Are You a Cultural Creative?
Do you dislike all the emphasis in modern culture on success and "making it," on getting and spending, on wealth and luxury goods? Do you care deeply about the destruction of the environment and would pay higher taxes or prices to clean it up and to stop global warming? Are you unhappy with both the left and the right in politics and want to find a new way that does not simply steer a middle course?
In this landmark book, sociologist Paul H. Ray and psychologist Sherry Ruth Anderson draw upon thirteen years of survey research studies on more than 100,000 Americans, plus more than 100 focus groups and dozens of in-depth interviews. They reveal who the Cultural Creatives are and the fascinating story of their emergence over the last generation, using vivid examples and engaging personal stories to describe their distinctive values and lifestyles.
The Cultural Creatives care deeply about ecology and saving the planet, about relationships, peace, and social justice, about 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 often than other Americans. But because they've been so invisible, they are astonished to find out how many others share both their values and their way of life. Once they realize their numbers, their impact on America promises to be enormous, shaping a new agenda for the twenty-first century.
What makes the appearance of the Cultural Creatives especially timely is that our civilization is in the midst of an epochal change, caught between globalization, accelerating technologies, and a deteriorating planetary ecology. A creative minority can have enormous leverage to carry us into a new renaissance instead of a disastrous fall. The book ends with a number of maps for the remarkable journey that our civilization is embarked upon: initiations, evolutionary models, scenarios, and the elements of a new mythos for our time. The Cultural Creatives offers a more hopeful future and prepares us all for a transition to a new, saner, and wiser culture.
Do you "give a lot of importance to helping other people and bringing out their unique gifts?" Do you "dislike all the emphasis in modern culture on success and 'making it,' on getting and spending, on wealth and luxury goods?" Do you "want to be involved in creating a new and better way of life for our country?" If you answered yes to all three of these questions--and at least seven more of the remaining 15 in Paul Ray and Sherry Anderson's questionnaire--then you are probably a Cultural Creative.
Cultural Creative is a term coined by Ray and Anderson to describe people whose values embrace a curiosity and concern for the world, its ecosystem, and its peoples; an awareness of and activism for peace and social justice; and an openness to self-actualization through spirituality, psychotherapy, and holistic practices. Cultural Creatives do not just take the money and run; they don't want to defund the National Endowment for the Arts; and they do want women to get a fairer shake--not only in the United States, but around the globe.
On the basis of Ray and Anderson's research, about 50 million Americans are Cultural Creatives, a group that includes people of all races, ages, and classes. This subculture could have enormous social and political clout, the authors argue, if only it had any consciousness of itself as a cohesive unit, a society of fellow travelers. The husband and wife team wrote the book "to hold up a mirror" to the members of this vast but diffuse group, to show them they are not alone and that they can reshape society to make it more authentic, compassionate, and engaged. It is an idealistic call for a new agenda for a new millennium. --I. Crane