How 50 Million People Are Changing the World
by PAUL H. RAY, Ph.D. and SHERRY RUTH ANDERSON, Ph.D.
Dr. Paul H. Ray is the executive vice president of a market research and opinion polling firm specializing in surveys based on the lifestyles and values of Americans; Dr. Sherry Ruth Anderson is a renowned psychologist, now in private practice, who is also co-author of The Feminine Face of God.
The impetus for this book came from a phenomenon that Dr. Ray identified as a sidebar to a variety of unrelated surveys his firm had done over a period of 13 years: approximately a quarter of the adults polled followed an unusual, consistent pattern. These people cross every known boundary, and are creating a massive social transformation throughout Western culture. (The same results show up in European research.) Based on their beliefs and values, they were recognized as a subculture and designated as "the cultural creatives." Since they dont yet know that they exist as a definitive group, the authors wrote this book for purposes of fostering that awareness.
So who are these cultural creatives, and how did they come about in our society?
They are people who care deeply about ecology and saving the planet; about relationships, peace, and social justice; about authenticity, self-actualization, and self-expression. They are both inner-directed and socially concerned. They are activists, volunteers, and contributors to good causes more often than other Americans are. Their two subgroups differ in the intensity of their values and beliefs, this difference generally reflecting only in the extent of their activism and in belief of the importance of an inner life and the value of womens ideas. Their beginnings are rooted in education begun in the 60s, and they emerged from the convergence of a large number of social and consciousness movements, some that had century-old roots but most of which began coming into prominence forty to fifty years ago, in some cases morphing into the national spotlight only in the last twenty to thirty years.
This civilization-wide shift was first observed by such visionaries as George Leonard (The Transformation, 1972) and Mark Satin (self-published pamphlet written in the 70s), followed in the early 80s by authors like Marilyn Ferguson (The Aquarian Conspiracy), Alvin Toffler (The Third Wave), Fritjof Capra (The Turning Point), and others. However, the shifts impact on society as a whole then seemed to disappear into some kind of sinkhole, when in fact it has been spreading quietly throughout the entire culture enough so to show up measurably in other-intended research. Part of the reason for this seeming silence is that there has been little media coverage; despite the entrenched value system supported by cultural creatives, their ideas are no longer considered radical enough to draw specific media attention.
The authors also describe the two main subcultures (moderns and traditionals) and detail their histories as well. For instance, did you know that "modernism" had its inception at the time of the Renaissance, while "traditionals" are the result of a backlash that is only a little over a hundred years old? Then they get into the real meat: the stages of transformation peculiar to cultural creatives. A huge portion of the book is devoted to this subject, and includes many personal stories; the underlying purpose is to open the eyes of all cultural creatives (of either subgroup) who simply dont yet realize their inclusion. I could write an entire review on this section alone; the details are that important.
The book concludes with "maps for the journey," another substantial section. It outlines ways of recognition, ways of connecting, ways to effect a positive future. It includes a wonderful fable of how the spirits of all living things called out the Great Mother Sun from where she was hiding in a cave by shining small pieces of mirror on her all at the same time. It ends with a beautiful poem by Dr. Anderson, "Old and Lost Rivers."
Do you remember the enthusiasm of "The Sixties," which was born of the struggles of earlier times? Do you wonder where and how that got lost in the crush of modern consumerism? Drs. Ray and Anderson tell us that it wasnt lost, but merely flowed deeply, silently into the overall culture and that its now possible for the cultural creatives to become the dominant culture within a relatively short time (ten to twenty years). Read this book to learn your importance, to find your brethren, and to help refine/redefine the difference your little shard of mirror makes, both now and in the future.