Self-Portrait as Cultural Creative, Whatever the Hell That Means


A few week agos, Jana took this quiz designed to gauge your world view and posted her results on her blog. A few days later her husband John took the same quiz and posted his results, and not so long ago Wayne followed the links in my webroll to one of those places and took the quiz himself, though he didn't post his results on either his first or second blog. Instead, he read me his results over the phone, and told me to take the quiz. So I did. Turns out I'm a Cultural Creative, and

Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

I didn't just score highest in the Cultural Creative category; I scored perfectly in it. I don't particularly know what the term means or how long it's been around, but I guess I really truly am one, if I buy into it 100%. I'm rather glad that "new ager" is not a category; I appreciate quite a few new age ideas, but there's so much annoying posture that goes along with being new age. As for the other terms, many of them don't mean to me what they seem to mean to the creator of this quiz, so I'm not sure how revealing the results are. To me, a Romanticist is someone who studies early 19th century British poetry (not many of those around these days) and a Modernist is what I almost became, someone who specializes in British and American lit written between the two world wars, and a postmodernist is a silly person who writes badly whose work you have to read in graduate school. At least I'm absolutely NOT a fundamentalist (which I would have predicted but am glad to have confirmed nonetheless). Anyway, here are my results:

Cultural Creative 100%

Idealist 94%

Postmodernist 69%

Existentialist 63%

Materialist 38%

Romanticist 38%

Modernist 19%

Fundamentalist 0%

If you take the quiz yourself, let me know how you score.


What's interesting to me is that you scored 100% in one thing and 0% in another. My highest (Existentialism) was 81% and my lowest (Fundamentalism) was 19%. What does that tell us?

I'm too fuzzy on what the terms mean to know what the scores mean.

I thought I would have waited longer to do the less oblique post but no, there's nice electronic dub playing in the background and I was making some herb tea before sleep and of course, sleep can beckon all it wants.

We had a nice conversation in Toronto about Derrida. I think his impetus must have been that eerie feeling that we might agree even when the words we use don't mean the same things to one as to the other. In other words, I don't think it's you that's fuzzy on the meanings of the terms.

Here's what the quiz told me: I scored as a Materialist. Specifically: Materialist -- 81%; Romanticist -- 63%; Postmoderinist -- 56%; Cultural Creative -- 56%; Idealist -- 38%; Modernist -- 38%; Existentialist -- 31%; Fundamentalist -- 19% (whoa).

Now if you had asked me before I started the quiz, I would have only provided one qualification: I am an ureconstructed materialist. For example, I think the Tarot is pretty important but not to predict the future, which is absurd. I think a lot of people over a lot of years spent time thinking about the ways people have of interacting with each other and with the world around them, tried to figure out some categories to organize their observations, and came up with graphic representations of some of the most important observations they came up with. Doing a Tarot reading is not a matter of finding out whether it's going to rain next Tuesday; it's more like inviting 10 people you may or may not know over to ask them parts of a question and then thinking about what things would be like if their answers were right. Nothing Divine or mystical, more a matter of being mindful of being in the world.

But the quiz had two problems. First, I couldn’t agree with the premises of most of the questions enough to decide whether I agree or disagree, or how strongly. Second, the quiz decided to tell me what a materialist is: “Materialism stresses the essence of fundamental particles. Everything that exists is purely physical matter and there is no special force that holds life together. You believe that anything can be explained by breaking it up into its pieces. i.e. the big picture can be understood by its smaller elements.” What? I believe no such thing! Grrr, arrrg.

Maybe that’s why I got a whopping 19% on Fundamentalism, instead of the zero I would have so fervently preferred – yes, that’s envy you detect. I think I know what materialism means, and it means what I am trying so hard to make it mean.

Sorry for the grubby (but not oblique!) fingerprints on your elegant blog (as a writer, do you think those two words sound right together?). I may still owe you the interest.

Well, Spike, if I'd known you were interested in tarot I would have offered to do a reading for you long ago--I used to devote a lot of time to it, and for a couple of years I had the occasional gig doing readings at street fairs or parties. I put my cards away a year or so ago because they rarely told me anything that made me feel better: I was always cross and anxious after a reading, and I can feel that way quite easily, without any help from 78 little pieces of cardboard. But I'm still happy to do readings for other people--just say the word.

Spike took the time to explain to me what a materialist is--not in the sense the quiz claims, but in the sense a poly sci professor would use--and I think I have realized that I'm one of those. I believe in the importance of the real, material effects of ideas and institutions on people's actual, lived experience.... is that materialism, Spike?

yes, I would say that where you start, or where you indicate the movement of living starts, and where it goes is basically materialist in outlook. In particular, rather than seeing ideas as somehow "other" than the material world (in the sense that they could be an "external" force constituting it), we see ideas as of the world: the emphasis is on the materiality of the real -- this strikes me as materialist. I don't happen to think, myself, that the atomistic notion from the definition provided in the quiz necessarily follows from this: "wholes" do indeed strike me as greater than the sum of their "parts," which in the end only exist because we separate experience or the real into fractions though analysis -- the analytical moves may be necessary or even inevitable but they are a product of our interventions, which, as you indicate, are enabled, very concretely, through institutions and experience.

I am sure that I ought to explain this more carefully and that I only partly grasp what I'm trying to say...ok, ok. But practice beckons...

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This page contains a single entry by Holly published on October 25, 2005 7:57 AM.

Self-Portrait as Modest Desires was the previous entry in this blog.

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