Being Cultured

There was a time when the phrase “being cultured” was easily understood. To be a cultured individual was to be well read, versed in the world of art, theater and music. A well dressed man and a classy looking lady with a wealth of knowledge and a mild manner were the definition of culture. Nowadays the word has a plethora of definitions to it. Sub culture, gay culture, pop culture, ideological “cultures” and geographical cultures are all terms that carry a meaning.


This may be all for the better. With Marx in the late 1800s the emulation of the gentry ceased to be a noble ambition and instead became a servile one. People were able to take pride in being members of an underclass. No longer were they led to believe that money belonged to those who deserved it. Yet the modern world has replaced nobility with affluence and a love of the arts, music and literature with expensive scotch and, if not a private island then at least a private beach. Being rich is now akin, in the eyes of many, to living the good life. An impossible goal for some and, as our current laws and causation would have it, a birth right for others.


The old class system no longer decrease who may be cultured and who may not. Now the economic dichotomy has more of a say. Even so the poor have manufactured “pop” culture and claimed it. Minorities have formed their own sub-cultures and opinions on every matter are now more varied than ever they have been before. Now it is harder than ever it was at any point in our history to determine what it truly means to be cultured. Luckily for you and I truth is a myth, or so the new philosophical order would have us believe. There are those who say that truth is not a truth at all, still others say that it is out there but that it remains locked away, unattainable. The older view that it exists and is tangible seems archaic and the youth have rebelled, as they so often do, against it.


Being refined and learned is difficult for us all. The challenge now is straddling the mountains of world views and trying not to fall between two stalls. With opinion as diverse as it is the only way to truly be a cultured individual is to keep as open a mind as one can. Too closed and we scorn things we have no right to. Too open and the mind falls out entirely allowing the concerts of Lady Gaga and Beyonce to classed as cultural events. There is a way to bridge the gap. We need only collate as many opinions as we can, from as dissimilar backgrounds as we can and make up our minds on what it is to live a good life and what it means be cultured.


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