The Journey Toward Authentic Communities and Cultures
We believe that authentic communities and cultures are energetically held together through the principle of the Law of Love. When this Law is fully active, its members are interconnected, operating in integrity, and experiencing peace, harmony, and understanding in all of the community or culture’s activities. The members of authentic communities and cultures are able to give and receive unconditional love, even in challenging situations involving intractable conflicts. The individuals, couples, families, large organizations inside the communities and cultures are able to evolve. This is the underlying principle of LOVEvolution.
Communities and cultures are alive, dynamic, living organisms that have a life of their own and evolve in their own unique way. They need to be fed, nourished, and engaged with in order to grow, change, and mature over time. Understanding and recognizing the “aliveness” of large organizations requires being able to observe their dynamics, while also being inside them and experiencing them personally. This is acomplex process.
The authenticity of a community or culture can be determined by how it they actually follows its stated values and beliefs. An inauthentic community or culture says and does things that are entirely different than its stated set of values or beliefs. For example, an inauthentic community states that it honors diversity and but creates and reinforces policies that discriminate against minorities.
As part of our research, we applied our four-stage developmental model to these communities and cultures, and identified the developmental process that they must successfully complete in order to become “authentic. Our research consisted primarily of living in different communities and cultures and looking at how unrecognized and unhealed developmental traumas influenced their behavior.
Over the course of our 34 years together, we have moved about fifteen times, about half of them within our hometown community of Colorado Springs where we have lived in 8 very different neighborhoods. Each neighborhood’s character and makeup was noticeably different. We have also identified community and cultural differences between Colorado Springs and its Front Range Neighbors–Pueblo to the south, and Denver and Boulder to the north. Residents of these cities each have their own identity and rank order the others according to their place in a sort of “pecking order.”
There are many kinds of cultures within a community, state, or region. They include religious, ethnic, political, economic, social, academic, athletic, and environmental cultures, as well as special needs or interest groups involving sexual preferences; disabilities such as deafness or blindness; athletic teams; and academic specialties and institutions. People participate in various kinds of communities and cultures. These memberships, when combined, give them a unique individual identity: A Caucasian male with a Midwestern farm background, who graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in chemical engineering, who is a member of the Methodist Church, and a fan of the Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bears, who now lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Each aspect of this man’s life creates a database of information that displays his values and beliefs, and his participation. This data classifies people into groups according to their preferences and can predict on the basis of the man’s behavior within his community and his culture. With sufficient information, this becomes “metadata” that can be thought of as an “individual algorithm,” and used to predict a person’s choices, values, and community and cultural behaviors. This metadata principle is now being used by multimedia giants such as Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft in their corporate marketing.
As communities and cultures become more authentic, their evolution follows a developmental sequence that parallels the four-stage model of individuals, couples, families, and organizations. Each stage also has essential developmental processes that must be completed in order for them to become more authentic and evolve to the next stage. Any collective essential developmental processes that are not completed in one stage of development are carried along to the next one. This “excess baggage,” mostly unidentified conflicts and unhealed developmental trauma, makes it even more difficult for them to complete the essential developmental processes of the next stage. This stalls not only their evolution, but that of all larger systems, and ultimately of the evolution of the whole human species.
Cultural Categories: Traditionalists, Moderns and Cultural Creatives
In 1999 American sociologist and researcher Paul H. Ray and his associates gathered demographic data on the cultural values and beliefs from a sample of the US adult population. Their analysis of the data they collected showed it divided into three separate cultural groups, that they named the Traditionalists, the Modernists, and the Cultural Creatives.
Their research indicated that about 24% or about 48 million Americans at that time held a “traditional” worldview, and about 50% or 93 million held a “modern” worldview. The remaining 26% or 50 million Americans, which they identified as the fastest growing group. They claimed this last group held “post-modern” values and beliefs, so they labeled it as “Cultural Creatives.”
According to Ray, Cultural Creatives “…are forging a new sense of the sacred that incorporates personal growth psychology, the spiritual realm and service to others.” In a book by him and Sherry Anderson, The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World, they identify them as a growing transformational force in America’s culture. As recently as the 1960s, less than 5 percent of Americans identified as Cultural Creatives, and by 1999 it had grown to 26 percent.
According to Ray’s research, the Cultural Creatives include two sub- groups. The Core Group of 24 million people consists of published writers, artists, musicians, psychotherapists, feminists, alternative health care providers, addicts in recovery, those interested in new thought spirituality, home schooling, and midwifery. This group is interested in inner growth and social justice.
The second group, known as the Greens, has values and beliefs more centered on the environment. The perceive nature as sacred, but are not as interested as the other group in spirituality or psychology. Take the Self-Quiz below that we created from Ray & Anderson’s book. It will help you determine which of these three cultural groups you identify with the most.