The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World

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Do you dislike all the emphasis in modern culture on success and “making it,” on getting and spending, on wealth and luxury goods?

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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. 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 offers a more hopeful future and prepares us all for a transition to a new, saner, and wiser culture.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Coauthors Ray and Anderson believe that an American cultural revolution is afoot. they contend that, like many cultural shifts, it appears indistinct from a distance. But, whether we call these revolutionaries "cultural creatives" or "new age" or "ecocentrists," the force of their optimistic and ethical message is upon us. Indeed, the author maintain that forty-four million U.S. adults show loyalty to this spiritual core, and major political parties ignore them at the risk of their own survival.
From the Publisher
"There is no way to overestimate the contribution that Ray and Anderson have made to our understanding of the times in which we live. They have put their finger on the pulse of an entire generation. Just knowing who we are, having a name as it were, gives Cultural Creatives more power to affect the world."        
-- Marianne Williamson,        author of Healing the Soul of America

"The Cultural Creatives is a bold announcement that the starting gun for social transformation has already gone off. . . . Essential reading for understanding the converging forces for profound social change in the coming decades."        
-- Duane Elgin, author of Promise Ahead and Voluntary Simplicity

"A really interesting perspective on the history and growth of the modern consciousness movements. The Cultural Creatives helps us understand who we can be -- it gives hope."
-- Jack Kornfield,        author of A Path with Heart

"The Cultural Creatives tells the human story behind some of the most significant and intriguing research of the new millennium -- 50 million pioneers who have broken out of the cultural trance and are creating effective change in the world. This is a truly inspiring and essential resource for creating a new politics."        
-- Corinne McLaughlin, coauthor of Spiritual Politics:        Changing the World from the Inside Out and executive director of the Center for Visionary Leadership

"Written with passion, The Cultural Creatives sows seeds of ecological ethics, idealism, and economic justice. Paul Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson have made a much-needed contribution to the good fight."
-- Randall Hayes, founder and president of the Rainforest Action Network

"Hallelujah! The Cultural Creatives brings us spectacular, inspiring good news: our long-desired sea change has occurred, each of us 'cultural creatives' is not alone, together we now amount to a critical mass sufficient to transform America!"        
-- John Vasconcellos, California State Senator

From the Hardcover edition.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In an attempt to reconceptualize shifting American demographics that's similar to David Brook's Bobos in Paradise (Forecasts, Mar. 13), Ray and Anderson posit that hidden within America are 50 million people, 26% of the population, who are what they call "cultural creatives." Based on 12 years of survey research, 100 focus groups and dozens of interviews, their study presents a complex portrait of these citizens. According to the authors, cultural creatives share a series of attitudes and concerns: "they like to get a synoptic view [and] see all the parts spread out side by side and trace the interconnections"; they have strong concerns about the well-being of families; they have a well-developed social consciousness and a "guarded optimism for the future"; they are disenchanted with "owning more stuff... materialism... status display and the glaring social inequities of race" and are critical of almost every big institution of modern society, including corporations and government. This cultural group--drawn from all classes, races, education and income levels and social backgrounds--has emerged only during the past 50 years and, according to the authors, forms a coherent subculture, only "missing a self-awareness as a whole people." Ray and Anderson argue that cultural creatives hold the potential for radically reshaping the values and material realities, the "deep structure," of American life, and so they aim to make this group cognizant of their shared values, to bring about substantive changes. More successful than Brooks in grappling with issues of gender, ethnicity, race and class, Ray and Anderson offer unusual insights that, while broad and sweeping, shed new light on American culture and politics. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
Ray, a market researcher, and Anderson, a psychologist and coauthor of The Feminine Face of God, have written a book about the 50 million so-called "cultural creatives" whose lifestyles and beliefs have been significantly informed by the social movements of the 1960s and 1970s. According to the authors, this group of Americans--which includes environmentalists, feminists, and those interested in alternative medicine, natural foods, and new forms of spirituality--advances progressive causes by effecting cultural change rather than by participating in organizational politics. In turn a demographic study, a history of the environmental and Civil Rights movements, and a self-help manual, this book seeks to get cultural creatives to recognize their collective strength and bring it to bear on the problems created by global capitalism. The authors have definitely put their finger on an important trend in American life, and many readers will find themselves described within these pages. However, the book suffers from its expansive perspective; important social movements get cursory attention while lengthy anecdotes at times seem redundant or superfluous. Still, it is recommended for public libraries.--Andrew Brodie Smith, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Lib., Washington, DC Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Kirkus Reviews
A vision of things to come, with emphasis on the character of those who will bring them.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780609808450
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/2/2001
  • Pages: 370
  • Sales rank: 797,689
  • Product dimensions: 7.42 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul H. Ray, Ph.D., was educated at Yale and the University of Michigan. Currently he is executive vice president of American LIVES, Inc., a market research and opinion polling firm doing research on the lifestyles and values of Americans.

Sherry Ruth Anderson, Ph.D., was educated at Goucher College and the University of Toronto, where she was an associate professor and head of psychological research at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry. She is the author of numerous articles in psychology and coauthor of the bestselling Feminine Face of God. The authors are married and live in Northern California.

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Read an Excerpt

Are you a cultural creative?
Check the boxes of statements you agree with. If you agree with 10 or more, you probably are one -- and a higher score increases the odds. You are likely to be a Cultural Creative if you . . .

1.___   love nature and are deeply concerned about its destruction

2. ___ are strongly aware of the problems of the whole planet (global warming, destruction of rain forests, overpopulation, lack of ecological sustainability, exploitation of people in poorer countries) and want to see more action on them, such as limiting economic growth

3. ___ would pay more taxes or pay more for consumer goods if you knew the money would go to clean up the environment and to stop global warming

4. ___ give a lot of importance to developing and maintaining your relationships

5. ___ give a lot of importance to helping other people and bringing out their unique gifts

6. ___ volunteer for one or more good causes

7. ___ care intensely about both psychological and spiritual development

8. ___ see spirituality or religion as important in your life but are also concerned about the role of the Religious Right in politics

9. ___ want more equality for women at work, and more women leaders in business and politics

10. ___ are concerned about violence and the abuse of women and children around the world

11. ___ want our politics and government spending to put more emphasis on children's education and well-being, on rebuilding our neighborhoods and communities, and on creating an ecologically sustainable future

12. ___ are unhappy with both the left and the right in politics and want to find a new way that is not in the mushy middle

13. ___ tend to be rather optimistic about our future and distrust the cynical and pessimistic view that is given by the media

14. ___ want to be involved in creating a new and better way of life in our country

15. ___ are concerned about what the big corporations are doing in the name of making more profits: downsizing, creating environmental problems, and exploiting poorer countries

16. ___ have your finances and spending under control and are not concerned about overspending

17. ___ dislike all the emphasis in modern culture on success and "making it," on getting and spending, on wealth and luxury goods

18. ___ like people and places that are exotic and foreign, and like experiencing and learning about other ways of life

Introducing the Cultural Creatives

Imagine a country the size of France suddenly sprouting in the middle of the United States. It is immensely rich in culture, with new ways of life, values, and worldviews. It has its own heroes and its own vision for the future. Think how curious we all would be, how interested to discover who these people are and where they have come from. In Washington and on the Sunday morning news shows, politicians would certainly have strong opinions about what it all means, and pundits would be expressing their views with their usual certainty. Businesses would be planning strategies to market to this population, and political groups would be exploring alliances. The media, of course, would be blazing with first-person interviews and inside stories of the new arrivals, instead of the latest Beltway scandals.

Now imagine something different. There is a new country, just as big and just as rich in culture, but no one sees it. It takes shape silently and almost invisibly, as if flown in under radar in the dark of night. But it's not from somewhere else. This new country is decidedly American. And unlike the first image, it is emerging not only in the cornfields of Iowa but on the streets of the Bronx, all across the country from Seattle to St. Augustine. It is showing up wherever you'd least expect it: in your brother's living room and your sister's backyard, in women's circles and demonstrations to protect the redwoods, in offices and churches and online communities, coffee shops and bookstores, hiking trails and corporate boardrooms.

Shaping a New Culture

This new country and its people are the subject of this book. We report thirteen years of survey research on more than 100,000 Americans, hundreds of focus groups, and about sixty in-depth interviews that reveal the emergence of an entire subculture of Americans. Their distinctive beliefs and values are shown in the self-scoring questionnaire on page xiv. The underlying themes express serious ecological and planetary perspectives, emphasis on relationships and women's point of view, commitment to spirituality and psychological development, disaffection with the large institutions of modern life, including both left and right in politics, and rejection of materialism and status display.

Since the 1960s, 26 percent of the adults in the United States -- 50 million people -- have made a comprehensive shift in their worldview, values, and way of life -- their culture, in short. These creative, optimistic millions are at the leading edge of several kinds of cultural change, deeply affecting not only their own lives but our larger society as well. We call them the Cultural Creatives because, innovation by innovation, they are shaping a new kind of American culture for the twenty-first century.

One useful way to view the idea of "culture" is as a large repertoire of solutions for the problems and passions that people consider important in each time period. So these are the people who are creating many of the surprising new cultural solutions required for the time ahead. In the chapters that follow, we tell their stories and the story of how they are changing our world.

A Long-Anticipated Moment

When we say that a quarter of all Americans have taken on a whole new worldview, we are pointing to a major development in our civilization. Changing a worldview literally means changing what you think is real. Some closely related changes contribute to and follow from changes in worldview: changes in values, your fundamental life priorities; changes in lifestyle, the way you spend your time and money; and changes in livelihood, how you make that money in the first place.

As recently as the early 1960s, less than 5 percent of the population was engaged in making these momentous changes -- too few to measure in surveys. In just over a generation, that proportion grew steadily to 26 percent. That may not sound like much in this age of nanoseconds, but on the timescale of whole civilizations where major developments are measured in centuries, it is shockingly quick. And it's not only the speed of this emergence that is stunning. Its extent is catching even the most alert observers by surprise. Officials of the European Union, hearing of the numbers of Cultural Creatives in the United States, launched a related survey in each of their fifteen countries in September 1997. To their amazement, the evidence suggested that there are at least as many Cultural Creatives across Europe as we reported in the United States.

Visionaries and futurists have been predicting a change of this magnitude for well over two decades. Our research suggests that this long-anticipated cultural moment may have arrived. The evidence is not only in the numbers from our survey questionnaires but in the everyday lives of the people behind those numbers. The sheer size of the Cultural Creative population is already affecting the way Americans do business and politics. They are the drivers of the demand that we go beyond environmental regulation to real ecological sustainability, to change our entire way of life accordingly. They demand authenticity -- at home, in the stores, at work, and in politics. They support women's issues in many areas of life. They insist on seeing the big picture in news stories and ads. This is already influencing the marketplace and public life. Because Cultural Creatives are not yet aware of themselves as a collective body, they do not recognize how powerful their voices could be. And if the rest of us are blind to the paradoxical gifts that their awakening brings, then we may well be left wondering where all the changes are coming from.

This book aims to sharpen our collective awareness with an in-depth look into who the Cultural Creatives are and what their emergence means for them and for all of us. Whether you are a Cultural Creative or share an office, a home, or a bed with one, or whether you simply want to create new projects or do business with Cultural Creatives, you'll discover what differences their presence will make in your life.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Table of Contents

Preface xi
Are you a cultural creative? xiv
Part 1 Introducing the cultural creatives 1
Chapter 1 Who are the cultural creatives? 7
Chapter 2 Becoming a cultural creative 43
Chapter 3 The three americas 65
Part 2 A creation story 97
Chapter 4 Challenging the codes 107
Chapter 5 Turning green 139
Chapter 6 Waking up 169
Chapter 7 A great current of change 205
Part 3 Maps for the journey 231
Chapter 8 Into the between 235
Chapter 9 Caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly 263
Chapter 10 A wisdom for our time 287
Chapter 11 Inventing a new culture 315
Epilogue: the ten thousand mirrors 343
Appendix A Survey results 349
Notes 351
Index 363
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 5, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Encouraging for Humanity

    Culteral Creatives are those who care deeply about humanity and are committed to saving the planet and pursuing social justice through self-actualization and/or spiritual wisdom. In contrast to Moderns (those who accept current mainstream systems) and Traditionals (those who reject current mainstream systems and look backwards for solutions), Culteral Creatives inwardly depart from the Modern materialistic worldview and seek to go beyond current systems to bridge an old way of life with a new, more sustainable, way of doing things. The book is divided into three parts: I. Introducing the Culteral Creatives (Who are they? Where do they come from? How do they compare to Moderns and Traditionals?); II. A Creation Story (Challenging the codes, Turning green, Waking up, and Embracing change); and III. Maps for the Journey (A wisdom for our time and Inventing a new culture). Readers are introduced to the personal stories of a variety of individual Cultural Creatives. The authors have clearly done their homework and inspire hope through a saner, wiser global vision. Published in 2000, the book predates the terrorist attacks of 9-11 and the recent end-of-the-Mayan-calendar hype for 12-21-12, but the message and insights remain valid more than a decade later. Surely the number of Cultural Creatives has increased well beyond 50 million now and every one of those would feel greatly encouraged after reading this book.

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    Posted September 23, 2010

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