The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World (Anglais) Broché – 2 octobre 2001
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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.
Revue de presse
-- 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.
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This book should be read together with Imagine: What America Could be in the 21st century, edited by Marianne Williamson. Taken together, the two books are inspirational while still being practical.
Cultural Creatives as a book, and some of the other reviews, tend to over-sell the success of the emergence of an alternative lifestyle to Traditionalists (stereotyped as somewhat red neckish and religious rightists) and Moderns (stereotyped as ravish the earth anything-goes corporate carpetbaggers). The reality is that there are as many "cultural creatives" as there are people with disabilities in the United States--50 million. Not one quarter of the population, as one reviewer claims.
Having said that, by way of somber stage-setting, I cannot say enough good things about this book. It should be required reading for every citizen, every student, and every public official. In a very real sense, this book strikes me as a truly seminal work that could help millions of individuals reframe their personal connection to one another, to their Republic, and to the earth.
This is neither a tree-hugger book nor a mantras R us book. This book provides a thoughtful review of how different movements--first the environmental movement, then the human rights movement, and finally the consciousness movement--have come together to define an alternative lifestyle and alternative paradigm for political and economic and social relationships in the larger context of a sustainable "whole" earth.
I found this book motivational and meaningful at both a personal level and a larger national level. At the personal level, its detailed and well-organized description of fifteen very distinct aspects of a "cultural creative" lifestyle helped me understand--as it has helped many others--that there is actually a category of people who have come to grips with and found solutions that enrich their lives--and this explains my great disappointment that the book does not offer a "resources" section at the end. I would have been very glad to discover, for example, a "Cultural Creative" journal or magazine that combined a strong book review section, art and culture, a consumer reports section tailored to the higher standards of the "CCs", new innovations in home restoration and remodeling, vacation options known to be attractive to CCs, etcetera.
At the higher political level, I found the book constructive and just this side of a tipping point. An increasing number of people, all of them generally outside of Washington and not associated with Wall Street, clearly have some strong positive values and a real commitment to achieving reform through "many small actions". What this group has lacked is a means of communicating and orchestrating itself on a scale sufficient to demand respect from politicians and corporation. The Internet now provides such a vehicle--and as the Internet explodes from 3.5M people worldwide to 3.5B people worldwide, in the next ten years, I am convinced that Cultural Creatives may finally come into their own as a new form of global political party. Cultural Creatives would sign the Kyoto Treaty (and know what it is); Cultural Creatives would demand a 100% increase--from a half-penny a dollar to a full penny a dollar--in America's foreign diplomatic and humanitarian assistance budget--and Cultural Creatives could conceivably give the Republican Party a real beating in the next Congressional elections if President Bush persists in breaking his campaign vow on reducing carbon emissions. A peaceful revolution in our national agenda may truly be a near-term reality.
This is not a book where a summary can do it justice. It needs to be experienced at an individual level and ideally also at a community level, where it could be understood and accepted as a common point of reference for individual choosing to live "in relation" to one another and to the world, at a level much higher and more satisfying than our current arrangements. When this book makes it to the best-seller list, America will have matured and there will be hope for our children's future quality of life.
Other books along these lines:
The leadership of civilization building: Administrative and civilization theory, symbolic dialogue, and citizen skills for the 21st century
How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, Updated Edition
The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All
Society's Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People
Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World
One from Many: VISA and the Rise of Chaordic Organization
Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration
Collective Intelligence: Mankind's Emerging World in Cyberspace (Helix Books)
Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace
Dr. Paul Ray surveyed over 100,000 Americans in the nine years before his 1996 report 'The Integral Culture Survey: A Study of the Emergence of Transformational Values in America' where he identified three distinct subcultures of values - Traditionals, Moderns and Cultural Creatives. He reveals, that this is a 'very unusual time in history - for change in the dominant cultural pattern happens only once or twice a millennium.' This is both wonderful and scary news.
Paul's wife, partner and coauthor, Dr. Sherry Anderson stands in her own right with the wonderful 'Feminine Face of God: The Unfolding of the Sacred in Women' where she forewarned that the 'awesome planetary crisis in which we are now living is literally flinging us towards ... the next developmental step: to be in good relationship with all life...' Together they have injected vitality into the reams of data with up-close and personal interviews. They have partnered to create a wonderful, readable and intimate view into contemporary thinking and the dynamics between differing worldviews. A peep into the book reveals:
"Direct personal experience is also important to Cultural Creatives in the projects they create and give their time and money to support. They expect to follow through on their values with personal action. Many are convinced that if they are not engaged, their convictions are "just talk." They express more idealism and altruism, and less cynicism, than Americans. Sixty-five percent say "having your work make a contribution to society" is very or extremely important. Fifty-four percent say "wanting to be involved in creating a better society" is very or extremely important. And their actions line up with these values ..."
This significant work is progressive, insightful, optimistic and absorbing. It contributes to the worlds of values, culture and social transformation and it is good news to Cultural Creatives because it is validating and affirming. With far-reaching implications this is a book to curl up with and continue discussing and pondering long after the last page is turned.
You might be a Cultural Creative if you're into: books and music; arts and culture; stories; social causes, especially issues dealing with women and children; and authenticity. The authors have created an interesting test to gauge where you stand in the mix and use a lot of graphs throughout the book to identify cultural creatives and their issues.
If you're from the '60s and you've ever wondered what to do with all the energy created during that period of our lives, this book will open your eyes. If you've sometimes felt like an alien in your own family, the authors will offer you comfort because you're not alone. Even if you're just wondering why cultural creatives are so passionate about their lives, this planet, and their causes, this book will help you put it all together.
Cultural Creatives include such personalities as: Pope John Paul XXIII; Martin Luther King, Jr.; The Dalai Lama; Annie Dillard; Georgia O'Keeffe; Marc Chagall; Yo-Yo Ma; Robert Redford; Katharine Hepburn; and Bill Moyers. Pretty good company, don't you think?
While the book represents a lot of research on the part of the authors, the data is never presented in a dry, boring format. I found it hard to put the book down. The information resonated with me -- I'm from the 60's -- and it gave me hope for the future of our species and our planet.
The authors make an important point that I think mainstream politics often misses: The people they label "cultural creatives" belong to a wide variety of political parties, organizations, and religions, and are passionate about issues rather than politics; so a political strategy that attempts to draw this diverse but active group into supporting a single party or platform (e.g., "If you believe in X, then you should vote for these Democratic candidates") won't succeed.
The book is several years old, and the political/social landscape in the U.S. has changed since 2000. But (based on my own experience) I feel that the authors' conclusions about who the Cultural Creatives are and how they got that way are valid. On the other hand, I think they missed a few things:
(1) They discuss the role of institutes such as Esalen in the human consciousness movement, but don't mention other media: magazines such as Utne Reader, radio programs like New Dimensions, many PBS radio and TV stations, alternative newspapers, etc. In areas of the country where someone who holds non-mainstream opinions can often feel isolated, these media played (and continue to play) a major role.
(2) The Internet has been a major factor in global connectivity for at least 20 years, but the authors give it only about a page of rather vague discussion. While using the Internet for direct political action is a relatively new phenomenon (MoveOn.org, one of the most visible groups, was founded in 1998 in response to the Clinton impeachment), issues-oriented web sites and mailing lists, ranging across the political spectrum, have been around for much longer. I also think the authors underestimated the general effects of the Internet on human relationships: as an acquaintance of mine in Europe once put it, if you have 'Net buddies in another country, you're far less likely to drop a bomb on it.
I think the book is persuasively argued and the authors draw reasonable conclusions from the (very extensive) statistical data. I found some of the lengthy discussions about Traditionals and Moderns rather tedious, but in general this is an exciting and important book that deserves to be widely read.
But the book is far from perfect. As some other reviewers have astutely pointed out, the authors fail to take into consideration that people might overlap more than one of the three groups outlined in the book. What happens when a "modern" couple from Omaha decide they want to move back to "traditional" Grandpa's farm in the country to raise their kids? Anderson and Ray don't give fair treatment to cross-over between the groups. This is unfortunate, and gives an incomplete picture of the United States.
Next, as someone who took a good amount of sociology in college, I was disappointed with the book's treatment of how one becomes a modern, traditional, or creative. More individual case studies, instead of a macro-level analysis would have been helpful.