Opinion

Lightspeed Founder & CEO on How Culture and Creativity Connect Us

Written by Dax Dasilva

My new book, Age of Union: Igniting the Changemaker, is an impassioned call for leadership, spirituality, and environmental guardianship. It speaks to the immediate need for global change and how our choices are the catalyst, while providing a framework—grounded in four pillars: leadership, culture, spirituality and nature—for changemakers to help spark a better tomorrow.

The second pillar of the Age of Union—my vision for what I call unseparation in a fractured world—is culture. The richness of our world lives in culture; culture allows us to harness the potential of our identity, diversity, and expression to unify and share awareness among people. It can cut across all geographical spaces and times to reveal a world that is boundless, timeless and infinitely connected; it is a weapon against homogeneity, against oppression, against submission, and against isolation. 

When I founded the non-profit cultural centre Never Apart in 2015, the goal was to create social change and transformation, but also bring forth spiritual awareness through the powerful modes of culture. Never Apart became a physical space dedicated to art and creativity in all its forms; its programs explore many aspects of the human spirit and identity through cultural means. We invited the artistic community in and allowed them to become agents for positive social change by gathering a diverse public around art, music, film and discussion. We wanted to create a safe space for all LGBTQ and marginalized peoples, and also engage people of all backgrounds in a new dialogue to reframe the purpose of cultural gatherings around transformative unity.

Art, music, food, film, photography, dance, performance, literature, and architecture are all modes of cultural expression that can showcase one’s heritage, beliefs and influences. They can offer new ways of looking at something, broadening our worldview and opening our minds. Creative and artistic expression connect people on deeper levels of consciousness. Every creative act has the potential to communicate one’s inner thoughts and desires, give voice to the marginalized, stimulate one’s senses, build new worlds, heal emotional fractures, and promote empowerment.

Cultural expression builds bridges between people, creates conversations where there was once silence, and reveals the patterns of our identities. For these reasons, it’s imperative that we embrace and support cultural expression in all its forms and attempt in our own ways to make culture a part of our daily lives. Now is our opportunity to deprogram the cultural constructs inherited from previous, less tolerant, and less globally-conscious eras and rebuild society’s great bridges with knowledge, empathy and understanding. Our modes of culture can be active agents of transformation and a powerful voice for union. 

We must discover union through diversity, new perspectives, and cultural innovations. Cultural differences should be considered sources of strength and beauty; after all, we are all connected. When we all come to the table with openness and a willingness to share and to receive, we begin to understand, empathize, and unite across the chasm. As the Founder & CEO of Lightspeed, it has always been important for me to embrace unique perspectives, experiences, and human interests, and maintain a commitment to diversity and inclusivity—these investments in culture and community make the company stronger, and more innovative.

Age of Union: Igniting the Changemaker is available for purchase at Indigo.