The phrase ‘cultural creatives’ was introduced in Paul H. Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson’s 2000 book The Cultural Creatives to describe an increasingly prominent demographic that includes artists, musicians, teachers, writers, journalists, psychotherapists, designers, advertising executives, researchers, and those who work in the media industry. Cultural creatives form a diverse community which cannot be described by age, income, gender, nationality, or race, and is instead defined by a distinct system of shared values:
Holistic Systems Thinking
Cultural creatives are inherently wary of reductionism and are instead much more comfortable with a systems-thinking approach that sees the world as a complex network of interdependent structures. This holistic worldview means that cultural creatives instinctively recognise the nuance and shades of grey in all areas of life.
Cultural creatives are steadfast in their commitment to equality, inclusivity, and kindness, and are deeply committed to social activism in support of women, ethnic minorities, LGBT+ people, socially disadvantaged people, immigrants, and disabled people. Service and a working toward creating a better world is an extremely important value to cultural creatives, many of whom are driven by an empathic understanding of others.
The environment is a matter of great concern to cultural creatives, who express their eco-sensibilities in various ways including plant-based diets, recycling, composting. For many cultural creatives, environmentalism has developed into the powerfully-felt appreciation of the sacred mysteries of nature.
A sense of community and connection are crucial to cultural creatives, who thrive in a cosmopolitan environment which brings together many different languages, cultures, cuisines, and ways of thinking.
Value-Led Measures of Success
Traditional measures of success such as specific job titles, high-end cars, or expensive home are of less interest to cultural creatives. For them, success is defined by each individual in connection to their own values and to be ‘successful’ is to be operating fully and authentically within one’s own value system.
Individuation and Self-Growth
Cultural creatives are invariably committed to their own personal growth and development and will pursue this process of individuation through a deeply personal system of practices that may draw upon, among other things, continuing education, psychotherapy, coaching, yoga, meditation, running, strength training, reiki, astrology, ritual, journaling, and art.
Although not always religious, cultural creatives nevertheless have a keenly-honed heterodox spiritual framework that is rooted in moral and ethical commitments to self and society. Cultural creatives deeply value and accept the latest scientific developments, but generally avoid a reductionist stance that suggests that science has all the answers.
Above all else, cultural creatives value personal experiential connection to ideas, skills, and cultures. Direct personal experience of process contributes to a sense of authenticity which has led to an increased interest to heritage crafts such as bread baking, preserving, knitting, foraging, candle making, and herbalism.
Minimalism and Simplicity
Cultural creatives thrive on minimalism and simplicity and forcefully reject conspicuous consumption. The motivations standing behind this are multiple, including environmental sensitivity, rejection of capitalist cycles of consumption, modesty, psychological freedom from ownership, and curation of personal environment.