Cultural Creatives — Living Between Stories

Published under: Modern Generation Map

As Joseph Camp­bell and oth­ers have observed — we are liv­ing in a time when our old myths no longer serve us — and our new myths have yet to be born.  We are liv­ing between stories.

Although many of us feel that our lives are get­ting more com­plex — and that the very ground beneath our feet is shak­ing loose — its impor­tant to learn how to hold the space
for our new world to form. 

The cul­tur­al analy­sis offered by Drs. Paul Ray and Sher­ry Ander­son in their ground­break­ing book about the Cul­tur­al Cre­atives offers a hope­ful con­text in which to view our cur­rent predicament.

Accord­ing to their research, there’s a huge under­ly­ing move­ment in our soci­ety that can (if mobi­lized) push for­ward a very pos­i­tive vision of the world we want to cre­ate.  But, in order for this “Cul­tur­al Cre­ative” move­ment to become empow­ered it must (1) become more self-aware, and (2) real­ize that it has the strength to be major force in transforming
our culture.

So, why haven’t we heard more about this Cul­tur­al Cre­ative sub­cul­ture? In spite of the fact that in the U.S. alone there may be as many as 50 mil­lion Cul­tur­al Cre­atives — the media and oth­er pow­er struc­tures are still sup­port­ing “busi­ness as usu­al” - focus­ing most of their atten­tion on the oth­er 2 sub­cul­turesin our soci­ety — the Mod­erns and the Traditionals. 

Here’s an overview of these 3 sub­cul­tures oper­at­ing in our soci­ety today.

(1) The Mod­ern main­stream.  Run­ning full steam ahead for the last 500 years, this sub­cul­ture believes that the econ­o­my is the dom­i­nant force in our lives.  Mod­ernism wor­ships time and mon­ey. It’s their belief in the tech econ­o­my that is cur­rent­ly trans­form­ing the world.  Mod­erns accept the sys­tem the way it is — and, they’re not look­ing for alternatives. 

(2) The Tra­di­tion­al life stance rejects the advance of Mod­ernism. This was actu­al­ly Amer­i­ca’s first counter-cul­ture (found­ed
after the Civ­il War, c.1870).  Not only do they reject the mod­ern world­view — they real­ly don’t under­stand it — nor can many of them suc­ceed in it.  This sub­cul­ture invent­ed fun­da­men­tal­ism and the myth of a small-town America.

(3) The Cul­tur­al Cre­atives — many of which are leav­ing the mod­ern main­stream behind — will be the bridge span­ning the dis­tance between what’s good from our past and the future that’s being cre­at­ed.  Many in this group are syn­the­siz­ers and heal­ers.  They car­ry the promise of cre­at­ing an inte­gral plan­e­tary cul­ture - and many of them are try­ing to live a more soul-ori­ent­ed life.  They believe that you can work on your­self and change the world at the same time.


Think of it this way … if you take the 20+ social move­ments and all the con­scious­ness move­ments of the past 30+ years — you have a large group of peo­ple that might not all think exact­ly alike — but, they do in many respects share a col­lec­tive consciousness
that is primed for cul­tur­al change.  Its like there’s a

huge sym­pa­thet­ic cloud that encom­pass­es vis­i­ble activists and
the less vis­i­ble fol­low­ers who paid atten­tion to the movements,
includ­ing the audi­ence who watched and lis­tened but were
large­ly invis­i­ble to the media and even to many expert observers.

The chal­lenge is to cre­ate the infra­struc­ture that will sup­port the Cul­tur­al Cre­ative move­ment going main­stream — in the mar­ket­place, the media, polit­i­cal sys­tems, edu­ca­tion­al sys­tems, and beyond.

By dis­cov­er­ing our com­mon val­ues we can begin to work togeth­er (despite our dif­fer­ences) to cre­ate and imple­ment “a rich array of new cul­tur­al solu­tions.”   And, the world will def­i­nite­ly take notice. 

Spread the word.

Joseph Camp­bell, “The Pow­er of Myth,” New York: Dou­ble­day, 1988.

Paul H. Ray, Ph.D., and Sher­ry Ruth Ander­son, Ph.D, “The Cul­tur­al Cre­atives, How 50 Mil­lion Peo­ple Are Chang­ing the World.” New York: Three Rivers Press, 2000.

For more info. check out their web­site.

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