The researchers who wrote this fascinating book characterize a new group of people as “Cultural Creatives.” These are people like me, the editor of the Good News Network, whose values embrace a curiosity and concern for the world and its ecosystem; an awareness of and activism for peace and social justice; and an openness to self-actualization through spirituality or personal development.
Sociologist Paul H. Ray and psychologist Sherry Ruth Anderson claim to have found that 50 million adult Americans (slightly over one quarter of the adult population) can now be identified as belonging to this group. They estimated that there were an additional 80–90 million “Cultural Creatives” in Europe as of 2000. Their assertions, though broad and sweeping, shed new light on American culture and demograpics.
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.
Ray and Anderson created a questionnaire to identify “Cultural Creatives” in Western society. The below characteristics were identified as qualities of a “Cultural Creative”. Agreement with 10 or more indicates status as a “Cultural Creative”.
- love of nature and deep caring about its preservation, and its natural balance.
- strong awareness of the planet-wide issues like climate change and poverty and a desire to see more action on them
- being active themselves
- willingness to pay higher taxes or spend more money for goods if that money went to improving the environment
- heavy emphasis on the importance of developing and maintaining relationships
- heavy emphasis on the importance of helping others and developing their unique gifts
- volunteer with one or more good causes
- intense interest in spiritual and psychological development
- see spirituality as an important aspect of life, but worry about religious fundamentalism
- desire equality for women and men in business, life and politics
- concern and support of the well being of all women and children
- want politicians and government to spend more money on education, community programs and the support of a more ecologically sustainable future
- are unhappy with the left and right in politics
- optimism towards the future
- want to be involved in creating a new and better way of life
- are concerned with big business and the means they use to generate profits, including destroying the environment and exploiting poorer countries
- unlikely to overspend or be heavily in debt
- dislike the emphasis of modern cultures on “making it” and “success”, on consuming and making money
- like people, places and things that are different or exotic