality in their personal lives. They are also moving toward relationships and connection, and toward a concern for the whole planet.

The emergence of the Cultural Creatives is not about yuppies and self-indulgence, it’s about the people who care, and who are taking steps to make it practical and real.

Cultural Creative Links

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