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Paul H. Ray, PhD, and Sherry Ruth Anderson, PhD (refered to as “the authors” for the rest of this article), wrote a seminal book on Cultural Creatives.  Can you guess what it’s called?  The Cultural Creatives.

competitionIt is a groundbreaking work which defined Cultural Creative as a proper sociological term.  Explaining who these people are and where their thinking comes from, the book raised awareness of a new paradigm emerging in American society.

In The Cultural Creatives, they describe a sort of competition for mainstream.  There are 3 main groups of people who fight to have their way of thinking accepted as the prevalent ideology.

These 3 groups are Moderns, Traditionals, and Cultural Creatives.

This article reports the findings of the authors’ sociological findings, and then explains why it matters to us.

The Moderns

First on the list is the Moderns.  They are first because they have dominated mainstream thinking since the industrial revolution in the late 19th century.  It is argued that Traditionals and Cultural Creatives define themselves based on how they are different from Moderns.

bootsSo what is a Modern?

It’s not based on socioeconomics or politics.  People of all different groups fit into a Modern paradigm.

The emphatic characteristic in a Modern is his or her unquestionable certainty that his way is best.  He knows what he knows because it has been proven over generations of lifestyle choices and successes.  If someone disagrees, to the Modern, it is because that person does not really understand the situation.

It is often unapparent to the Modern that the qualifications of success are derived from a Modern worldview.  So he judges himself and others based on standards he made up and have no objective truth in the first place.

The authors said it like this, Modern’s “believers are only required to learn and stick with a well-established approach to life, hard and competitive though it may be.  In this vein, what’s ‘modern’ is simply what’s good, approved, efficient, and worth of praise, the latest and most stylish, the most competitive and profitable.”

He judges himself and others based on standards he made up. #injustice Click To Tweet

The Values of a Modern

The authors explained it best on page 27-28:

Here are some values that are distinctive for Moderns and suggest their ideology.  Not every Modern embraces all of them, of course.  But what’s most important for them is:

  • Making or having a lot of money
  • Climbing the ladder of success with measurable steps toward one’s goals
  • “Looking good” or being stylish
  • “When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping”
  • Having lots of choices (as a consumer, as a voter, or on the job)
  • Being on top of the latest trends, styles, and innovations (as a consumer or on the job)
  • Supporting economic and technological progress at the national level
  • Rejecting the values and concerns of native peoples, rural people, Traditionals, New Agers, religious mystics

european cityMany Moderns also share unspoken assumptions about “what works” that the other subcultures may not share…

  • It’s flaky to be concerned about your inner or spiritual life.
  • You have a right to be entertained by the media.
  • Your body is pretty much like a machine.
  • Most organizations lend themselves to machine analogies.
  • Either big business knows best, or big government knows best.
  • Bigger is better.
  • Time is money.
  • What gets measured gets done.
  • Setting goals is very important and effective, and so are measures of goal attainment.
  • Analyzing things into their parts is the best way to solve problems.
  • Science and engineering are the models for truth.
  • Being “in control” is a top priority at work.
  • Efficiency and speed are top priorities.
  • The mainstream media’s awe for and sense of importance of the very rich is about right.
  • It makes sense to compartmentalize your life into very discrete and separate spheres:  work, family, socializing, making love, education, politics, religion.  It’s a very complete kind of compartmentalization, covering what you do and believe, and what you value.

Famous leaders and celebrities from the Modern subculture include George G. W. Bush, Isaac Asimov, Ernest Hemingway, Bertrand Russell, Pablo Picasso, Madonna, Woody Allen, Jay Leno, and Bill Gates.

Time is money. #really #comeon Click To Tweet

The Traditionals

Traditionals take a lot of their worldview from modernism, but somewhere between the turn of the 20th century and WWII, those of this camp decided to rebel against the paradigm and take a look back to old values.

You might think that Traditionals are characterized by conservative politics and white protestant Christianity.  For the most part, you’re right, but the authors explain that those two people group make up only about 70% of Traditionals.

It also includes “New Deal Democrats, Reagan Democrats, and old-time union people”.  It includes Catholics and Mormons, Caucasions, as well as African and Hispanic Americans.

Traditionals tend to live in more rural areas, and have lower education and lower income.

Since the defining factor for Traditionals is not necessarily political or religious, what is it?

The authors say this (bullet formatting is mine),

  1. First, Traditionals fend off an intrusive modern world that they don’t fully understand:  sex-and-violence-loaded movies and TV programs, government agencies, big banks and insurance companies, the phone company.
  2. Because much of what they have to offer is not rewarded in modern life, they’re also fending off a world they can’t succeed in.
  3. They generally want black-and-white categories that offer a feeling of certainty.
  4. Finally, they look for ways of life that are comforting and familiar repetitions of their youth.

That final bullet point is what I believe to sum it up the most.  Traditionals want tradition, regardless of what values it holds.

Continue the article on the next page…