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New Age "Asiatic" thought ... is establishing itself as the
hegemonic ideology of global capitalism. (Zizek)

Sunday, February 22

the cultural creatives

I used to think that every little thing I did was crazy
but now I think the karma cops are comin' after you.
aerosmith ~ full circle

I've given all I can but were still on the payroll.
radiohead ~ karma police

For a minute there, I lost myself. Several posts ago, in You've Come a Long Way, Baby, I wrote, "Hints in the sidebar: compare and contrast." The big hint was the second item -- here it's the first. The big hint was actually not so big. The big hint was actually pretty hidden, as it's next to impossible to read the title. So I'll tell you the title. It's The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World by Paul H. Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson.

But why is The Feminine Face of God also back again this time? Easy: because it too was co-authored by Sherry Ruth Anderson. I had to wait till Amazon sent me a cheap-ass copy before I could continue this thread. And I had to first post about Jean Shinoda Bolen, as I did last night, because she comes into the story too. In fact, she wrote the foreword to Sherry Ruth Anderson's book. There, for instance, Shinola Bolen says...

The feminine face of God is an aspect of divinity and an approach to the sacred that is not exclusively of women, but women will naturally lead the way because women's receptivity, commitment to relationships, and biological experience provide greater opportunities for this kind of revelation.
Right. But let me ask my women readers -- of whom there are many more than some might suspect, given that my subject matter often edges on territory that could invite speculation re possible misogyny; but that's only because so many chicks go in for this kind of bullshit. Let's try that again. Let me ask, just because you have an innie and I have an outtie, does that really make me less:

  • receptive?
  • committed to relationships?
  • biologically experienced?

...whatever those things might actually mean, which isn't exactly crystal clear. But that's just something to think about. Just a MacGuffin on the way to looking at the kind of bullshit the boys go in for every bit as much as the girls. No Goddess necessary. Batteries not included.

So there I was seven or eight years ago, sitting on the floor in the back of Boulder Book Store -- where I hardly ever go anymore because of a) the parking, and b) the clientele -- looking at this book called The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World. Yes, the very one by Paul H. Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson. Keep these names in mind, as they will be important to our story as it unfolds. And oh baby, is it ever gonna unfold!

Also keep in mind that when lots of things come together unexpectedly, it's not necessarily synchronicity. It is just as possible -- in this case, far more possible -- that you have stepped into the magic circle jerk of mutual self-admiration.

It wasn't that the premise of the book didn't interest me. It did. But 50 million people? C'mon! I didn't think there were 50 million people in America who could read, much less create anything that might be called "culture." Of course, this was before blogging took off. Now there are 50 million bloggers, easy. They still can't read, but they can type.

This was in the days when I had tons of money -- from Cluetrain and (mostly) Gonzo Marketing -- and I would buy books on the merest whim. Nonetheless, I left The Cultural Creatives sitting on the shelf. There was something deeply bogus about the book, but I couldn't say what it was, couldn't put my finger on it.

Last week I ran into the book again in a local used bookstore. I picked it up and started casually flipping through it. And I was thunderstruck! All my obsessive research in the intervening years had finally prepared me to grasp the awful truth:

cultural creatives = mystic bourgeoisie

OMG! OMG! I didn't have the... (what can I call it? Receptivity? Biological experience?) to see what I was looking at back in 2001. But now it jumped out at me from nearly every page. Strap in and prepare for examples. Amazon's own review offers a decent precis for starters...

Cultural Creative is a term coined by Ray and Anderson to describe people whose values embrace a curiosity and concern for the world, its ecosystem, and its peoples; an awareness of and activism for peace and social justice; and an openness to self-actualization through spirituality, psychotherapy, and holistic practices.
That last bit is the kicker, of course. You can care all you want to about the ruination of the physical world and the slow starvation of billions of poor bastards under fascist regimes propped up by vampiric global capital and the CIA. But if you don't filter that concern through a finely cultivated miasma of ayhuasca tourism, Maslovian needs-meeting, esoteric shiatsu Reiki Qi Gong biodynamic bodywork, and archetypically Jungian evolutionary dream trance shaman goddess consciousness, then all bets are off: you suck.

Let's look at a couple blurbs.

There is no way to overestimate the contribution that Ray and Anderson have made to our understanding of the times in which we live. They have put their finger on the pulse of an entire generation. Just knowing who we are, having a name as it were, gives Cultural Creatives more power to affect the world.  

~ Marianne Williamson

That would be the same Marianne Williamson who introduced the world to A Course in Miracles in her book, A Return to Love. And those would be the Miracles described by Jesus-channeler Helen Schucman, who, at the end of her life "cursed, in the coarsest barroom language you could imagine, 'that book, that goddamn book'," and whose life-partner sidekick, William Thetford, was oh-btw concurrently doing research on "Personality Theory" funded via the CIA's then-secret MK-ULTRA mind control program. Weird, I know. But hey, I'm just saying.

Here's another one in run-on-sentence mode...

"Hallelujah! The Cultural Creatives brings us spectacular, inspiring good news: our long-desired sea change has occurred, each of us 'cultural creatives' is not alone, together we now amount to a critical mass sufficient to transform America!"        

~ John Vasconcellos

And that would be the same John Vasconcellos who as a California state senator was responsible for pushing through one of the biggest boondoggles in that state's much-boondoggled history, to wit, the disastrously failed (though worthless from the get-go) project to promote "Self-Esteem" in the classroom (hey teacher, leave those kids alone!), based in part, as he so embarrassingly divulges, on "my own painful personal struggle - despite repeated successes and achievements in my life - to develop my own self-esteem." In aid of which, he wrote: "It is time to plumb the reaches and mysteries of inner space." Excuse me, John, but what an asshole!

Am I suggesting guilt-by-association here? You bet I am. And let's lay on a little more! The Cultural Creatives was based on a multi-year marketing study by American Lives, Inc. Does the following chart look vaguely familiar? Like say, the same sort of slice-em-and-dice-em routine applied by every huckster target-marketing outfit that ever centered its cross-hairs on your Third Eye?

click graphic for full-size image on American LIVES site

If you go to that LIVES Analysis page, right under the graphic, you'll find this...

Paul H. Ray, Ph.D., Executive Vice-President of American LIVES, has extensively researched how the subcultures of values permeate all aspects of American life. In this research, he discovered the emergence of a new values subculture of Americans that he named the Cultural Creatives, which includes 1 out of every 4 American adults. This led to more research about the Cultural Creatives, a group that Dr. Ray identifies as being on the cutting edge of social change. They have a different set of values than the subcultures that have dominated America's past. They are interested in new kinds of products and services, and often respond to marketing and advertising in unexpected ways. They represent valuable new market opportunities if their needs can be met and addressed.
But this was not just any old market research study. Oh no. I here reproduce the end of the LIVES Analysis page verbatim, including the links and graphic...
The Institute of Noetic Sciences and the Fetzer Institute have both been key sponsors of research on the Cultural Creatives. The Integral Culture Survey: A Study of the Emergence of Transformational Values in America, a longer description of the American LIVES Typology and its historic context, is for sale by contacting the Institute of Noetic Sciences at 415.331.5650.

For a more exhaustive analysis, look for Dr. Ray's new book, The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World, by Harmony Books. He and his co-author, Sherry Anderson Ph.D, offer an evocative portrayal of the Cultural Creatives: who they are, how they are affecting society and culture, and why we should care. You can also visit Cultural Creatives for more information.

First off, The Fetzer Institute -- maaan, you learn something new every day -- was founded by one John Earl Fetzer, who, according to his official bio...
had an intense intellectual curiosity about the "unseen elements" of life. He studied various forms of meditation, prayer, philosophy, and positive thinking, and explored other ways of healing.... The interests that shaped John Fetzer's life can be seen as the seedbed for the questions that define the work of the Fetzer Institute: How can the secular and sacred elements of life be better integrated? How can the insights of science and the powers of technological innovation be utilized to explore the capacities of the mind and spirit? How can the wisdom and insight gained through inner exploration be used to better our individual and collective health? And how can the entrepreneurial spirit and financial resources gained from the American business sector be used in the service of creating a better world?
Well, isn't that special? Wikipedia adds: "Approximate endowment = $400,000,000 in 2006," and the Dalai Lama is featured on the site's front page -- so you know you're in good hands here. But wait, that's not all! In June, you can attend the "Nature and Mystical Experience" event.
In this workshop, we will deepen our mystical rapport with Earth through ceremony and mystical practice. We will immerse ourselves in the wind, rain, sun, and fields at GilChrist, making time for solitude and community.
In case you're getting confused, we're still talking about backers of the Cultural Creatives market research study. Right? Still with me? And the other backer is the biggie: the aforementioned Institute of Noetic Sciences. One of my favorites! IONS, as it is affectionately known to not-really-New-Agers everywhere, was founded by ex-astronaut Edgar Mitchell, who, while orbiting in his Apollo 14 capsule, "conducted private ESP experiments with his friends on Earth." Wikipedia, which is where that quote comes from, adds a footnote to Private Lunar ESP: An Interview with Edgar Mitchell. Well, OK!
Interviewer: Were you already interested in ESP?

Mitchell: Oh yes. I had a religious upbringing, and was always interested in science; the two seemed to have different answers, which bothered me. When the chance to go to the moon came up, it re-raised the questions about what kind of world we live in, because nobody had been outside the atmosphere. I had been reading the literature for several years and had become convinced. Science says it can't work but laboratory experiments show that it does.

No, Edgar, they don't. Not scientific laboratory experiments. And people even weirder than you have been trying for well over a century.

You can read more about all this in Mitchell's book, The Way of the Explorer: An Apollo Astronaut's Journey Through the Material and Mystical Worlds. But let's push on to some of the other focal interests of the Institute of Noetic Sciences. These include, as the site puts it, Three Principal Program Areas:

  1. Extended Human Capacities
    • Creativity
    • Meditation
    • Psi Studies
    • Wisdom Capacities
    • Subtle Energies
    • States of Consciousness
    • Death, Dying, and Beyond

  2. Integral Health and Healing
    • Biofields
    • Distant Healing
    • Global Medicine
    • Integral Medicine
    • Mind Body Medicine
    • Extended Survival
    • Placebo Expectancy Effects

  3. Emerging Worldviews
    • Integral Intelligence
    • Science of Wisdom
    • Gaia Theory
    • Transformative Practices
    • Cultivating Spiritual Awareness
    • East/West/Indigenous Practices

Are we getting the drift, class? I hope you're starting to share my road-to-Damascus flash (so to speak) that

cultural creatives = mystic bourgeoisie

btw, Patricia Hopkins, Sherry Ruth Anderson's co-author in The Feminine Face of God (and remember: Sherry Ruth Anderson was Paul Hays' co-author [not to mention wife] on The Cultural Creatives; head ache yet?), also thanks The Institute of Noetic Sciences. It's a tight little group. But actually not so little. If you believe Hay and Anderson, the number is 50,000,000.

And that should be that, as this has already gone on far too long. But remember that mention of synchronicity back at the start of all this? Well, the reason for that was an Amazon recommendation I got this morning (hell, you know the kind of weird stuff I read) for a new book by Daniel Pinchbeck et al called Toward 2012: Perspectives on the Next Age. Being a big fan of 2012 (do not miss the trailer!), I poked around inside the book -- and found an article I simply had to read RIGHT NOW NO WAITING: "Transforming Repression of The Divine Feminine" by Wahkeena Sitka Tidepool Ripple. No lie. So I googled about and, mirabile dictu, found it on Reality Sandwich! I also found another article by Ms. Sitka Tidepool Ripple on Alternatives magazine. It's called Can Sex Work Be Shamanic? And since we've been chatting lately about Tantric Sex and whatnot here on Mystic B, I took a closer look. But what really caught my eye there was the site banner...

And you just know I did my best Keanu Reeves "Whoa, dude!" Because, are you kidding? "Cultural Creativity"? This just has to be related to the post I was, even then, thinking I had to post today (this is it). And naturally, but of course, I dig a little deeper and find The Cultural Creatives: We Are Everywhere - The "InnerView" with Paul Ray. They sure as shit are everywhere! But seeing as this was from the Summer 2001 issue, where have I been all my life? Surrounded by fucking Cultural Creatives -- a demographic to be proud of! -- and here I didn't even know it.

The Cultural Creatives was published in 2000. And oh look, it was also blurbed by the ubiquitous Jean Shinola Bolen...

When people identify themselves as cultural creatives through reading this book, the transformation of society will be accelerated. The book itself will be a force for change.

Well gosh, I guess so. Because whatever rough beast this is, it's not slouching. It's galloping, kids. It's got a nine-year lead. And something tells me it's not headed for Bethlehem.



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