Inside America: The Rise and Fall of An Empire

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We have seen how the Sixties gave birth to a new group of Americans who began looking for an alternative to a completely material life. Some commentators began calling these Americans cultural creatives. These Americans saw themselves as multiplex thinkers who wanted to see a bigger picture of where the world was going by thinking in terms of organic inter-connections and rhythms. Each succeeding generation since the Vietnam generation had more and more converts to this kind of thinking. The economy and the ecology were seen as inter-connected.

Many cultural creatives began connecting the ecological and social values of some of the Vietnam generation with the spiritual and consciousness values of other members of the Vietnam generation. Consciousness was seen as a complex range of human awareness which needed to see problems from multiple angles. For example smoking lead to poor health and poor health led to more demands on a medical system that was already over-stretched and increasingly too expensive. Preventative medicine and better health habits was seen as a more effective multiplex way of handling economic and medical problems at once.

Simpler living led to less consumption and this in turn lead to less energy use and strain on the ecology. Simpler living was induced by leading a richer inner-life that ultimately, led one to less material desires. In a society that was feeling more fragmented and artificial this kind of lifestyle began to have more appeal to some Americans.

During the Sixties and Seventies, twenty different cultural movements sprang up which by the Eighties and Nineties had become one huge underground movement. Movements that supported civil rights for minorities and women, that fought the Vietnam war, and that defended the ecology began fusing with the movements that explored the new kinds of spiritual psychologies.

Many of the more introspective cultural creatives had a deeper interest in meditation and spirituality than the more ecological and reformist ones, but both kinds of cultural creatives saw that they had more things in common with each other than they had with either the religious fundamentalists or the modern materialists who together still were the majority in America.

The religious fundamentalists were from another era, even if many knew how to use modern forms of technology. They were the psychological children of the First Wave and small-town America. Many were Christians who believed strongly in the Bible and who saw material life in America becoming increasingly morally corrupt. Many did not like the new urban and industrial life that had sprang up in America after the American Civil War in the 1860's and many of these traditional Americans came from the defeated South which had been a traditionally agrarian society with slaves.

This old First Wave America had been long gone by the 1960's, but the psychology and nostalgia for a much simpler time was still strong among many Americans. During the 1920's and 1980's these Americans rose up to attack the new material and industrial life-styles that were developing in both Second Wave and Third Wave America.

The secular and material life-style that many modern Americans desired was seen as a retreat from moral values by more rural and traditional Americans. Yet, in the 1960's many African Americans, union workers, women and students continued to fight for a bigger piece of this life-style even as the world was becoming more increasingly complex. Yet, not all of these people went in this direction.

The Third Wave saw a splintering of the student and women's movement. Many young Americans rejected both religious and modern worldviews even as they found themselves embedded in a modern culture with traditional Americans attacking it. The idea of a post-modern culture with new kinds of social values was becoming more and more of a new reality for some Americans who were looking for alternative life-styles. Slowly, the cultural creatives began to see themselves as a new social force in America.

A force which was numbering in the millions by the turn of the century. A silent force away from the radar of the national media. To the Cultural Creatives the spiritual life was important and it was also a very personal journey. Organized religion had no appeal to these cultural creatives. Neither did many kinds of big government or big business. These institutions were seen as older products from an industrial era that could no longer promise a sustainable form of life-style for anyone on Earth. This was the big change in worldview for these new Americans beginning with the Vietnam generation, but also succeeding ones.

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