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Spirit & Sustainability

Cultural Creatives: What are Cultural Creatives and What is this Universe Spirit Online Community about?

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What are Cultural Creatives?

Cultural Creatives were first described in 1995 in the book Cultural Creatives. They are described as a distinct population segment of competent, inner-directed activists who choose to live a balanced and artful life of spiritual, personal and social growth as well as a lifestyle of health and sustainability. They live this way to insure:

  1. their personal wellbeing,
  2. the sustainability of a civil society and the planet, and
  3. the quality of life for future generations.

Cultural Creatives strive to live most of, but not necessary all, the values listed below:

A.) Personal Development: There is an instinctual need for Cultural Creatives to make the most of their unique abilities in the areas of spirit, mind, body, self-actualization and self-expression. They actively want to improve their cognitive and physical performance and create lifestyles designed to extend health and prolong life.

They seek meaningful work and are likely to be involved in lifelong learning. They are commonly interested in things such as spiritual workshops, yoga, fitness, stress management, etc. For Cultural Creatives it is not the organized religion that they may have been born into, but their inner spirituality that holds a central importance to them. Spirituality is of such importance that they could easily be described as spiritual creatives.

b.) Healthy Relationships, Healthy Living: Cultural Creatives are interested in helping other people, and developing and maintaining relationships. They value authenticity, feel a closeness to (at least some) other people, appreciate life in general, have a self-created system of morality and, they usually judge others objectively rather than with prejudices. As part of their healthy living lifestyle, they value healthy aging and use natural and organic products, natural personal care products and nutritional supplements.

c.) Alternative and Traditional Healthcare: Cultural Creatives are interested in preventative and proactive health, wellness solutions, holistic disease prevention, complementary medicine and alternative practices such as acupuncture, homeopathy, naturopathy, etc.

d.) Sustainable Economies: Cultural Creatives feel interconnected to all of life. They usually are individuals who have solved most of their basic survival challenges (food, shelter, clothing, energy etc.) by adjusting their lifestyle through having their finances and spending under control or, creating abundance or, through both. They generally dislike the modern culture’s emphasis on getting and spending, wealth and luxury goods, material success and on "making it." Freed from basic survival issues, they live at the next stage of existence that deals with quality of being issues rather than with survival issues. The preceding paragraph makes Cultural Creatives natural supporters of environmental management, resource-efficient products, green industrial and building goods, renewable energy, socially responsible investing and alternative or fuel efficient, low-pollution transportation.

e.) Ecological Lifestyles: For the cultural creative, bigger or more is not usually or always better. They are willing to pay more taxes or pay more for consumer goods to protect the environment or to insure fair trade wages. They are interested in ecological home and office products, organic/recycled fiber products, environmentally friendly appliances, eco-tourism and adventure/learning/eco-travel.

f.) Social justice: Cultural creatives are activists who tend to be global in perspective and learning and, somewhat optimistic. They want to be involved in creating a new and better way of life. They are the activists who volunteer for good causes and they are found at the overlap of all the consciousness movements as well as the various social, civil, gay, gender equality and peace movements in our societies.

They are interested in solving problems; often the problems of others. What makes them unusually successful at solving problems is that they are highly creative, both practical and idealistic, they embrace the facts and realities of the world including themselves (rather than denying or avoiding them) and, they are spontaneous with ideas and actions.

Unhappy with both the left and the right politically, they do not generally consider themselves solidly on either side, but they will take practical solutions and positions from either side or anywhere else that works. They are abundantly pragmatic and will act to deal with hard facts on the ground to avert future crisis.

You will find them interested in social justice areas like rebuilding our neighborhoods and communities, caring about women’s issues and wanting to spend more on children's education and well-being. They are likely to be actively involved in improving representative democracy as well as corporate responsibility and ethics so that the real needs of all citizens are met by both government and business.

g.) Natural Systems and Technology Integration: Cultural Creatives believe in the integration of using natural systems first, but in concert and where appropriate with life affirming technology and science. They are skilled networkers and are more comfortable than most integrating new technology and science into their daily lives.

They want to know their options and maximize their choices. In their lifestyle choices they strive to balance rationality (facts) and intuition (feelings) for the best of both worlds. They are postmodern and do not believe the basic idea of modernism, which is that "individual creative expression should conform to the realities of technology." Instead they believe that "individual creativity should make every day life more emotionally acceptable." They are integrative in that they are multi-disciplinary. They are willing to use the best wisdom and best processes from any natural, technological or scientific source and blend them together for effective and practical problem solving. They are idealistic and imaginative without illusions. They seek and use long view solutions, but again still are practical in dealing with what really needs to be done in the here and now.

Cultural Creatives are so named because they are highly creative about living their own values in spite of distracting or opposing value pressures from the larger culture in which they live. If necessary, they will create completely new types of mini-cultures that will support their consciously chosen lifestyles.

To make their creative and moral decisions Cultural Creatives use an expanded collection of postmodern and post-postmodern values and principles. These postmodern values and principles not only include and synthesize the life affirming values of the previous pre-modern, traditional and modern evolutionary periods, but they also in some cases transcend them.

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Cultural Creative Demographics

In the United States alone there are now an estimated 63 million Cultural Creatives. They could become half of the American population in ten to fifteen years.

There are more Cultural Creatives in Europe, about 80 to 90 million, which is about 30 to 35% of every Western European country. In all Asian countries including Japan, China, India and Southeast Asia there may be another 60 million. In Africa, the Middle East and South America there may be another 10 million.

It is estimated that the Cultural Creatives population has been growing at half of a percent per year for the last 40 years and this population will grow much faster as people become more educated and aware of how many Cultural Creatives there already are in society.

It seems that the more highly educated, modern and postmodern a population is --- the more cultural creatives appear in that population. In some ways Cultural Creatives can be seen as representative of another step in our social evolutionary development in that they live for the most part at a edges of the postmodern or post-postmodern world.

Income wise Cultural Creatives are slightly upscale averaging about $46,000 a year in US dollars. Cultural Creatives represent and come in all psychological types such as inward/outer, thinking/feeling, enlightened/regressive, smart/dumb, etc.

They value livelong education and thirty percent are college graduates in Europe and about twenty four percent in the US. They have a wide range of income, education, occupation being everything from working class to wealthy. They are close to national profiles on region (in the US 5% more on each coast,) ethnicity, religion, age and race, but sixty percent are women. Women also appear to be the opinion leaders of this cultural change force by a two to one ratio. This would help explain many of the women’s issues valued by Cultural Creatives.

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The Cultural Creative Paradox

Up until recently, the almost 250 million Cultural Creatives had the collective illusion that they’re individually alone. They feel alone because they never see their own face in the media.

Modernist media serves as the gate-keepers of the official modernist culture of larger society. They naturally belittle or keep out everything that doesn’t fit their modernist value view of reality.

There is amazing social innovation and improvement being created by Cultural Creatives, but the modernist media does not cover it. It is not exciting and has no controversy. It’s not good for business and advertising and its political implications are unclear. Consequently, the modernist media is non-representing the good of what’s actually going on relating to cultural creatives almost all the time.

The paradox is that Cultural Creatives have been doing an amazing amount of great social and cultural innovation for years, but most people have never heard about it. This modernist media blackout has been slowing the social improvement process and creating more social pessimism than is warranted. Luckily, many Cultural Creatives have finally begun to see through the media blackout and realized the power and past successes of 250 million inner directed activists working in concert to improve the world. If you would like to meet some other Cultural Creatives from around the world click here.

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How Cultural and Integral Creatives will Effect the Future

The numbers of Cultural Creatives are increasing steadily. They are now a growing global force of activism helping creating significant new social, economic, political, scientific and spiritual evolutionary changes to the larger cultures in which they live. This is in part because they are at the cutting edge and overlap of all the consciousness and social movements of our societies.

Many Cultural Creatives believe that they are co-creators of the beginning of a global new Integral Age for all of humankind. This new Integral Age can become another Golden Age of civil society, a real resurgence of voluntary organizations, social movements and spiritual and educational concerns.

The Cultural Creatives of today are more likely than not, to be involved in new cultural and global movements like the Evolutionary Spirituality and Personal Spirituality movements. The appearance of increasing numbers of postmodern Cultural Creatives may even be the natural, evolutionary countering to the many earlier evolutionary pathologies of fundamentalism, traditionalism and modernism. That the postmodern and post-postmodern Cultural Creatives will eventually outnumber both the traditional and modern segments of the population and they will become the dominant global culture is probably an evolutionary inevitability.

How the Cultural Creatives may have come into Being

The US has been involved in a gigantic social learning and consciousness development process over the last 40 years. Many other first world countries around the world have mirrored and expanded that process. That social learning and consciousness process has brought people into a deeper connection with what’s real, and new social movements have been born as a result of the deeper grasp of reality.

These new social movements have led to vast numbers of people re-interpreting how they see themselves, the world and their place in it. In the process people have been led from one movement into successive movements, into a deeper confrontation with their inner life and the quality of being in their lives. This interaction between individuals and new social or consciousness movements has created a spiral of mutual transformation where one’s new or expanded inner life seeks to create congruity (social improvement) in one’s outer life and thus the growing social activism for a better world.

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The Integral Creative Sub group within the Cultural Creative Population

The global population of Cultural Creatives is so large that there are different sub groups within the cultural creative population. Some of the additional values found within one or more of the various cultural creative sub groups called the 'integral Creatives' are that Integral Creatives:

1.) are able to both embrace and work with paradoxes.

2.) are creating entirely new forms of spirituality better suited to the realities and challenges of the post, and post-postmodern world because they have found the spiritualities created in either the pre-modern, traditional or modern eras inadequate. 

3.) want to live appropriately AND they believe that appropriate living also means having a life filled with art, beauty, joy and even fun! This sub group within the Cultural Creative movement believes that they do not have to live like monks with vows of poverty to live appropriately. Integral and Cultural Creatives are now inventing the new products and services that will have the six attributes of products easily acceptable to the consumers of the future (functionally appropriate, cost efficient, environmentally sustainable, socially just, beautiful and/or artistic and fun or enjoyable to use for the purchaser.)

4.) are maturing and evolving beyond some of the inherent pathologies of the postmodern world itself such as: the narcissism of me generation, the culture of victim hood, martyrdom and joylessness, extreme postmodernism in academia, resistance to anything resembling ranking or hierarchy, excessive relativism resulting in loss of appropriate boundaries, loss of morality and aimlessness, extreme pluralism resulting in loss of discernment, undo honoring of primitive attitudes or processes, over-romanticism of the pre-modern past in ecological decision making, political correctness, extreme material denial and sacrifice making life void of beauty, art and enjoyment and, indulgently long attempts at consensus leading nowhere. The new Cultural Creatives of the 2000’s have matured from the "Woo Woo", anything goes of the 1960’s New Age movement towards accepting the broader realization that some appropriate judgments and boundaries are both healthy and necessary. 

5.) are emerging and co-creating the new global Integral Worldview the next step beyond. To learn more about the qualities of the Integral Worldview click here. To learn more about the values of Integral Creatives click here. 

In the book Spiral Dynamics the Cultural Creative sub groups are described in three waves of development. Spiral Dynamics calls these waves or levels green (Cultural Creatives), yellow and turquoise(Integral Creatives). (To learn more about these three waves of cultural creative development we recommend that you first go here. Start by putting your mouse on the "Where to Begin" link at the top right of the page. It will automatically begin a mouse roll over ‘show new text’ feature on the left of this Waves of Integral Development graphic. Then do the same mouse over on the turquoise wave link, the yellow wave link and the green wave link back on the right side to help see new text descriptions. These will help you have a better understanding of the new values of evolving Cultural Creative subgroups.)

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What are Spiritual Creatives (Spiriteers)?

Spiritual Creatives or Spiriteers as they are sometimes called are spiritual seekers, explorers, pioneers, futurists, adventurers and artists of all types who:

  1. come from many religious backgrounds,
  2. value their personal spiritual freedom and autonomy,
  3. value the adventure and creative journey of developing their unique spirituality into its completeness, and
  4. value the inclusive and universal aspects of spirituality.

Spiritual Creatives in a sense are also seeking to discover and/or help define for themselves the qualities of a truly universal spirituality --- one that most reflects the authentic and timeless nature, purposes and universalness of Ultimate Reality. They are spiritually courageous individuals who also may feel one or more of the following:

1. They want to customize or re-energize their religion by picking and choosing ideas and practices from the best wisdom of the world's greatest religions and spiritual traditions (or from any other source for that matter,) often without any particular attachment to the doctrine or allegiance for that particular source. For some, this process merely adds on to their original religion or spirituality. For others, while this process includes their original religion, it also transcends it and becomes a revitalizing new synthesis of both their original religion or spirituality and the wisdom of other spiritual sources.

2. They sense that the main goal of all religions is basically the same (expanding transformative, direct spiritual experiences of Ultimate Reality and, only the paths to getting there are different.

3. They sense that one religion or one religious perspective alone might not have all the answers or, that all current religions might be partial or complementary views of Ultimate Reality and unfathomable mysteries, which will forever surround the infiniteness of Ultimate Reality. Consequently they seek to integrate the partial or complementary views to gain a more complete spiritual perspective.

4. They want to discover their own personal spirituality and/or their direct relationship with Ultimate Reality rather than be told by others or traditional religious authorities what it should be or look like.

5. They sense that the transformative, direct spiritual experience of Ultimate Reality is the core essence of all religion as well as religion’s single most powerful resource and tool for personal transformation. To them expanding direct spiritual experience of Ultimate Reality is the near ultimate destination of authentic spirituality. Consequently, it is logical, spiritually enlightened self-interest to seek out all of the most enduring, useful and effective spiritual wisdom concerning the expansion of one’s direct spiritual experience of Ultimate Reality no matter what religion or other source that spiritual wisdom may come from.

6. They sense that the deep personal spiritual transformation that comes from the transformative, direct spiritual experience of Ultimate Reality also happens to be the most effective source for social and global healing and transformation.

7. They sense that transformative, direct spiritual experience of Ultimate Reality as the original core essence of religion is always equally, freely and directly available to anyone anywhere at any time in or through almost any experience.

8. Because they sense that the transformative, direct spiritual experience of the Ultimate Reality is the core essence of all religion and one of the best ways to transform the world for the better, as fellow spiritual journeyers on the path they want to share humanity’s spiritual wisdom about the most balanced safe and effective ways to directly experience of Ultimate Reality. (One of the ways this is being done is through the network of Spiritual Creatives expanding the Global Spiritual Commons though the open source spirituality movement and the wisdom sharing tools found on this website.)

9. Because they sense that they share a common spiritual bond each other, they want to co-create a common spiritual culture that values spiritual experience, their common spiritual origin and their common and aligned highest spiritual intentions for justice, compassion, truth, beauty and goodness etc., while at the same time still appreciating and honoring that their specific denominational beliefs and doctrines may be different.

10. They may be involved with the new consciousness or spiritual movements that are just emerging and converging in what is now being called a global second enlightenment. Some of these movements are the Integral and Spiral consciousness movements, the evolutionary spirituality and process theology movements which are attempting to help re-integrate the fact and rationality of science with the wisdom and most universal values of religion. In one way or another all of these spiritualized movements are also evolving and galvanizing a new type of effective collective spiritualized activism to meet the critical global challenges facing humankind over the next 20 years while not losing the importance of always continuing to support direct spiritual experience and individual spiritual growth.

11. They sense that art and the idea of each individual as a beauty-creating artist (which has been separated out from many of today’s religions) is an important part of spirituality that needs to be re-integrated. They see not just the process of creating art as a spiritual meditation, connection tool and worship they also see it as a powerful tool for spiritual healing.

12. They can be those individuals so intensely and tangibly in love with  Ultimate Reality to such degrees as to be the lover, the love, the object of love and/or the very space in which this love occurs. Because of the intensity of this love for Ultimate Reality they are authentically transformed and filled with delight, creativity and the ability to co-create an abundance and sufficiency of solutions for their lives and the world as well as being a significant source of support to their fellow adventurers on the spiritual path.

In summary, Spiritual Creatives know that they are pilgrims rooted firmly on the most solid ground in all of religion and spirituality --- the focused life pilgrimage of continually expanding their direct personal spiritual experience of Ultimate Reality. They feel as this type of spiritual pilgrim they have joined all others throughout history who have chosen this central, universal spiritual path and it’s never ending spiritual journey. While traveling this path they joyously keep inviting in and supporting more company and they keep working for a better world so that they can travel the greatest adventure in the universe with many more spiritual playmates and on better playgrounds.

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What is this Universe Spirit Online Community about?

The global participants in the Universe Spirit online community are also embodying many values and directions stated above in the Cultural and Spiritual Creatives sections. But, our omni-denominational spiritual community extends well beyond the online activities on this site.

You might say that Universe Spirit is in part designed to be a living network of all individuals (whether they have found this science-grounded  personal spirituality support website or not,) in the process of expanding their direct experience of Ultimate Reality and improving their practice of the primary virtues of truth, beauty and goodness manifesting in part through a greater awareness of Ultimate Reality and a personal and social spiritualized activism of justice, kindness, compassion, fairness, forgiveness, mercy and delight.

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