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  1. #1
    IRL is not real Cimarron's Avatar
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    Default Being "cultured"

    Is having "culture" and being culturally knowledgeable and refined a good thing? How does it benefit a person? How is it useful?

    Is a lack of culture a good reason to look down on a person?

    Example: A modern U.S. citizen doesn't know what Mt. Olympus is, or the legends associated with it. Most people who are "better cultured" are aware of those things, and some look down on this person. But would knowing it really benefit this person?
    You can't spell "justice" without ISTJ.

  2. #2
    Senior Member avolkiteshvara's Avatar
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    I met an exchange student from France who was studying American culture.


    My first thought was " we have culture"?

  3. #3
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    It's part of the lingo that so-called cultured people speak, that's all. It's a social class marker. So it depends on whether you look down on people who have less liberal arts education than you do, is really what it boils down to. Which would make it a dumb basis for prejudice, IMO.

  4. #4

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    I'm not so sure Tiltyred, I agree with you on most things but I'm afraid that while being cultured is/has been a class marker I dont think that's the whole of it, I dont associate it either with myths, legends, theatre or liberal arts either.

    I associate it with refined tastes and the refinement of taste, I dont associate it either with all the buying habits of the rich necessarily, there are a lot of rich people who are very easily seperated from their money because they are ignorant of refinement and just associate it with expense.

    So it could be displayed in style of dress, eloquence, knowledge but its also about taste too and avoiding vulgarity. This is just one of my things, I wouldnt class myself as cultured but I'd like to be and properly understood I'd suggest its possible to be cultured in complete splendid isolation too.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    Oh, good point! I guess I was thinking along the lines of knowing what Mount Olympus means, and other such literary allusions, which is learned, rather than innate refinement.

  6. #6

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    Well, I think refinement can be learned too, in so far to refine is to develop or process or perfect (I'm thinking about the way they refine oil from crude to fuel) and I would associate being cultured with having taste and finery. That said I'm thinking of cultured in the way that Hannibal Lector was cultured, in the books at least, which could be seriously wide of the mark in the context of either this thread or genuine culture.

    I think culture and high culture are important, I think snobbery and posh pretence is a kind of mockery of the real thing and deserves the disdain that it receives but the real thing is a different matter.

    We are talking about culture in a couple of different senses though and there is still the other political or philosophical or sociological sense, like Mao's "cultural revolution" for instance or in the US the right wing's Kultur Kampf (culture struggle or culture wars).

  7. #7
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    Well, yes, of course, dahling! Nobody likes the nouveau riche!

  8. #8
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Default Awesome!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cimarron View Post
    Is having "culture" and being culturally knowledgeable and refined a good thing? How does it benefit a person? How is it useful?

    Is a lack of culture a good reason to look down on a person?

    Example: A modern U.S. citizen doesn't know what Mt. Olympus is, or the legends associated with it. Most people who are "better cultured" are aware of those things, and some look down on this person. But would knowing it really benefit this person?
    Most of us understand popular culture but few of us know or understand high culture.

    But you can't understand Western civilization until you know and understand the high culture of the West.

    You don't know how to function in the West without taking part in high culture. And that is why most of us are passive consumers and spectators.

    We neither know or understand our culture, nor do we contribute to it.

    We are profoundly and deeply impoverished - we are personally impoverished, while at the same time full of self esteem.

    And why shouldn't we be full of self esteem? For every second advertisement says we should consume because we deserve it. But the fact is we don't deserve it for it has been created and made by someone else. We are merely the passive consumers - the spectators of our own culture - and our view doesn't extend beyond the sanctioned popular culture.

    You were free in Ancient Greece if and only if you took part in high culture. Otherwise you were a slave.

    And that is how we are today. And that is how the Ancient Greeks would see passive consumers of popular culture - spectators at their own impoverishment - no better than slaves.

    Simply asking the question, "How is culture useful?", is revealing. For high culture is simply for its own sake. High culture is not useful for anything.

    A good example of high culture is astronomy. Astronomy is pursued for its own sake.

    And doing things for their own sake puts us into flow which is the hallmark of creativity. And creativity is the hallmark of high culture.

    While a good example of popular culture is astrology which is pursued for personal advantage. And is for those with impoverished minds and hearts.

    So to take part in high culture is to be a mensch, while to know only popular culture is to be a passive consumer and a spectator in the society of the spectacle.

    Awesome!

  9. #9
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Default Distinction

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiltyred View Post
    Well, yes, of course, dahling! Nobody likes the nouveau riche!
    We perceive by making distinctions.

    And the more distinctions, the more we see.

    Popular culture makes relatively few distinctions and so is impoverished.

    While high culture is rich in distinctions and enrich all who take part.

    And a high culture rich in distinctions gives us the ability to discriminate between the beautiful and the ugly, the living and the merely manipulative.

    High culture refines our taste so that we can distinguish between the vulgar and good taste - high culture actually tastes good, while popular culture appeals to us like a Big Mac.

    High culture is nourishing, while popular culture merely gives us a thrill. It is no accident that the best selling album of all time is called, "Thriller".

    And just as we perceive by making distinctions, high culture is distinctive and covers us in distinction.

  10. #10
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by avolkiteshvara View Post
    I met an exchange student from France who was studying American culture.


    My first thought was " we have culture"?
    American culture mostly involves cars and driving them across wide, open spaces. The first thing an American tells a tourist that the only way to really "see" America is to get a car and drive it from New York to LA (or possibly San Francisco). Apparently, the only way to "see" America is to experience hours and hours of mountains, then of corn, and then of wheat, and then more mountains, to eat a half-cold microwave burrito from a gas station that sells T-shirts also, to take a shower in a truck stop, to use the toilet in at least one dubious rest stop, drive across well-beaten and yet still terrifying terrain, and then to finally reach the oasis on the other side.

    Or, well, if you're talking about "high" culture, Americans have that too. They're just very good at hiding it.
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

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