Cultural Creatives and the Creativity Revolution
By Dr Ben-Zion Weiss
15 – 3 – 2009
Cultural creatives is a phenomenon of the early 21st century that is foreshadowing the creativity revolution. As we reach the later stages of what has been called the ‘information age’, we face a world in crisis. We have an overwhelming amount of information about the nature of the crisis. The news is filled with stories of the global economic crisis as well as the global ecological crisis now known as climate change. The news media bombards us with stories of what has been called terrorism and other forms of violence and wars in many parts of our world. How are we to deal with all these crises on a global scale?
It seems that humanity is faced with a need for some kind of massive change, which I’m proposing is a creativity revolution. Part of the evidence for this revolution is the phenomenon named ‘cultural creatives’ by the sociologist Dr Paul Ray. A number of philosophers like Krishnamurti and Peter Russell have argued that we need a consciousness revolution to address the crisis in consciousness that we are facing in the world at the present time. I recently read a book by that title which was a dialogue between Peter Russell, Ervin Laszlo and Stanislav Grof. These three people are all major figures in the recent research into the nature of what is consciousness. In the scientific world this has been called one of the ‘hard questions’ to address.
For the last few hundred years, humanity has relied on science to both address the crises that arise in the world and to give us some understanding of the nature of the phenomena that are causing the crisis to occur. Let us consider the series of revolutions that began with scientists and mathematicians like Copernicus, Descartes, Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Einstein and Freud. Then we add to that the social and political revolutions inspired by Marx, the feminist movement, the green movement, the human rights movement as well as the historical phenomena that we call the English Revolution, the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, the Russian Revolution, the Chinese Revolution, the two world wars that led to the terrible tragedies of the Holocaust and atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We can see that today we are facing a crisis of unprecedented proportions that is the result of these massive changes in the world and that many scientists are now saying is affecting the very climate itself with the phenomenon of global warming. Some scientists are arguing that life itself is in danger on the planet today. How do we deal with all these ideas and information and still live our lives day to day?
Clearly many people amongst us are not dealing with the challenges of the contemporary world all that well. Stress and anxiety are the most serious health issues of our time, which is leading to people resorting to all sorts of addictive behaviours to obliterate their minds. Drugs and substance abuse, overeating and obesity, spending hours and hours each day glued to a TV set or a computer screen all ways to avoid the reality of what our TV sets and computers are telling us is happening in the world. But what is this reality that we are so busily trying to avoid and how do we know that it is reality at all?
These are the questions that some people have been asking for thousands of years. Some of these people we call philosophers, mystics, scientists, artists and teachers. Others we call crazy or insane and ignore them, drug them or lock them away so we don’t have to deal with their views of reality. If I were to ask you what is reality, how would you answer? And, how do you know that?
When the French philosopher Rene Descartes asked himself this question, he came down to thought as being the only thing he could know. So he said in Latin, ‘Cogito ergo sum’ usually translated as ‘I think therefore I am’. How do I know this? Because he wrote a book about it. Now I haven’t actually read that book, but I’ve read many books that have referred to that book and listened to speakers who have talked about that book. And I was able I revisit the original book just now via a Google search, where I was shown the original Latin version, translations into French and English and summaries of the book in the Wikipedia Encyclopedia and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
When the philosopher Emanuel Kant considered this question, he divided reality into two parts: the noumen, or the thing in itself and the phenomenon, which was his experience of the thing. For Kant all we can know is the phenomenon, which is what our minds perceive, the thing in itself is unknowable directly.
If we consider a third philosopher’s view of reality, Baruch Spinoza, then “as found in Book I of his postumously published Ethics. The fundamental thing to keep in mind when thinking about Spinoza is one simple, striking, and paradoxical proposition: God is the only thing that exists.”
 See website Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677)http://www.friesian.com/spinoza.htm accessed 9/3/09