The image is of England's Stonehenge
Are you a cultural creative? The other day my longtime Austin friend, Connie, and I got together for lunch. It had been a while. Like always, we launched into important things first - who's doing what, relationships, our kids, our work. Eventually we got around to bitching about the out-of-control stuff going on in the world.
We decided that we didn't believe the world was ending. But it was pretty miserable. And because we're both optimistic, we shared people, places and things that give us hope. In this mix Connie suggested I read a study that's been around for a while, but is uber encouraging for today.
When the book was delivered I claimed the well researched and thoroughly referenced volume, settled into an armchair and started turning pages. Transfixed by the Cultural Creative concept, it was an hour before I raised my head. It feels almost spooky to sense in the pages, the tremors of a way of life that wasn't sustainable. The book was published in 2000...before 9-11, when having a PC was a new thing, before Facebook and the explosion of social media, before Iraq and Afghanistan, before the crash of 2008, but the sense of dis-ease is all here. A lot of us knew and were actively reaching for something more. It's a fascinating read...and so I share with you...spreading the encouragement I feel for how many of us have awakened ...how much our envisioning has reformed reality...and awareness that future creativity and imagination by more and more of us is the answer to healing all that is broken on our planet.
In research focused on American values since the 1980’s, Ray and Anderson, a husband and wife team—scientist and psychologist--report thirteen years of research. Ronald Reagan was President when they began their study in 1987! Golden years in retrospect...or so it seems. And yet...the Cultural Creatives study sees what is to come. Ray and Anderson's research on more than 100,000 Americans was facilitated through hundreds of focus groups, and sixty in-depth interviews. This prophetic study tracks the emergence of an entire subculture of far-from-mainstream Americans foreshadowing the outliers who would fast-forward our culture into this century.
In their work, we Creatives - I immediately belonged in this network! - contrast with Traditionals and Moderns. Traditionalists want to take things back to the way they were. (Yeah. This was before the named political/religious right emerged. But they are definitely here in the study.) Creatives want simplicity, a more hassle-free life but not past values.
Moderns accept our contemporary urban-industrial world as the obvious right way to live. They assume what’s important without question. Especially values which uphold modern economic and public life...money and politics. Do I hear, "Greed is good?"
Cutting across cultural, religious and political lines, we Cultural Creatives are outliers, a uniquely divergent group not like each other necessarily but all believing there is a better way to live...and it's our job to create it.
The study says there are millions of us. Until the internet and social media exploded - and carried us into each other's homes - we might never have connected. Creatives are in fact defined by our constant - close to obsessive? - search for alternatives to national and international issues.
We're no way about returning to traditional American families or religion as the solution. And even if we don't go to church on Sunday like our founding fathers did...and even if our families aren't traditional - dad, mom and 2 kids - we've probably searched for spiritual answers in many religions, many spiritual practices. We may not value climbing the corporate ladder but we know success in our business lives as we choose to define it. We probably don't even want mega-wealth, but we are conscious consumers of out-of-the-box excellence. Focus is what sets us apart. Personal values define us.
Creatives express concern for:
~ecological and planetary perspectives
~emphasis on relationships and women’s point of view
~commitment to spirituality and psychological development
~dissatisfaction with large institutions of modern life
~rejection of materialism and status display
~social activism which seeks solutions
In our lifetimes, we Creatives have had lots of challenges and epiphanies in the process of discovering and trusting our own truth. Through trial and error, we piece together a life we passionately care about. The word independent is often used when discussing Creatives. Stepping away from the mainstream and conceiving our own truth, obvious personality characteristics stand out:
~Perseverance toward worthy goals
~Impatience with hype
~Capacity for self-reflection
~Open-mindedness that seems natural when you trust yourself enough to listen to others without fear of losing your own sense of direction
Thank you Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and all the creatives geniuses who have taken us into the universe of world-connectivity through the internet. We are communicating, we are sharing, we are networking and imagining incredibly creative solutions to world issues because of your pioneering visioning...