Cultural Creatives are an emerging group of people, who in the last
half century, have grown in numbers to hundreds of millions around
the world. What connects and identifies this group of people, who
transcend nationality, race, and contemporary culture, is their espousing of
similar connected values. They are comprised of people who have participated
in the social and consciousness movements that have emerged since
the '50s: the civil rights movement, the environmental movement, the
women’s movement, the jobs and social justice movements, the peace
movement, the organic food and alternative health care movements,
the new spirituality and self growth movements, etc.
Why are they called
are literally, in reality, in the process of creating a new culture
with enlightened creativity. Innovation by innovation they are
shaping a new American and world culture for the 21st Century.
they all just New Age?
(astrology, psychics, channeling, tarot, angels, etc.) is only a small
percentage of Cultural Creatives, and many New Agers aren't
necessarily Cultural Creatives. Many Cultural Creatives
are quite mainstream, and might be offended if you called them New
Age. They're very grounded and practical people, less into
beliefs, and more into personal experience. Saying that, there's a
good chance someone into New Age exploration may well be a Cultural
they the Baby Boomers?
No, nothing to
do with this “age group phenomenon.” They're all ages: 18-70.
Cultural Creatives are not about generational differences.
No, there are
actually fewer liberals than conservatives, among the Cultural Creatives,
but mostly these are people who don't see themselves as either
left or right. This is about a new kind of politics. Example: While many
Cultural Creatives see abortion as defined by the rights of
woman, many also see abortion as the taking of life.
so, but not necessarily adversarial or polarized. Many
Creatives have what may be seen as more conservative
points-of-view, in tune with some natural order.
While there is
surely a significant amount of Cultural Creatives in America’s most
populous state, they're from all parts of the country, and they're
quite mainstream Americans.
Creatives come from all income levels, from working class to
Creatives come from all ethnic groups, including indigenous
cultures. It is true that traditional marketing has rarely targeted
Hispanics or African Americans.
Oprah Winfrey is a striking example of a Cultural
emergence of the Cultural Creatives is not about yuppies and
self-indulgence, it's about the people who care, and who are taking
steps to make it practical and real. Words like “green”
“sustainable” “global” and “consciousness” are often a part of the
Cultural Creatives vocabulary
are the Cultural Creatives important? Why should I (or my
The sheer size
of the CC population now estimated at near 100 million people in the United
States alone is already affecting
the way Americans do business and politics. They're making new kinds
of businesses and non-profits, and they're also driving the demand
Ecologically sustainable products and services, and concern for
the whole planet.
Authenticity, personally at work and in the way we run business
Bringing women's issues into public life.
Openly discussing racial and international issues
Presenting the news differently and truly balanced and
conscious, to see the big picture, and first person stories, and
more good news.
Bringing truth and spirituality into American life.
people don't know about the Cultural Creatives they may be
left behind, wondering where all the changes are coming from. After
all, any time one in four Americans are changing their minds in
fundamental ways, it's worth paying attention to, because it's going
to change your life too.
What the Cultural Creatives value and the kind of new
solutions they're creating, give us reason for optimism about the
Cultural Creatives are redefining what success means, away
from success at work and making a lot of money, toward a more
soulful balanced life focused on personal fulfillment, social
conscience, and creating a better future for everyone on the planet.
it’s more than one-half trillion dollars worldwide. And the
Cultural Creatives are their entire market. This is more than
the Gross Domestic Profit of most nations on the planet!
there are so many Cultural
Creatives, how come I haven't seen them before?
Actually you have seen them: They're the huge populations who
support all the new social movements from the Sixties right up
to the present day: Civil rights, peace, environment, women's,
jobs and social justice, gay lib, alternative health care, new
spiritualities, new psychotherapies, etc. Just reflect on the
If you look at values, you'll see them. But most of the surveys
you hear about study only opinions that are very transitory,
while values are slow changing and very deep. Values are much
deeper than the demographic categories most surveys use. And
that's why most surveys miss the forest for the trees.
How can 50 million
people be invisible?
Cultural Creatives have been invisible to public view:
1) It is well known that
national media don't cover the things
Cultural Creatives care about, or significantly distort reality.
So, if you form all your impressions from the mass media, you'll
never guess that they're there, because the media are really
intolerant of world views other than their own.
2) The Cultural
Creatives don't talk about what they value in public or at work.
In part this is because they draw their conclusions that their
values aren't shared by very many people, and they don't want to be
embarrassed, put down, or harm their career prospects.
3) Most Cultural
Creatives got to where they are in life mostly alone. You
probably didn't arrive at the values you've got now with your whole
high school graduating class. Call it personal awakening.
can the Cultural Creatives make a difference with all that
big money interest around?
We're at a tipping point in history, a time when a creative minority
can get the leverage to really make a difference. Part of the reason
is that these activists and schoolteachers, and artists, and
spiritual people, and scientists are following the normal American
pattern for success. They are turning their grass roots social
movements and their projects and ideas into new institutions.
Many of the most respectable institutions of today started as
controversial grass roots movements. Citizen involvement turns into
a huge variety of civic associations like: lobbying groups,
political parties, unions, civic clubs, think tanks, institutes,
foundations, charities, unions, clinics, and churches. This is what
we Americans do, and we're better at it than almost any other
country in the world. And that's what's happening now with the
kinds of things are Cultural Creatives doing?
In between the pure profit making business and the begging-for-money
charity there's a whole rainbow spectrum of new kinds of
organizations and social experiments.
Take a yoga center for example: is it a business, a spiritual place,
an education center, a health and exercise place, or a way of life?
The answer is Yes to all the above. We're crossing categories all
Cultural Creative pioneer, Vijali Hamilton travels around the
world creating the World Wheel. In a community she creates an
environmental sculpture and does community building. She asks the
people to go deep into who they are and how they connect to the rest
of the world, and from the answers creates a piece of theatre, and a
this art, community building, entertainment, spirituality, ecology?
Again, yes, to all of these.
are the Cultural Creatives related to all those movements?
The reason is
that all these movements have been doing something new in history.
They have been trying to change our minds about what is important
and how the world works.
There's a lot more to the movements than just the people on the
ramparts, or just the obvious meditators on their cushions, there's
also a huge cultural circle around those active people who are
reframing how the world is seen every day. You have to see what a
whole movement is: there's the most active people at the center, but
around them like a target, there's a huge population of less
involved people who give the money, read the literature, keep track
of what's happening, and really support it. There may be a few
thousand activists, and hundreds of thousands giving money, but tens
of millions who are changing their minds and their lives.
There is evidence that a typical Cultural Creative cares
intensely about, and is often involved in, half a dozen of these new
social and consciousness movements, while the rest of the country
care about none, or maybe one or two. When you're involved in
several movements who do reframing, it changes your whole world
view. That's where the Cultural Creatives came from. And
that’s where a lot of our new direction is coming from.
What's more, there's an enormous overlap of all the movements, and
the Cultural Creatives are right at the center of all of it.
They are the common constituency of all the movements.
It's exactly the opposite of what many pundits have claimed: it
really isn't true that if you're dealing with your own personal
growth you've dropped out of social life. Or if you're an activist,
you don't have time for an inner life. In reality, the more people
are involved in ecology issues the more they are involved in
spirituality and personal growth on the one hand, and social justice
issues on the other hand.
does all of this make such a difference? Or, Isn't it all just
politics? So what? What difference could all this make?
Cultural Creatives different than most Americans is that when you're
involved in several movements you've been exposed to their reframing
a lot of times, because that's what these movements do.
Reframing is a big deal. It lets us look at our old problems from a
new angle of vision. And it gives a new way of explaining them, and
a new way to state our moral concerns. For example:
What was Martin Luther King, Jr. saying, "The Blacks gotta get
theirs?" No, he said, It's about freedom, and justice, and what
the Constitution means, and who are we as a people?
What did Rachel Carson say, Keep pollution out of your back
yard? No, she said that this is about the death of Nature.
What did Betty Friedan say, The women need more pay? No, she
said This is about who we are as human beings.
What did the alternative health care movement say, Chiropractors
gotta get insurance coverage? No, they said, this is about real
health and wellness, not just medical care for catastrophic
The Cultural Creatives
are the ones who have been really paying attention, applying those
"reframings" in their own lives.
Reframing means you start to question the unspoken assumptions of
the social codes all around you. It's not okay to let big business
destroy the environment. It's not okay to have nuclear power. It's
not okay to let the foreign policy elite send our young people off
to wars without involving the citizens. It's not okay to put down,
or harm, people who are different than you are. And so on.
If you are exposed to half a dozen big reframes, two things happen:
the content changes your whole world view, and you get comfortable
with the process of questioning the unspoken assumptions of the old
culture. That's where the Cultural Creatives came from. And
that's where a lot of our new direction is coming from.
All those people who have questioned the unspoken assumptions had to
rely on their own direct experience. How else could you take off the
old culture's eyeglasses? This has an incredible potential for
opening up creativity in our lives. It gives us some comfort in
going into the unknown. And that is where our whole society is going
anyway at this time in history.
This is a part of the personal life changes that so many Cultural
Creatives have gone through. So often they said to us that they had
to live more authentic lives after opening up questions they really
cared about, and having to live through the experiences they've had.
The Black Freedom Movement called it "walking your talk" and this
need for authenticity was picked up by every social and
consciousness movement since then.
This emphasis on authenticity is at the center of who the Cultural
Creatives are today, and is one of the key values they've brought
into American life.
By the way, the Cultural Creative
abhors brainwashing, indoctrination and propaganda.